LOS ANGELES – With the brand new yr now right here, so, too, is the return of “Last Man Standing.”
Regardless of being ABC’s second-most-watched sitcom throughout its closing season, it appeared “Final Man Standing” was destined for purgatory after the sequence was whacked by ABC in Could 2017 after six seasons. The sequence had an enormous resurgence on FOX in 2019 and is kicking off its long-awaited eighth season on Thursday.
Allen, 66, and Engvall, 62, sat down with Fox Information on the sequence set and dished on their longtime friendship as “road comics” and opened up concerning the connection “Last Man Standing” had made with viewers in seven seasons on the air.
The dynamic between the pair on set is well replicated off-camera, as Allen mentioned merely it by no means looks like work when he’s working with Engvall, given the decades-long historical past they share.
“We spend most of [the time]… I mean, it’s really a blessing in disguise because we just B.S. the whole time about roadwork,” Allen mentioned of their working relationship.
Engvall agreed with Allen’s evaluation and mentioned he understands as a humorist the work it takes to succeed in the head of helming your individual sitcom, since Engvall additionally used to have certainly one of his personal.
“Yeah, I love when I get called to be on the show because I think as road comics, this is the Holy Grail,” Engvall mentioned. “You get your own show and now to be able to just sit and visit and talk — and we talk on the road and talk about the show, and you’re talking with someone who knows where you’re coming from and vise versa, because we both have done the same things.”
It’s obvious immediately that Allen and Engvall get pleasure from one another’s firm. Throughout our prolonged dialog, the 2 appeared to complete the opposite’s sentences when talking concerning the artwork of comedy — and what started as Engvall reflecting on the euphoric feeling of acting on stage rapidly turned to Allen telling a story concerning the late, nice comic Richard Pryor.
“For me, it’s just the love of it. I mean, I think to really be a successful road performer, you have to literally love every bit of it,” Engvall mentioned. “Even though we gripe, it’s still that when you’re on stage and the audience and you are on the same wavelength and it’s rolling, I don’t think there’s a better…”
Allen would end his pal’s thought:
“A better gift,” chimed the “Toolman.”
“I saw [Richard] Pryor all when I first started out. I went to see every concert he was in. I’ve never in my life been so amazed at what that man could do to me,” Allen mentioned, including that he and the “Harlem Nights” actor had turn out to be pals.
“I mentioned, ‘I wish to do that,'” Allen recalled. “It was nonstop pleasure and no matter laughter is to any particular person, he opened my thoughts. You knew his perspective. You bought a joke, however he simply… I used to be hurting. One time I put my hand up on the Fox Theater as if… and he’d go, ‘Oh, we have got to decelerate a minute, this little white child is having bother with this.'”
Allen mentioned Pryor’s type helped form his personal and, over time, Allen developed a tempo he knew may maintain the viewers’s consideration.
I’ve by no means in my life been so amazed at what that man may do to me.
“As a result of I needed him to simply give me a pause, only for a second. So I have been a rock ‘n’ roll comedian, I do not give any gaps,” Allen defined. “I wanted to do the same thing. I’m humbled to even say what Pryor did to me and I’ve been doing that.”
Allen mentioned that after 30 years of performing comedy, he nonetheless will get a rush each time he walks onto the stage.
“I say to myself, walking, ‘I love this. I love this anticipation,'” he said. “’I’m going to give you guys the best I got. And if you give me the laugh back, I win.’ You win because I really think they get what I got, leaving that Pryor show. I hope that they’ve never laughed that hard.”
When requested what they needed to be applied within the present with a view to garner much more laughs from viewers at residence, Allen gave an attention-grabbing reply — reflecting on the general development the present has seen since its inception and drawing parallels to the way wherein an expert soccer franchise would reply after being instructed they weren’t ok.
“It sounds redundant, but this year it’s a very difficult thing — situation comedies on television on any network,” Allen mentioned. “Getting this to have an arc in 18 minutes or 22 minutes with commercials — what it eventually does and the staff that we got — we’re like a pro football team that came back because I don’t know how to describe the writing staff on this show, the leadership in this show, the crew on this saying, ‘We are veterans.’ I’m always amazed that they’ve come up with a new idea at all.”
Once more, the unmistakable dynamic between Allen and Engvall crammed the room as they bantered about being actually and creatively married to the identical girl, sequence costar Nancy Travis, 58.
“I imply, this can be a household that now all my daughters within the present have grown and gone out. Nancy Travis and I’ve… his ex-wife… we have been each married to the identical girl, proper?” Allen mentioned.
“Once more,” Engvall quipped.
“Once more, bizarre,” Allen mentioned earlier than carrying on. “But as this show evolves, it just all of a sudden evolved quite naturally. And again, this writing staff…”
Engvall rapidly stepped in to reward the workers, saying: “You’ve probably got the best writing staff in the business.”
Allen continued: “Headed up by Kevin Abbott, I just think these guys really know what a story is. And they want to lay comedy on top of drama. And it’s very difficult and it’s such a challenge, and they do it. And I’m just going, ‘Look, we’ve got one more [season], I think we’re into five now. And I said, ‘OK, we did it again.’ My mind goes, ‘It’s going to drop. This is going [down]. We’re veterans and we can break a leg really quick.’”
When posed the query of the present’s longevity, the pair couldn’t assist themselves however make a comedic second.
“I’ll tell you this, that I’ve been amazed… I think I’ve done four or five episodes as Reverend Paul. But how many people on my social media will say, ‘Hey, we saw you on ‘Last Man Standing’ again.’ It’s just this wave that just continues to roll and it hasn’t crashed yet. And it’s like, I am thrilled,” Engvall exuded earlier than Allen placed on his reserving agent hat and all however prolonged Engvall’s time as a visitor star on the household program.
“Hasn’t crashed yet. Huh… yet,” Allen mentioned. “However, if we added more Reverend Paul episodes, we could make sure it goes in for a soft landing when it crashes.”
Allen mentioned the present’s success is a mix of many issues however maintains that the method the writers and performers absorb talking on sure subjects is what units it other than different applications.
“I go out on the road and this is it. This is a nonpolitical show. I love that the guy, the dude I play, has an attitude,” Allen defined. “I love that he’s Archie Bunker, as I’ve said from day one. It’s Archie Bunker that went to U of M. He’s an engineering and marketing guy, so he’s bright, but he has an attitude and he’s angry.”
Allen continued: “But I go on the road with this, 44 gigs this year, and I don’t see politics like people see it. The most of America where I tour and you too [Engvall], is kind of the base of this country and that’s what this show celebrates. We don’t make fun of religion. We’re not pushing religion. We don’t make fun of relationships. We don’t push it. But we honor family.”
“And we honor connections with pals and we honor making choices which are good in your group. It is the little refined issues these guys do,” he mentioned.
“We simply do not make enjoyable of stuff… except liberals,” he added with amusing. “Simply regardless of the button is to push, we prefer to push that button. It’s proper now that the tender stuff is what… what do they name it, snowflakes? No matter that PC, right — we like pushing that a little bit.”