Aug 29 2011

Me and Yakov

Published by under Clean Comedy

For 24 years of sobriety, I’ve stayed away from Smirnoff.  I couldn’t stay away from this one.

Christian Comedian Jeff Allen with Yakov Smirnoff

Thank you to Yakov who invited me to share his celebrity and humor for a great benefit for the victims of the Joplin, Missouri tornado.

2 responses so far

May 20 2011

At Sea, At Peace

Published by under Family

We are at sea in the Mediterranean final day of our vacation. If the truth be known I have not for almost six days checked the news and shockingly I haven’t missed it. So this morning I glanced at my news source, “The Blaze” and lo and behold the world is still the way it was when I left it, falling apart. For six days I have been able to distance myself from the narrative of the news outlets, just be with my fellow man. We are on a sailing vessel in the middle of a large body of water, we are from all different parts of the world, the Captain last night said over thirty different nations are represented on this ship, from passengers to crew and oddly enough the only thing we can all agree on is the beauty that is God’s creation. Italy is a gorgeous country and the people have been amazingly patient with Tami and I as we shred their language.
Nobody seemed to care, for these six days at least, what denomination anyone is, what party they donate to or whom they are looking to lead America in the coming election. It is a lesson that perhaps we can all learn: Take a six-day break from the news narrative and reconnect with all the relationships in your life, whether it be friends or family, finding one thing you can all agree on, whether it be a sumptuous meal, a sunset or a sporting event. Enjoy the day.   Jeff

We are at sea in the Mediterranean final day of our vacation. If the truth be known, I have not, for almost six days, checked the news… and shockingly I haven’t missed it. So this morning I glanced at my news source, “The Blaze,” and lo and behold the world is still the way it was when I left it, falling apart. For six days I have been able to distance myself from the narrative of the news outlets, just be with my fellow man.

We are on a sailing vessel in the middle of a large body of water, we are from all different parts of the world – the Captain last night said over thirty different nations are represented on this ship, from passengers to crew – and oddly enough the only thing we can all agree on is the beauty that is God’s creation. Italy is a gorgeous country and the people have been amazingly patient with Tami and I as we shred their language.

Nobody seemed to care, for these six days at least, what denomination anyone is, what party they donate to or whom they are looking to lead America in the coming election. It is a lesson that perhaps we can all learn: Take a six-day break from the news narrative and reconnect with all the relationships in your life, whether it be friends or family, finding one thing you can all agree on, whether it be a sumptuous meal, a sunset or a sporting event.

Enjoy the day.
Jeff

No responses yet

May 13 2011

Family Get-Together – After 20 Years

Family Get-Together – After 20 Years
I am the baby of the family. I know it is shocking to find the baby of any family, choosing a profession as an adult that draws attention to himself, you know, like a comedian.
Anyhoo, I am the youngest of four children. I have a brother, Kirk, who is five years older than I, two sisters, Vicki and Lori, in between, and then there is me. As all youngest children think, your parents stopped breeding when they hit perfection!  Truth is, after I was born, Mom told Dad if he touched her again she’d shoot him. Or something like that.
Having four kids in five years will do that to a woman. Not being a woman, I can only guess, of course. But I know what having a stomach ache does to my mood and I can’t imagine how many people would have met their demise if I had a nine-month stomach ache, five years in a row.  Looking back, I am sure it was why my mom insisted on having the lights on all the time. In her mind, bad things happened when the lights were off.
Being the youngest, of course I was Mom’s favorite (don’t worry, my sisters don’t read my blogs and my brother is illiterate). I always thought I was Mom’s favorite because I was just darn special. My wife Tami, who is an oldest child, jealous of me, and a mother, told me, if I was Mom’s favorite it was because I was her last – and being the fourth in five years it probably took her less than two minutes of labor to deliver me.
The reason I bring all this up is that the older I get, the more I want to be around my family.  Truth is, I miss them. We have a lot of laughs when we get together. The problem is that it seems to be only at weddings or funerals that we can see each other. I am fortunate that in my job I travel quite a bit and I am able to sit with my sisters when I am in Dallas or Vegas.
My brother, Kirk, is another issue. We have been estranged for almost two decades. I have missed him the most. The few conversations we have had over the years on the phone have always left me hope that one day God would heal whatever was standing between us. Those of you who have seen me perform know that I have asked for prayer for him as well as me.  Well, I can tell you all Thank You for your prayers; this one has been answered. I sat with my brother over lunch last week in Indiana, when I was in town for a show.
We have both gotten older and balder but the bond between us is the same. We picked up right where we left off twenty years ago. He punched me in the face and I cried like a four year old schoolgirl.
Well, I cried, not because he punched me, but the mere sight of my brother was an answer to a daily prayer for over ten years. I am not naïve. There have been plenty of opportunities over the years for me to reach out, but fear always won the day.  I will not go into any great detail about the get-together other than to say that family bonds are forever – good, bad or indifferent, the bond is huge. One thing I know is that it is never too late to correct and change a course of action.
I would love to hear from you guys on overdue sibling get-togethers.
God ‘s Peace be with you in your journeys, and remember, as hard as it is, we as Christians are to forgive as we too have been forgiven.
Blessings, Jeff.

I am the baby of the family. I know it is shocking to find the baby of any family, choosing a profession as an adult that draws attention to himself, you know, like a comedian.

Anyhoo, I am the youngest of four children. I have a brother, Kirk, who is five years older than I, two sisters, Vicki and Lori, in between, and then there is me. As all youngest children think, your parents stopped breeding when they hit perfection!  Truth is, after I was born, Mom told Dad if he touched her again she’d shoot him. Or something like that.

Having four kids in five years will do that to a woman. Not being a woman, I can only guess, of course. But I know what having a stomach ache does to my mood and I can’t imagine how many people would have met their demise if I had a nine-month stomach ache, five years in a row.  Looking back, I am sure it was why my mom insisted on having the lights on all the time. In her mind, bad things happened when the lights were off.

Being the youngest, of course I was Mom’s favorite (don’t worry, my sisters don’t read my blogs and my brother is illiterate). I always thought I was Mom’s favorite because I was just darn special. My wife Tami, who is an oldest child, jealous of me, and a mother, told me, if I was Mom’s favorite it was because I was her last – and being the fourth in five years it probably took her less than two minutes of labor to deliver me.

The reason I bring all this up is that the older I get, the more I want to be around my family.  Truth is, I miss them. We have a lot of laughs when we get together. The problem is that it seems to be only at weddings or funerals that we can see each other. I am fortunate that in my job I travel quite a bit and I am able to sit with my sisters when I am in Dallas or Vegas.

My brother, Kirk, is another issue. We have been estranged for almost two decades. I have missed him the most. The few conversations we have had over the years on the phone have always left me hope that one day God would heal whatever was standing between us. Those of you who have seen me perform know that I have asked for prayer for him as well as me.  Well, I can tell you all Thank You for your prayers; this one has been answered. I sat with my brother over lunch last week in Indiana, when I was in town for a show.

We have both gotten older and balder but the bond between us is the same. We picked up right where we left off twenty years ago. He punched me in the face and I cried like a four year old schoolgirl.

Well, I cried, not because he punched me, but the mere sight of my brother was an answer to a daily prayer for over ten years. I am not naïve. There have been plenty of opportunities over the years for me to reach out, but fear always won the day.  I will not go into any great detail about the get-together other than to say that family bonds are forever – good, bad or indifferent, the bond is huge. One thing I know is that it is never too late to correct and change a course of action.

I would love to hear from you guys on overdue sibling get-togethers.

God ‘s Peace be with you in your journeys, and remember, as hard as it is, we as Christians are to forgive as we too have been forgiven.

Blessings, Jeff.

8 responses so far

May 07 2011

Has It Really Been One Year?

Published by under Married Life

It has come to my attention that I have not actually blogged with any regularity since I don’t know when, I could probably look it up but that would take me out of this window and Lord only knows when I would be able to get back to finishing this. Today is a travel day and I thought since I am sitting at the airport doing basically nothing, which if you were to corner my wife, she would tell you that “nothing” is what I do most of the time when I am at home, but for whatever reason when I am doing nothing at home sitting at a computer writing blogs never seems like a good idea. BTW, what my wife calls “nothing” I like to call “thinking.” I love lying around thinking, not actively moving which would mean “doing”, but lying there thinking, which to Tami is “nothing”.
Aristotle once said that the definition of nothing is what rocks think about, so if Tami is right,  to her I am a rock. Which in some circles would be a compliment, (think Peter in the Bible.) but in this context and I am a believer that context matters. In this context she is saying that I am dumb as a rock. I can live with that, because I can think for myself, and thinking about that last statement makes me a little upset, but not too upset, if I was too upset, then I would have to “say” something to her, which is actually “doing” something and we all know how I feel about that.
To wrap this up, I am going to try to blog once a week from here on out.  They won’t always be this deep and chock full of meaningful things like this one. (sarcasm intended) Some will actually be pure unadulterated fluff. I would also like to say we are coming into an election cycle and I have been forbidden to talk about such meaningful things as the state of politics. I will take time next week to explain why but I have rambled on way too long as it is this week. God’s Blessings to you all and see you next week. Jeff

It has come to my attention that I have not actually blogged with any regularity since I don’t know when. I could probably look it up but that would take me out of this window and Lord only knows when I would be able to get back to finishing this.

Today is a travel day and I thought since I am sitting at the airport doing basically nothing, which if you were to corner my wife, she would tell you that “nothing” is what I do most of the time when I am at home, but for whatever reason when I am doing nothing at home sitting at a computer writing blogs never seems like a good idea. BTW, what my wife calls “nothing” I like to call “thinking.” I love lying around thinking, not actively moving which would mean “doing,” but lying there thinking, which to Tami is “nothing.”

Aristotle once said that the definition of nothing is what rocks think about, so if Tami is right,  to her I am a rock. Which in some circles would be a compliment (think Peter in the Bible). But in this context (and I am a believer that context matters) she is saying that I am dumb as a rock. I can live with that, because I can think for myself, and thinking about that last statement makes me a little upset, but not too upset, if I was too upset, then I would have to “say” something to her, which is actually “doing” something and we all know how I feel about that.

To wrap this up, I am going to try to blog once a week from here on out.  They won’t always be this deep and chock full of meaningful things like this one.  Some will actually be pure unadulterated fluff. I would also like to say we are coming into an election cycle and I have been forbidden to talk about such meaningful things as the state of politics. I will take time next week to explain why but I have rambled on way too long as it is this week.

God’s Blessings to you all and see you next week.

Jeff

No responses yet

May 07 2010

We Are All Wet

Published by under Outreach

OK, yes, I know this blog is supposed to be funny or entertaining or something like that.

If you missed it on the news, much of Nashville, the place I call home, was buried in what is being referred to as a 500-year flood.  I think that means a flood that comes once every 500 years, but if you saw the place, you’d swear it’d been raining for 500 years straight.

This is no laughing matter.  It’s one thing if you live in a flood plain and have flood insurance.  Not good, but not as bad.  But this flood went to places no one ever dreamed of needing flood insurance.  I have some very close friends that have lost homes.  Ours was OK, but it was a while before I was able to travel back to see it.

So, please pray for the good folks in Nashville.

As with many disasters, one of the really cool things is that friends and neighbors come out of the woodwork.  One friend made a trek into town to get some badly needed supplies when his phone rang. His wife was on the phone telling him he needed to get home.  She said, “You wouldn’t believe it, there are some 30 people here helping out, and they brought a giant smorgasbord of food.”

Human beings may do some pretty stupid stuff from time to time, but when called upon, when the need is obvious and apparent, we often see the very best of people. Thank God.

I’ve heard that to help fund disaster relief efforts, Taylor Swift will donate $500,000. Ke$ha, a Nashville native, will play a benefit show on June 16th.  I’ve also heard that the Country Music Association will contribute half the proceeds from the CMA Music Festival to relief efforts.

2 responses so far

Oct 07 2009

Can There Be Anything Funny About Outreach?

Published by under Clean Comedy,Outreach

Author Os Guinness once posed the question, “Is there a place for the court jester in the kingdom of Heaven?”

Over the years, I have tried to build trust with pastors and church leaders by not only being funny and making sure my events are enjoyable, but also by treating comedy as a legitimate outreach tool. To me, an outreach event should be geared toward opening the mind of the unbeliever, even if it’s just a crack.

Comedy breaks down inhibitions.  Laughter opens the heart, especially when it’s the laughter of recognition.  My humor about skirmishes with my wife and children is felt universally.  When people are laughing hysterically at me and at themselves, I’ve gained credibility; I’ve earned their respect.  So now when I start to share about how it used to be, how far I’d fallen, how I’d almost lost everything, they are with me.  They get it.  They can also relate.  Maybe they were never on the brink of divorce and total despair, but each of us has had those really low times when we weren’t sure we’d ever again be lifted up.

Nothing opens up people’s hearts and minds more than when they can relate to the tragic suffering of a fellow human being they respect.  Once I have that opening, I know they are ready to hear whatever I have to say.  I’ve got the credibility and legitimacy to speak to them.  When I tell them how far I’d fallen, they are with me.  And when I tell them how God lifted me up, they stay with me.

The first time I took a chance and shared my testimony, I was very nervous, even though I felt God had laid it on my heart to do it.  I received an e mail that evening following the show from a gentleman in attendance.  He wrote, “Thank you for sharing your story.  You and I have been through very similar things, and the fact that you got up in front of 1500 strangers and shared your struggles gives me the strength to share them with my wife tonight.  Thank you for your honesty.”  Since then I’ve received many stories about people who brought their unchurched friends to see my comedy performance, who wound up being moved to join the church.

An outreach event should engage as many different age demographics as possible, and nothing brings together multiple generations like comedy.  Nearly every night, I can look out in the audience and see three generations of families enjoying a good laugh together.  Christian musical concerts are typically subjective and age-specific, but hilarious, clean comedy easily transcends age, gender and background.

Comedy opens up the opportunity to share the love of Christ with people who might never have otherwise set foot in a church. Is there a place in God’s kingdom for a court jester?   You bet there is.

What kinds of outreach events have made a difference for you and/or the people in your life?

2 responses so far

Aug 11 2009

Jesus Laughed

Published by under Clean Comedy,Teenagers

C.S. Lewis once posed the question, and I am paraphrasing, mainly because I am too lazy to look up the actual quote, but he once asked, how different Christianity might have been if the Gospel writers had said, “….and Jesus laughed.” I only mention it because my wife and I have come to the conclusion that  – by the way our Savior answers our prayers  – he must have a great sense of humor.

One example of this could be that years ago when we decided to have children, we prayed for patience, tolerance, love and understanding. Which by the way, we felt were virtues that only would come to us with some kind of divine revelation. It would have been nice if God would have just sprinkled some kind of fairy dust through our heating vents and we would have woken up more patient, kind, loving and understanding. The truth is, in His loving way, He gave us not one, but two, ADHD children. Those of you reading this that have hyper children know that there is no better way to learn those virtues than through ADHD boys and girls.

Of course, I myself was hyperactive, but in my day, “the dinosaur days” as my offspring refer to it, they didn’t have a name for hyperactivity. If I was anything I was O.L.T, Obnoxious Little Twit.

There were teachers that would drag me out in the hall and slam me against the lockers. I actually had one teacher head butt me, that’s right, head butt me. I wonder if she prayed for patience, tolerance, love and understanding?

So imagine my surprise when the school called years later and said to me, “I believe your son is hyperactive.”

“What’s that?” I asked, somewhat perplexed.

They went on to explain it, and I yelled back to my wife, “Honey, there’s a name for it!”

Honestly, is this announcement news to any parent? Did any of your jaws drop when the school called and told you? The first day my wife and I dropped our son off at kindergarten, it was all we could do to keep from laughing. Some perky woman looked at us all and gushed, “We will have so much fun!”

To which my wife and I mumbled, “We are sure you will.” Then we proceeded right to Wal-Mart and purchased our first answering machine. Call it prophecy, but I felt I would be screening calls between 8:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. for the next 13 years.

The principal called me at home less than a week later to inform me that my boy would not sit in his chair and he was disrupting the entire class. He then went on to ask me what I thought he might do.

“Open the back door and let him loose. That’s what we do at home.” I replied. “He’ll come back when he’s tired – he always does.” I also suggested that they check his hair for tics when he returns because he likes to crawl through the shrubbery. I don’t think he took my advice. When I hung up, I prayed for his patience, tolerance, love and understanding.

I believe wholeheartedly in the power of prayer, and in God’s desire to answer those prayers. Life’s lessons come through adversity.  C.S. Lewis also said that suffering was God’s megaphone. Those of us who raise ADD and ADHD children have heard that megaphone, but in hindsight that adversity gave us our greatest lessons as parents, and certainly an answer to a prayer. Not the way I would have answered it, but it is not my universe.

I cannot deny that, because of our children and their proclivity towards chaos, my wife and I are more patient, tolerant, loving and understanding.

I also can’t help but think there are times after “one of those days,” when Tami and I collapse exhaustively into the couch and look at each other and smile. Then we look at the heavens, and say, “alright, alright, we hear you.”

…..and Jesus Laughed.

Epilogue: I know that a lot of you have ADD and ADHD kids and I know it’s not always a laughing manner. Please feel free to share anything you wish.

6 responses so far

Jun 04 2009

Teen in Love

Published by under Clean Comedy,Teenagers

I remember it like it was yesterday. Aaron and his girlfriend were sitting in the living room laughing, giggling and enjoying a pizza. I did happen to notice that my boy was eating mushrooms on that pizza, which up until her arrival in his life, he “despised!”  This goes along with shaving, combing his hair and putting on a clean shirt. All things that he didn’t feel the need to do until she entered his life.

Today it all changed. I don’t know what happened, but Aaron got a phone call around noon from his girlfriend. I don’t know what she was saying, but he was extremely frustrated and could hardly get a word in.  Some fragments I caught were:

“But, you won’t let me talk…”

“I didn’t say that, she’s lying to you…”

“Why don’t you believe me?”

This went on for some forty minutes.  As you know, the first few “magical” weeks of an adolescent relationship can be, for lack of a better word, nauseating for those of us who have to witness it. The kids float through the house on a pink cloud with a goofy grin on their face. When asked what they are so happy about, they reply, as if you should have known, “It’s our ninth day, fourth hour anniversary.”

As a parent and an adult, i.e., one who lives in the real world, you know that they eventually will crash and burn; you just hope you are there to help pick up the pieces.

Well, that phone call was it. For forty minutes my son sat on that phone and got gutted like a trout. At one point, I was walking by and our eyes met, and I noticed tears beginning to build up. He was looking at me for, I don’t know, something to help ease his pain. This was one of those rare moments where the omniscient teen doesn’t have an answer. So I delved deep into the recesses of my brain. All my years on this earth. So many relationships. Twenty two years of marriage.

I had nothing.

When I realized this, I thought how funny that was.  And I started laughing – that “laughing in church” phenomenon when you know you’re not supposed to.  The thought came to my mind to ask, “What anniversary you on now, Romantic Man?” I was laughing so hard, I had to take a knee.

I apologized when he got off the phone.  I told him I was laughing because I knew I didn’t have much to tell him. I knew that telling him “this will pass” would be meaningless.  So I just told him that relationships go up and down.  That they are not for the faint of heart.  I congratulated him on entering the fray.  I encouraged him to trust that God had a plan for him. That this wasn’t the end, just the beginning of a lifetime of learning about women and how to be in a relationship.  I encouraged him to “enjoy the ride.” I told him, “this will pass.” (I couldn’t help myself.)  Finally, I then told him the one thing I could really say with authority… that I love him and am proud of him.

Then my wife yelled for me from the kitchen… clearly about something I should or shouldn’t have done.  I exchanged a sheepish look with Aaron and said, “Looks like it’s my turn, pal.”

Do you, or did you, have a teen in love at home? Were you a teen in love?  What’s your story?

7 responses so far

May 05 2009

Groundhog

Published by under Clean Comedy,Teenagers

My wife and I are a praying couple, or least we try to pray. Am I the only one who finds it difficult to pray with their spouse after an argument?  In reality, this is when you should be on your knees praying. I unfortunately find myself on my knees looking for the car keys that my lovely wife whipped at my cranium. As a believer in God, and a believer in the power of prayer, I continually ask myself why I don’t do it more often – and certainly in times of “discomfort.” Isn’t this when we should talk to our Savior?

I mention this because it just dawned on me that as my children grow older, we have more days behind us with them than we have in front of us. In other words, they are almost “growed” up and out of our house. All we have left is to pray for them. They’re never around for us to talk to.

Our oldest son has an excuse; he paid his dues in the Army and is relatively recently back from Iraq. Our youngest son, though technically he still lives with us, for all intents and purposes, moved out a year ago.

This is a typical day. He emerges from his room and, on the way to the shower, we say “Good Morning.” No reply. Then he disappears into the bathroom. He then comes out of the bathroom and we ask, “Are you working a double today?”

“Yeah.” Then he disappears into his room.

A few more minutes go by and he re-emerges from the room, goes into the kitchen, grabs some grub and starts to walk out. Then I ask, “Are you going to be home for dinner?”

“Probably not.”

He then walks out. He’s a good kid.  Just not very chatty.

This goes on everyday. EVERYDAY. One morning I told my wife, “We gave birth to a groundhog.”

I ask him to do things with me, like go to the movies, and he is always busy with his new girlfriend. Imagine that!  No time for Dad, but all the time in the world for a girl.

I remember a time when girls were icky to him. My wife remembers a time when he used to say, “When I get big, I am going to marry you Mommy.”
I heard Harry Chapin’s tune “Cat’s in the Cradle” the other day, and had to pull the car over. I couldn’t drive thru the tears and convulsions. I think they should warn the listeners before they unleash that kind of guilt and shame on unsuspecting parents driving along. It wouldn’t take but a few seconds – they warn parents all the time when they are going to say something inappropriate for children.

How hard would it be to warn us that “Cat’s in the Cradle” is coming on?

Hey Dad, soon to be empty nester, yeah you, the one who traveled their whole lives, the one living with the groundhog who can’t come out long enough to play with you, just wanted to let you know, Harry Chapin is coming up.

Of course, knowing me the way I know me, I wouldn’t turn the dial; I would just sit there and punish myself.

This is a tough time for Tami and I. We continually reevaluate the job we did with our children. Soooooo many things we would do differently; so much so that on occasions Tami has suggested we have another one, just to see if we can do it guilt-free. To that I reply, “Stand behind her Satan!”
The last thing I want to do is raise another child; I told her that we’ve “earned” grandchildren.

All we have to do is now is pray that our groundhog meets someone else’s groundhog, and we let God do His handiwork.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I am going to go guilt my son into having lunch with me… if I can find my car keys.

8 responses so far

Apr 20 2009

On the Homestretch Interview

Published by under Married Life,Teenagers

Here’s a great fun interview I had with Debbie Alan (no relation… she doesn’t even spell her last name properly).

 

 

LovePong

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