Tim Allen is opening up about the other conservative sitcom star whose show was canceled by ABC — Roseanne Barr.
Asked whether the network was right to fire Barr over her racist tweet last May, Allen replied, “I go way back with Rosie and that’s not the Rosie I know. She was the most diverse and tolerant woman I’ve ever known for a long time. Whatever got in her head isn’t the Roseanne I know. It’s a very icy time. I’ve been a comedian for 38 years and I’ve never seen it, like Lenny Bruce said at the Purple Onion, ‘We’ve gone backwards.’ There are things you can’t say. There are things you shouldn’t say. Who makes up these rules? And as a stand-up comic, it’s a dangerous position to be in because I like pushing buttons. It’s unfortunate.”
But did ABC make the right decision? “They had to do what they had to do and it’s their decision.”
Allen made the comments Thursday at the Television Critics Association’s press tour in Beverly Hills after a panel with Last Man Standing showrunner Kevin Abbott promoting Fox’s revival of the former ABC comedy series.
Later, Fox had a panel for the upcoming comedy The Cool Kids, which co-stars Martin Mull — who had a long-running role on the original Roseanne series. We asked Mull the same question. “They did what they had to do,” Mull says. “My own dealings with Rosie never indicated to me anyone who would write that tweet. I certainly don’t approve of the tweet. I never saw that in her. But I did see things in her that were inexplicable.”
Here’s more from the panel for Last Man Standing:
— The Baxter family will be joined by a foreign exchange student from China this season. “So basically we have a different political system who will come in,” says Abbott. “Mike Baxter will try to promote the American way.”
— On whether Allen’s character is a Trump supporter: “It’s a legitimate question,” Allen says. “I think the guy is a centrist … he’s probably pro-Trump. He probably doesn’t defend him. He’s for whatever is good for his business and for the state of Colorado. I’m not the character I play. Keanu Reeves didn’t actually murder 100 people in John Wick. What’s interesting to me is pissing people off.”
— On being canceled by ABC: “I’ve worked for ABC for years … I don’t really believe it was a political decision. I think it was a financial decision…. I thought it was done very poorly, that’s my point of view. I was heartbroken.”
— On how the show has a “hopeful message”: Abbott says, “You’re allowed to dissent or disagree in this family … and they stay together no matter what.”
— On how the show differs from ABC’s Roseanne: “The Roseanne reboot handled a lot of topical issues, they did the issue of the week,” Abbott says. “We’re not going to sex it up, or outrage it up, in order to fit the profile of anything.”
Earlier at TCA, Fox Television Group chairman and CEO Gary Newman was asked if Allen’s character was a Trump supporter. “Right now, the producers’ plan is simply not to address whether or not he might be a Trump supporter,” Newman said. “Clearly he’s a character with a conservative viewpoint, one they think of as centrist. That could change during the season.”