It's always make me angry, whenever Tim Allen's name comes up on Kalamazoo-related social media, because there's always one or two, or many, that immediately mention his drug bust at Kalamazoo/Battle Creek Airport.

I know some of that is simple jealousy, but why are we always knocking a guy who got his stuff together and made a success of his life. As a counterpoint, look at someone like Denny McLain.

I don't think I've ever heard Allen discuss what happened that got him over two years in prison, after he was busted in 1978 on drug trafficking charges.

In this handout, American actor and comedian Tim Allen in a mug shot following his arrest for cocaine possession, Kalamazoo, Michigan, US, 2nd October 1978. (Photo by Kypros/Getty Images)
In this handout, American actor and comedian Tim Allen in a mug shot following his arrest for cocaine possession, Kalamazoo, Michigan, US, 2nd October 1978. (Photo by Kypros/Getty Images)

Allen talked to Marc Maron, host of the popular WTF podcast. (Warning! The podcast features a high number of f-bombs, so it's NSFW but also not for kids, or those who are sensitive to that that kind of language.)

Taking philosophy at WMU, and dealing with his father's sudden death.

This fascinating conversation ranged to a wide number of topics, but one thing that is clear is Allen is not the neanderthal type he plays in some of his roles. He alluded to studying philosophy for five years at WMU, with Professor John Dilworth. He talks about his religious background and how he processed the sudden death of his father, by an alleged drunk driver, after a Colorado football game.

Allen says he "never had a good answer from our minister, at age 11, where he's in a better place and I was like pissed off. I said 'better place?'...What's this better place thing and who is this friendly God that takes your dad from you - cut to, I love my children, I love my life so if I'm gonna blame it for all the anger in my life I've gotta give it credit for all the good things... it's really hard to process ... if it hadn't happened I'd still be living in Denver. He was an insurance man. I probably would have gone in that business."

Going to prison.

Much of the first 45 minutes of the conversation deals with the early part of Allen's career. Maron asks Allen about what happened in 1978.

"I was a F up...I didn't listen anybody 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." (Allen says he's been 23 years sober.)

Allen explained "we were a bunch of college kids — a bunch of the kids who overdid it...two of us took it for about 20 guys." Allen then says he waited 8 months for sentencing, and both he and his attorney were surprised at the severity of the sentence. "I didn't think they would do that and neither did my attorney, then they came hard on me." He served his sentence in three different prisons, and learned to adjust to prison life.

"I just shut up and did what I was told," he said. "It was the first time ever I did what I was told and played the game... I learned literally how to live day by day. And I learned how to shut up. You definitely want to learn how to shut up." - Tim Allen, on the WTF podcast.

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Before reporting for prison, he started doing stand-up comedy at a club in Walled Lake. When the owner told him he had promise, and to come back, Allen told him he had a prison sentence to take care of first.

Obviously, Allen turned his life around and, in the process, got sober. But I don't think I had ever heard him address this topic. Maron is a good interviewer and it was a fascinating conversation.


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