Before ABC cancelled Tim Allen’s number one show “Last Man Standing,” Allen spoke with the Hollywood Reporter. They asked him why he has such strong political views. They wanted to know if he was a fan of Donald Trump’s, what he thought of Hillary and Bill Clinton, and if it’s really true that he wanted to run an episode that included raising a communist flag over the White House when Barack Obama was President.
Whose idea was it for Mike Baxter to have loud, conservative political views?
I brought that to the table. I wanted to be provocative. Mike Baxter is an educated Archie Bunker.
Definitely. But you know what? I’ve earned it. I don’t say that lightly. I’ve been on a successful show and learned from the best. But I find Last Man Standing actually rougher than Home Improvement. We’re getting away with a lot of stuff. I’m really shocked. This is a meaner, sharper comedy than I’m used to. There’s a lot of times our very liberal writing staff will come up with stuff that even my character would say, “I don’t know if I can say that.”
How much is playing this right-leaning character an outlet for you to express your own political views?
It’s getting more and more comfortable. These guys know me so well that they’re writing stuff that is exactly what I would’ve said. It’s a marvelous thing when you have liberal people writing for [a show like this]. I believe Stephen Colbert was like that. He was pretending to be a conservative, I think. Someone said that. I never got that, but maybe I didn’t watch it enough.
Has the line between you and your character blurred over the years?
For most of my life, I’ve been taxed above 38 percent. When you’re a young guy working the road and literally close to half of what you make goes to people who don’t help you at all but just bitch about it the whole time, that’s where I come from. I come from “no taxation without representation,” and it manifests itself in very peculiar points of view.
How are you different from Mike?
He’s milder than I am. You wouldn’t want to hear what I have to say. Escalate Mike Baxter with profanity and that’s basically me. He’s much more tepid because he’s a business owner. Mike Baxter is calmed way down, and I’m definitely not that guy.
What riles you up the most?
Unearned responses, unearned praise, unearned income: I have opinions about it. When you watch the debates, on both sides you see clowns who say shit that ain’t ever going to happen, but lately, one party is the free shit party. They are just telling people they’re going to get all sorts of free shit. When you say you’re going to get free education, free healthcare — f—, free brown loafers — of course, everybody’s going to say yes to that.
But you don’t mean it. That’s how you rack up debt, and debt is killing us. Whatever party is going to get us out of debt is my party.
Who scares you?
Well, we asked the female writing staff if they’d vote for Hillary just because she’s a woman, and they all said yes. So then the question was, “So if Sarah Palin was the female?” They all choked and they had to say, “Oh God, yes, we’d vote for her.” I didn’t quite buy it. I don’t think you should vote for somebody just because they’re tall, thin, yellow, green, whatever. Bernie Sanders, as nice a guy as he is, none of that shit’s going to happen. And Trump can’t send everybody to Mexico or whatever the f— he said. But give that guy the roads, bridges, infrastructure, power grid — just have him fix that shit for four years. He’s good at that. And he’s a businessman so he understands how debt load works. Forget the stupid shit he says about immigrants. That’s just ignorant. But he might be able to do the stuff that really needs fixing.
So you’re not opposed to Trump?
I’m not opposed to anybody if their workload matches their bullshit load.
Why has the show gone after Hillary but not Trump?
It’s a little surprising to me. We have a very liberal writing staff, so I’m surprised they haven’t taken a shot at him. But we’re not sure he’s going to last, whereas the Clintons are like herpes: Just when you think they’re gone, they show up again.
Didn’t you try a bit about Obama raising the communist flag at the White House that never made it to air?
We got network notes saying you can’t call the president a communist. So, of course, I really wanted to. I do it in rehearsal all day long.