Allen credits his sobriety (he's going on 14 years) with helping him move closer to people and feel more grounded. He now freely follows his passions, and he has a ton of them. Allen golfs, collects and tinkers with vintage cars, engineers high-tech gadgets and once wrote a book that discussed quantum physics (the best-selling I'm Not Really Here). He's also a deeply spiritual person who reads widely across religious disciplines and goes to church most Sundays. "Tim's almost a throwback as far as being a man of infinite passions and pursuits," observes radio personality Rick Dees, Allen's friend and golf partner of 20 years. "There's none of that Hollywood tinsel with him. He's a person who genuinely cares about the world and the people around him."
The actor just sees it as being engaged in life. "Most human beings are disengaged all day, every day," Allen says, stretching out on a couch. "You're doing one thing, but you're thinking about your dry cleaning or 'I've got this on Friday.' I suggest it to everybody, to engage as much as you can in life. It takes energy. God knows I'm not the Dalai Lama, but if you're not careful and don't find your center point, you end up sorta drifting through life sideways."
Timothy Alan Dick, the third of six children (five of them boys) born to Martha and Gerald Dick, grew up in Denver at a time when kids played with cap guns and pocket knives and nobody called the police. Those days are long gone, as Allen has been telling sold-out crowds in Las Vegas, where he's headlining at The Venetian through the beginning of November. "Everything disagreeable is now against the law," he gripes. "Real firecrackers, toys with sharp edges .… You can't ride a bike without a bike helmet. Every generation is weaker than the last. Kids think they have it tough? My granny had it tough. She didn't have oxygen when she was young!"