Award-winning comedian Jeff Allen (and Fairview resident) will be co-host of a new television series with fellow comedians Sinbad and Louie Anderson. Allen will be performing his one-man show "I Can Laugh About It Now" at the Franklin Theatre on June 9.
The 12-episode series called "Pure Flix Comedy All-Stars" will be the first all family-friendly stand-up comedy series created for television. The half-hour shows will feature over 30 top comedians who have been featured on HBO, Showtime, Conan, The Tonight Show, Jimmy Kimmel, Last Comic Standing, and Comedy Central, among others.
The series also includes a one-hour special episode which features outtakes, bloopers and behind-the-scenes footage.
Known for being funny without profanity, Jeff Allen’s five-decade career has garnered him international acclaim. He is one of the most requested comedians on Sirius XM radio, and has been seen on every cable comedy show in America. He starred in his own one-hour TV special, “Happy Wife Happy Life” and has been featured on the Grand Ole Opry. Allen is a recipient of the Grady Nutt Humor Award, and has performed for the U.S. military in Bahrain as well as for the U.S. Navy men and women on board ships in both the Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean. This October, he will perform for U.S. troops stationed in Germany.
Allen’s comedy was not always considered family-friendly. His career began at a comedy club in Chicago in 1978, and his path included everything from drugs and alcoholism to rage, a near divorce, personal bankruptcy and his wife’s breast cancer diagnosis. All the while, he would have to go out on stage each night and make people laugh with an act that he admits was largely fueled by anger.
In the early years, Jeff's comedy included expletive language. Then, he had a chance to work with Jerry Seinfeld who once told Jeff, "Look, you're a really funny guy and you've got this language that's unnecessary. Why not do it without the four-letter words? Why be funny for 300 people when you can be funny for 300 million? Nobody ever walks out of a clean comedy show saying, 'I wish he had been more dirty.'"
It was in Alcoholics Anonymous meetings that Allen found himself reaching out to God in desperation. “I was beat up enough that I was willing to do whatever they told me to do,” Allen said. “They told me that I needed to pray, so I did. I really didn’t even know what I was praying to, but I was so desperate that I just did it.” That was in 1987, but Allen said it was nearly a decade later before he finally started to see truths about God revealed.
In the meantime, the struggles continued. The grind of long stints on the road and financial struggles put a strain on his marriage, and at one point, his wife, Tami, sought a divorce and even began seeing another man.
“We were literally on the way to the court to file the papers and she had a change of heart,” Allen said. He recalled the way he had treated her through so many arguments, when his anger got the best of him, and he said he didn’t fault her for wanting out of the marriage.
“Looking back on it, I hurt her so bad, so many times. It really hit home for me one night when my son said to me: ‘Daddy, you always win,’” Allen recalled. “I said ‘What do you mean?’ and he said ‘When you and mommy fight, you always win because she cries.’ That was a real eye opener for me.” The couple’s marriage survived and thrived and they recently celebrated their 30th anniversary. A movie screenplay of Allen’s life is currently being considered by several production companies.
Allen has released four comedy CDs, eight videos, and authored the book, “My Life as a Bystander.” He starred in the critically-acclaimed Apostles of Comedy film and was featured in the Warner Brothers comedy, Thou Shalt Laugh. Allen has performed for Presidential inaugurations, and is a frequent guest for The Blaze television network as well as Glenn Beck’s national radio show. In addition to his solo dates, he has been a featured comedian for the Bill Gaither Homecoming tour, the Apostles of Comedy tour, and the Jeff Allen and Friends: Funny People of Faith tour.