Why stand-up Tom Allen is finally growing up
Tom is back on the road with his brand-new show Completely which plays Portsmouth’s Kings Theatre (September 28-30), Southampton’s Mayflower Theatre (Wednesday, October 11) and Brighton Dome (October 12-14).
“The tour has been a really lovely experience,” Tom says. “I feel really humbled if that's not too predictable a thing to say. I have done stand-up for 18 years. I did it from 2017 through to 2019 but this takes it all to a whole different level. I'm really loving going to different places and meeting all sorts of different people.”
As for the pandemic: “I was really blessed in that I’d finished touring in 2019 basically and then I was just going to start to think about material ready to go out again at the end of 2020 but obviously that didn't happen. So it was just time to reflect and that's when I wrote my first book which was a version of stand-up in a way. I think of stand-up as being chapters. So it was really just a question of keeping busy but I do think we forget now just how harrowing it was at the time during the pandemic, that feeling of just really not knowing what was happening, that great fear of the unknown. For most of us it was our first experience of that kind of event, just something as big as that.”
But in a way it underlined the importance of what Tom does: “It taught me about stand-up and it taught me a lot about comedy. Comedy and laughter are such an important tool – and I hope that doesn't sound pompous – in coping with things, aren’t they.”
Not least the changes in his own life: “After the pandemic I thought that I should get on with my life. I saved for a long time and I lived at home from 30 to 38 because I wanted to be cautious with what I was spending. My parents were very generous to allow me to come back and actually I'm very grateful for the time we got to spend together. And then I moved into my own home in April 2021. I think I was looking at ways of trying to get on with my life. It was a question of impatience but I had also been saving since I was 12. My dad was always saying ‘Put that money away’ even if I was really wanting to spend on something. But I guess you just get older and it was the right time. So yes I have been forced to grow up.”
He’s eager to share his life updates, get your opinions on his vegetable patch and delve into the protocol of inviting friends with children for dinner.
“I have to deal with things like fuse boxes and bin recycling days, all those things about adult life. And I'm in a relationship. So it has been all very grown up – things that I could put into a show. But also I lost a parent – and losing a parent has that effect on you, I think.”
Tom is the host of The Apprentice: You’re Fired and co-hosts Cooking With The Stars, Like Minded Friends podcast and he is also a regular on Bake Off: An Extra Slice and There’s Something About Movies.