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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Clean comic Jeff Allen is aging gracefully as he can with hip replacements

Jeff Allen will bring his story-filled act to the Spokane Comedy Club on Sunday.  (Courtesy photo)
By Ed Condran For The Spokesman-Review

It’s hard to believe that Jeff Allen, who is the epitome of a clean comic, was once a blue humorist who suffered from drug and alcohol addiction.

However, it’s all documented in his forthcoming book, “Are We There Yet?,” which hits shelves in September.

“When one of my sons was in the fourth grade, my wife and I were called into the principal’s office since we were told that our son called his teacher an obscenity,” Allen said. “I told the principal that I wished that I had no idea how he knew that word. My wife told me on the way home how badly that made us look. I had to move in a different direction.”

Allen, 67, changed considerably. At 40, he embraced religion and altered his act. “Like Bill Cosby said, ‘If you need the F-word as a punchline, you need a new joke.’”

Perhaps Cosby isn’t the best comic to reference when it’s about raising your moral and comedic game, but the quote works. “I didn’t want to believe all of the allegations about Bill Cosby, who was a hero of mine,” Allen said. “Apparently, he didn’t change, but I had to do something very different.”

Allen, who will perform Sunday at the Spokane Comedy Club, is in fine form waxing about marriage, health and being a grandparent.

“The reward I have for not killing my sons when they were teenagers are grandchildren,” Allen cracked while calling from his Nashville home. “I have four grandchildren, and they’re always happy to see me. I can’t say the same for my children, who aren’t so thrilled to see me.”

Allen, who has been a comic since 1978, believes that the scene might be returning to the freewheeling ’ 70s. “Cancel culture reminds me of the ’ 50s and ’ 60s when comics had to watch what they said,” Allen said. “Lenny Bruce was arrested for what he said during the ’ 60s. And then the ’ 70s arrived and comics could say what they wanted without getting in trouble.”

Allen has evolved from a set up and punchline comic to a storyteller. “I have so much to talk about after all of these years,” Allen said. “That’s the best part of being older. You have so much to draw from.”

The tough part for Allen is his aging body, which was recently enhanced by a pair of hip replacements. Next up is knee surgery. “I hobble, but I’ll get through this,” Allen said. “I’ll be ready to perform in Spokane. Before the show, I’m going to Manito Park. I love it there. After the show, we’ll be off to Glacier National Park. It’s such a beautiful part of the country. We’ll drive through it and I’ll have more material when we finish the trip.”