More than anything, Jeff Allen likes to make people laugh and, rare among comedians, he knows a joke doesn’t have to be dirty to be funny.
Just who is Jeff Allen… and how on earth did a nut-job atheist from Chicago’s South Side, who’s crawled across the grittiest comedy club floors in American, end up as: the featured performer at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, DC; end up working with the world’s top Gospel quartet; secure a development deal with Castle Rock Television to produce a sitcom based on Jeff’s ultra-clean family friendly standup comedy… HAPPY WIFE, HAPPY LIFE? Excellent question!
Jeff’s been doing comedy for 20 years and his work has been seen on every cable comedy show in the U.S., including Comedy Central’s “Premium Blend,” and VH1’s “Stand Spotlight.” His one hour special, “Happy Wife, Happy Life” aired on the Odyssey Channel and Family Net. He’s a regular on the Grand Ole Opry and was a featured comedian at the 1998 U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen and the Montreal Just For Laughs International Comedy Festival 2000, the biggest laugh riot on the planet.
Jeff is one of the few comedians who can “kill ‘em” at a casino in Vegas and then bring down the house at the Baptist Youth Missionary Board… doing the exact same act. He says, “Funny is funny. What makes people laugh works anywhere. I don’t change a word.” The word may not change but what has changed radically is the man who delivers them.
It’s hard to believe the Jeff who works the “Estes Park Christian Seminar in the Rockies” is the same Jeff who used to get mail addressed to “Mr. Psycho.” Jeff wasn’t a happy, well-adjusted Christian comedian. He used to be an insane, drunken creature rejected by the dark side of hell.
In 1978, Jeff had to get plastered to work up the nerve to try his first open mike night. After Arsenio Hall got him his first paying job, the fuse was lit and Jeff took off like a rocket… for the top AND the bottom.
Feeding each other in a frenzy of alcohol and drugs, his life any early career were a 10 year hell-for-leather roller coaster ride straight into the ditch. Working America’s top comedy clubs 46 weeks a year, blowing every paycheck, sleeping on floors, stealing neighbor’s pop bottles for money, Jeff spiraled down in a haze of cocaine and booze. Not exactly resume building material.
There were bright spots, but not many. In Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, he met a club waitress, fell in love and, amazingly, convinced her he was a great catch. Jeff married Tami, “by giving her the illusion I was a respectable adult. On paper, I sure looked good. I had a phone and an apartment in Los Angeles, and my car was paid for. The truth was, I was sleeping on a mattress on the floor, the telephone was in someone else’s name, and the car was a ’67 Volkswagen bug I’d bought for 300 bucks. I completely defrauded this women into marrying me.”
Drinking and drugs slowly blew his career apart, and the low point came when, desperate to feed his family, he couldn’t even get a job delivering pizzas. After years of rage, sadness, and pain, he and Tami decided to call it quits. With divorce papers signed, they were ten minutes from the courthouse when they decided to try again. With two children and barely any career left, Jeff hit rock bottom, turned to AA, dried out, and through generous help from a total stranger, found comfort in God.
Jeff says, “the single greatest gift I get from my relationship with Jesus, is peace. For the first time in my life I am at peace in my own skin. From that peace, I am able to do what I love to do, make people laugh. I’ve been a comic for twenty plus years, and right now I’m having the time of my life. It is true that life does begin at forty.”
Today, Jeff Allen is on top of the world. At the peak of his comedic powers, he works the best rooms in the country, is developing a sitcom with the most talented people in Los Angeles, and has a family he adores. Having survived inner demons that would put most of us in our graves, Jeff is that rare exception in the world of creative talent ? a happy guy.
And that joy ? drawn from the crazy pain of everyday living ? is precisely what
HAPPY WIFE, HAPPY LIFE is all about.