Comedian Tim Allen, now in a fifth season of his ABC sitcom Last Man Standing, started tongues wagging when he compared the Clintons to herpes in a joke to The Hollywood Reporter.
Allen is a television rarity in that he's taken two sitcoms past the 100-episode mark, and this one is also very rare in its appeal to people who like seeing a little Democrat-bashing in their comedy:
THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER: Why has the show gone after Hillary but not Trump?
TIM ALLEN: 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.
THR: Didn't you try a bit about Obama raising the communist flag at the White House that never made it to air?
ALLEN: 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.
Just before that, Allen explained that despite ABC insisting they calm down the scripts about Obama, he felt that his character Mike Baxter is milder than he is:
THR: How are you different from Mike?
ALLEN: 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.
THR: What riles you up the most?
ALLEN: 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 s--t party. They are just telling people they're going to get all sorts of free s--t. When you say you're going to get free education, free health care — 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.
Allen is a fan of John Kasich, but said he would vote for Trump, even though he feels his statements on immigrants were “ignorant....But he might be able to do the stuff that really needs fixing.”
Then, The Hollywood Reporter published some quotes from executives that had a role in launching Allen’s second sitcom, and several of them addressed the politics and the censorship:
TIM DOYLE (showrunner/Executive Producer, seasons two through four): "Tim and I started arguing about politics because I’m a huge lefty. I thought, 'Let’s give Mike Baxter opinions that relate to the real world.' We wanted to play on the Mitt Romney dog on the car incident by joking that’s how Obama transports Joe Biden. ABC's standards department said, 'That is unacceptable to disrespect the vice president.' There was tons of stuff like that."
DANA WALDEN (Fox TV Group chairman and CEO): "That right-leaning, committed to their point of view character? Not really anywhere else on television. It was an underrepresented voice, particularly on broadcast networks. Strategically, that’s who we’re trying to appeal to, the underserved right-leaning audience. But it started organically with the fundamental bones of who Tim’s character is."