Comedian Jeff Allen had a successful comedy career for decades and now he’s opening up about his past battles with drug addiction which led him to God.
The headliner is adored among Christian audiences around the world, but he almost went down a different path in the early 1980s.
“I started comedy in 1978 and by 1980 there were more comedy clubs than comedians in the country — so I was able to travel, make money and be bad at it," Allen told Fox News this week. “And I think I moved back home with my folks for about three months — that was because of alcohol and drugs. I just had gotten so bad, that I needed to clean up.
During that time frame, Allen called his dad saying, “I can’t stop, so you need to come and get me.’” His father drove out to where Allen was and brought him home.
“I got clean and sober for a while and I’ve been sober for 31 years now,” the entertainer shared.
The 62-year-old has graced thousands of stages during his 30-year career, including the iconic Grand Ole Opry stage. He went on the explain how drugs and alcohol almost ruined his marriage to his wife, Tami Mishler.
“I remember one time we went to a fundraiser I was performing at and there were all kinds of liquor – I was probably six months sober or something – and Tami was with me,” the “Happy Wife, Happy Life” comedian continued. “And she looked at me and said, ‘You look like you want a drink,’ and I said, ‘I’d suck it from your veins.’”
“I said, ‘this is going to be a quick night, babe. I’m gonna do my little dog and pony and we’re gonna get out of here,” Allen admitted telling his wife, who he’s been married to for 32 years now.
The “Thou Shalt Laugh” entertainer said he was not happy about leaving New York City for his sobriety but accepted that the big apple had way too much temptation for him, so it had to be done.
“I had just been sober a year or two and I was a walking scab, that’s the best way to describe it. I was functional, I wasn’t going to go to prison, but I’ll tell you what — if you picked at that scab, I got angry and I got pissed off and I remember telling my manager at the time or my agent at the time, I’ve gotta get out of this city before I burn a bridge — a big bridge,” he recalled.
“God had other plans for me and we went to Arizona, of all places,” Allen added.
Throughout his life, Allen confessed that he was always in search of stability. He battled uncontrollable anger, had no sense of spirituality and his marriage was in shambles. During that time of his life, Allen’s spending habits had resulted in financial ruin for his family.
“When you don’t feel connected to life, you look for something externally, and when your internal is messed up, you look externally,” stated Allen. “I was buying things I couldn’t afford, and we were living hand-to-mouth. I was robbing Peter to pay Paul, and eventually, it all just kind of came crashing down.”
The Tennessee native substituted his drug addiction with a golf addiction but it was on the golf course he met a rich golfer who truly helped him on his journey. Allen credits the bond he created with his golf buddy for helping cultivate his faith.
“He was a Bible-believing Christian and I was reading Ayn Rand. I thought that just by working with him, he could teach me how to accumulate wealth,” Allen maintained. “He put the Bible in my hands and I think it was about a year-and-a-half, he signed me up for some Bible study”
While listening to one of the Bible study tapes his friend gave him, he discovered what had been missing all his life.
“I’ve since spent the past 20 years trying to live up – I’m nowhere near it, but I’ve tried to live up to what that means as a child of Christ. I’m way short. I fall short every day. It’s like Blaise Pascal’s wager, where he says as a Christian, what have I lost? At the end of my life, if it turns out to be false — I was a better husband, a better father, a better citizen and certainly a better comedian,” Allen concluded.
Comedy has been known to go hand in hand with depression and other forms of oppression as Allen described above. Last year, secular comedian Artie Lange revealed he struggled with substance abuse for decades but confessed that prayer has been helping him and he's now been sober.
Allen also remains grounded in God as he travels the world bringing joy and laughter to others.
Allen is currently on tour, for more information visit jeffallencomedy.com