A few weeks ago, I had never heard of Christian comedian Jeff Allen. Now, I can't hear his name without laughing.
Allen performed for a couple hundred people on Jan. 2 at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Arlington Heights. The show was part of the church's Joyful Noise performing arts series.
Allen started his show by telling the audience he is 58 years old, and on Sept. 28 he celebrated 27 years without a drink or drug. He also shared that he's a functioning hypochondriac with ADHD, has a wife, Tami, of 28 years, who almost divorced him, and has two adult sons (one with ADHD), and two granddaughters.
Once an atheist, he became a Christian at age 40.
His unique blend of life experiences and perspective make for hilarious humor with a good dose of inspiration. Everyday family life and a healthy marriage are his shtick, and everyone can relate.
"Comedy equals tragedy plus time," Allen said quoting another comedian. Given time to heal from the wounds, painful experiences often can be the basis of funny jokes or stories, he explained.
"I grew up before lawyers took over the country. If a kid maimed himself, it was called childhood," Allen said relating a story about the first time his son went roller-blading. "He had so much padding on...God gave us pain as a teaching tool. If you fall down, then it gives you more incentive to try and learn to balance and stay up."
My 11-year-old son, Anthony, got a kick out of that story as he recalled learning to roller blade last summer. He was cackling at many of Jeff's stories, which touched on topics such as common core math, bike helmets and puberty.
While Anthony was probably about the youngest in the audience, which varied in age from pre-teen to seniors, it was clear Allen's humor spoke to everyone.
During the brief intermission, Angie Vargas, of Wheeling said she was there with seven others. "It was a Christmas gift from my daughter's fiance's parents," she said. Asked how she liked the show, she said, "I can definitely relate. He's very entertaining, that's for sure!"
Allen came back for his second set, which he said was going to be about communication.
His hilarious insights into marriage and relationships had the audience roaring in laughter—especially one woman in the front row.
“You know, we usually laugh most at what we can relate to,” Allen said.
After the show, Allen chatted with fans at his product table where he was selling one of his DVDs and a CD.
“Thank you. You made our night,” said Sharon Browne, of Lisle, as she left the table with her sister, Betty Sensenig, of Dixon.
“My son discovered him on Bananas (Comedy) so I wanted to get a copy of the DVD signed for him,” Browne told me.
Sensenig said she and her sister had seen Allen three years ago in Aurora and were excited to see him again.
“He’s amazing,” Browne said. “He’s hilarious,” Sensenig said. “He’s inspirational,” Browne added.
Why do they like Allen’s comedy so much?
“It’s my everyday life,” Browne said. “The humanness of it, it’s so real,” Sensenig said. “It’s nice to be able to sit and laugh without all the cussing,” Browne added.
Allen said he usually comes back to Illinois about once a year so if you missed Friday’s show, you can learn more about him, watch videos, and purchase media at www.jeffallencomedy.com.
We would rate this as a very funny 5 ticket event.
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