Tim Allen Reflects on 2-Year Prison Stint, Alcohol Addiction
Looking back. Tim Allen opened up about the mistakes he’s made in the past in a new interview, admitting he “was an eff up” when he was younger.
The actor, 67, had his first shot of alcohol at age 10, after seeing cowboys drinking whiskey in the movies. One year later, Allen lost his father to a car accident caused by a drunk driver.
“After my old man died, I really just played games with people and told adults what they wanted to hear and then stole their booze,” the Last Man Standing star said on the Monday, March 1, episode of the “WTF With Marc Maron” podcast. “Really, I was Eddie Haskell [from Leave it to Beaver]. ‘Yes, Mrs. Cleaver. No, Mrs. Cleaver.’ I knew exactly what adults wanted — make your bed, be polite, use a napkin — and then I’d go steal everything in the house.”
When the Toy Story star was 23, he was arrested at the Kalamazoo/Battle Creek International Airport in Michigan with more than a pound of cocaine in his bags.
“We were a bunch of college kids — a bunch of the people who overdid it,” he explained during the episode. “Two of us took [the punishment] for about 20 guys.”
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After pleading guilty to drug trafficking charges, the Home Improvement alum was sent to federal prison, where he remained for two years and four months.
“I learned, literally, how to live day by day and I learned how to shut up,” Allen said, noting he went to three different prisons following his 1978 arrest. “I did what I was told, played the game. … You don’t want to be sarcastic in prison. Being funny and doing funny voices is funny. Sarcasm doesn’t go over too well. That I learned.”
The comedian noted that he “got used to it” after around eight months and compared the experience to “camp,” getting to know each of the other prisoners. He also felt that he got along with people because he was funny.
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“There were OK times. Saturday we got better food. Eventually, I went from a holding cell arrangement to my own cell,” Allen shared. “I called my mom at the time. … I told her how proud I was that I got my own cell.”
The Santa Clause star, who is now nearly 23 years sober and “clean of everything,” also explained his relationship with drinking.
“Alcohol never affected me like the other guys. I could drink copious amounts even [as] a young kid,” he shared during the podcast, explaining that he once got blackout drunk and drove his friends home — something that still haunts him.
“I look back on those things — this is sober guy stuff — I had so much shame at the things that I did that was ‘OK,’ especially driving people around,” the Don’t Stand Too Close to a Naked Man author said. “Coming from a dad that was killed that way, it’s difficult to get past it.”
Allen added, “That’s a vicious little drug, alcohol.”
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