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Snorting Fans Signal Return of Comic Allen

Comedian Tim Allen--something of a phenomenon in that many stand-up fans haven’t even heard of him while others consider him one of the funniest comics around--returns to Orange County for a stint at the Laff Stop that has been extended through tonight and Saturday.

The fact that he’s returning to the area might even surprise a lot of folks who didn’t know--or care--that he performed on the “Five O’Clock Funnies” show in May at the Celebrity Theatre in Anaheim.

Because there are far more comedy fans unfamiliar than familiar with the Detroit comic, most probably didn’t feel any compelling need to go see him in Anaheim.

At the same time, those who did attend not only knew Allen, but were nuts about him. He had barely taken the stage when many in the audience starting uttering his trademark pig snort. (We’ll get to that shortly.)

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Even though it technically wasn’t his show--he was one of four comics sharing equal billing--he drew a much more vocal, fervent response than some of the big-name comedians who have played the Celebrity.

What’s the explanation?

First, he has developed pockets of support through selected television appearances, including the recent Rodney Dangerfield HBO special “Opening Night at Rodney’s Place” and multiple shots on “Comic Strip Live,” a nationally syndicated show filmed at Igby’s in Los Angeles--as well as heavy radio exposure on KLOS-FM’s weekday feature, “The Five O’Clock Funnies.”

The other explanation: Allen is refreshing and very funny. Early in his performances, he sets up the premise that “men are pigs,” punctuated with a pig snort. He then extends this notion--and the snort, though it ends up sounding more simian than porcine--throughout the remainder of his show.

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He also pairs this idea with another running theme: that men love tools, sometimes to the extreme of rewiring everything from the vacuum cleaner to the garbage disposal to make them more powerful. The approach is unusual, amusing and is rapidly winning Allen new fans. At this rate, it may not be long before Tim Allen becomes a household name.

Tim Allen appears tonight at 8:30 and 10:30 and Saturday at 8 and 10 p.m. at the Laff Stop, 2122 S.E. Bristol, Santa Ana. Show times: 8 and 9:45 p.m. Tickets: $12.50. Information: (714) 852-8762.


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