National Prayer Breakfast, two-time featured performer
Appearances on Comedy Central, Premium Blend; Showtime; VH1, Stand-Up Spotlight; Grand Ole’ Opry, regular guest
Performed for the troops in Bahrain and on ships in the Persian Gulf and the Indian Ocean
CBN.com A Not-So-Funny Beginning
Jeff Allen is the best at what he does – making people laugh as hard as humanly possible. His Happy Wife, Happy Life message of a marriage gone wrong and then redeemed has brought laughter and encouragement to hundreds of thousands of people. Jeff’s comedy drives home the humor in everyday family life and the joy derived from a healthy marriage.
But Jeff’s own story was not always funny. It’s hard to believe the Jeff who works the Estes Park Christian Seminar in the Rockies is the same Jeff who used to get mail addressed to "Mr. Psycho." Jeff was not a happy, well-adjusted Christian comedian. He used to be an insane, drunk rejected by the dark side of hell. In 1978, Jeff had to get plastered to work up the nerve to try his first open mic night. After Arsenio Hall got him his first paying job, the fuse was lit and Jeff took off like a rocket… for the top and the bottom.
Feeding his alcohol addiction with drugs and vice versa, Jeff experienced a 10-year roller coaster ride that landed his career straight into the ditch. Working America’s top comedy clubs 46 weeks a year, blowing every paycheck, sleeping on floors, and stealing neighbor’s soda bottles for money, Jeff spiraled downward in a haze of cocaine and alcohol.
There were bright spots, but not many. In Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, he met a club waitress, fell in love, and, amazingly, convinced her he was a great catch. Jeff married Tami, Jeff explains, "by giving her the illusion I was a respectable adult. On paper, I sure looked good. I had a phone and an apartment in Los Angeles, and my car was paid for. The truth was, I was sleeping on a mattress on the floor, the telephone was in someone else’s name, and the car was a ’67 Volkswagen bug I’d bought for $300. I completely defrauded this woman into marrying me."
Drinking and drugs slowly blew Jeff's career apart, and the low point came when, desperate to feed his family, he couldn’t even get a job delivering pizzas.
After years of rage, sadness, and pain, he and Tami decided to call it quits. With divorce papers signed, they were 10 minutes from the courthouse when Tami said, “I don’t know why, but I need to re-think this. Let’s go home and try again." Jeff was sleeping in the guestroom.
With two children and barely any career left, Jeff hit rock bottom. He turned to AA where he dried out with the help of an atheist accountability partner.
Then a miracle of sorts began to unfold through generous help from a total stranger. Jeff was on a path that would lead to comfort in God.
The Golf Missionary
This “total stranger” was a millionaire businessman and would-be comic. According to Jeff, the guy was doing comedy for $100 a night when they met. Jeff told his agent, “I want to work with that guy.” His agent couldn’t understand why Jeff would want to be around this guy.
What Jeff saw was a guy who loved golf and could afford to play on all the best courses. Jeff was obsessed with golf, and besides, maybe a millionaire could show Jeff how to make some real money and hold onto it. So on and off the golf course Jeff would ask questions about business, finance, and life. The businessman’s answers were always impressive and wise. Jeff would ask what book he got his information from or where he learned things. Invariably, the man would tell him the information came from one source, the Bible. Jeff assured his friend that he didn’t believe anything in the Bible. His friend asked if Jeff had ever read any of the Bible. “Of course not,” was his reply, “I’m an atheist!” His friend said, “If you haven’t read the Bible, you’re not an atheist, you’re a moron!” This friend sent Jeff a Bible and various teaching tapes. Jeff just tossed them in a drawer, never listening to one of them and never opening the Bible.
Words of Solomon Ring True
At an absolute low, with Tami taking their two boys to spend the summer away from him, Jeff picked up one of the tapes that had been accumulating. After what he says was a 13-year search, he heard the words of Solomon and they resonated in his situation. “Meaningless, meaningless, everything is meaningless.” He dug out the Bible his friend had sent. Here was a guy (Solomon) who understood. Here’s what Jeff was looking for: Purpose and meaning. He says his obsessive addictive behavior caused him to put in tape after tape, devouring the truths taught there.
When Jeff talks about the power of this man’s discipleship, he says it was not what he sent to Jeff. In fact, the man never even asked Jeff if he read or listened to the materials. He would just call and ask how Jeff and Tami were doing. And Jeff says every phone called ended with the same assurance that the man and his wife were praying for Jeff and his family. No pressure, no pitch. The man just supported Jeff and left timing and change up to God. Jeff says during this period alone, as he read and listened to the materials, there were times he wanted to run out into his yard and wave the Bible yelling, “Hey, have you read this stuff? It’s great!” His life was being transformed as he believed the Bible and called out to Jesus for salvation.
At Peace With Himself
Jeff says, “The single greatest gift I get from my relationship with Jesus is peace. For the first time in my life, I am at peace in my own skin. From that peace, I am able to do what I love to do, make people laugh. I’ve been a comic for 20-plus years, and right now I’m having the time of my life. It is true that life does begin at 40."
At the Christmas season, Jeff is focused on forgiveness. “After all, isn’t that what Jesus really came for anyway? Isn’t that what we should celebrate?” Forgiveness matters to Jeff because he feels and sees the benefit of it in himself and his family. But he also sees the damage unforgiveness can bring to a family. Two of Jeff’s relatives remain estranged after many years because of unforgiveness, and that breach is a prayer issue for him.
Jeff’s been doing comedy for two decades now and his work has been seen on every cable comedy show in the U.S., including Comedy Central’s Premium Blend and VH1’s Stand-Up Spotlight. His one-hour special Happy Wife, Happy Life aired on the Odyssey Channel and Family Net. He’s a regular on the Grand Ole' Opry and was a featured comedian at the 1998 U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen and the Montreal Just for Laughs International Comedy Festival 2000, the biggest laugh riot on the planet.
He’s a comedian who can "kill ‘em" at a casino in Vegas and then bring down the house at the Baptist Youth Missionary Board -- doing the exact same act. He says, "Funny is funny. What makes people laugh works anywhere. I don’t change a word."
The words of his act may not change, but what has changed radically is the man who delivers them. Jeff says, “I’m a happy guy.”
A caring friend will be there to pray with you in your time of need.