By Liquid Todd
It’s easy to talk to Bob Saget. He’s friendly, down-to-earth and unfailingly self-deprecating. It’s when you sit down later to try and transcribe the interview that you realize you’ve got your work cut out for you. The guy is a human run-on sentence. It’s just the way Saget’s mind works—as anyone who has ever seen him perform one of his raunchy, stream-of-consciousness live standup performances can attest. I chatted with Saget about me dropping my iPhone 4 in the toilet, his super-secret direct phone number to an Apple genius in Cupertino and the benefits of being famous when it comes to getting tables in crowded restaurants (for him) and getting your latrine-marinated iPhone 4 replaced for free (for me).
Bob Saget he will be appearing live on tour in “Portland, Seattle, San Diego, Minneapolis and Vagina,” according to his Twitter feed: @bobsaget.
Do you consider yourself a geek? Are you a technologically-savvy guy?
No, I’m a geek, but I’m not technologically . . . I’m a wannabe. I’m an athletic wannabe too. I’m working on my four-pack, but I’m doin‘ Pilates and stuff and I really like it, but I’ll fall down. I’ll just like bump into stuff. I was on vacation and I fell into a Jacuzzi on the first day. It’s like funny . . . but it’s not really funny. It’s all shit that I’ve done my whole life. I could have made my own video show of just me falling.
How would you describe your work ethic? Are you a worker?
Yeah, I’m a worker. It takes me a few days to learn how to . . . vacate. And I’m lucky that I’m able to do it, but I went away and had a vacation and it took me a couple days to get there and a couple days to get back. And, really, I’m happy when I’m working.
I’m working on this new hour—which I’ve been working on for a couple of years. And I’m getting ready to put it up and do a special with it, and I’m excited to go to The Orleans [Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas] because I played there about a year and a half ago and it’s a great room. So I’ve got a couple months of touring, and it just really gives me wood.
Tell me more about this “hour” you’ve been working on for a couple years.
It’s a rolling of the stuff I’ve always talked about ’cause I’m a guy that talks about personal life experience, which would be—you know—relationships and kids and . . . um . . . eating people and my mother. And I’ve got a lot of my father’s stuff coming back to me which is why my sense of humor—in a shrink-ery kind of way—is sometimes as demented as it is. Because he was telling me things at 11 and 12 years old that people shouldn’t tell anyone. Ever.
Your dad had a big influence on your work, correct?
Yeah. Very strange guy. He was a big meat executive with a supermarket chain so everything had to do with . . . deboning. And he would take that to a dark place.
(laughing). It would always have something to do with filth. I don’t know why and it wasn’t done in a pervy way, but he always had a smirk. And he had a little pencil-thin mustache like Errol Flynn. He had a creepiness about him.
What about your mother. Did she give you guys a hard time about it?
Yeah, she always told me not to say stuff. And my aunt saw my last HBO special and was offended by it, but they saw the same show when I performed in Florida and they enjoyed it because they got comp tickets and free drinks.
(Laughing) That’s all it comes down to?
My mom now is, like, “Oh, I’m fine with it, Bobby,” And I’ll do something and I’ll say, “Mom, this is really dirty.” And she’s, like, “Oh, it’s okay. I love your comedy.” And then she’ll watch it. And I don’t know what happened, but I just haven’t been cursing as much. I’m not arbitrarily throwing out F-bombs as much. Because . . . I don’t know. I’m still pretty weird.
So, she doesn’t care how raunchy you get just as long as you don’t say “f@*k”?
Right. Basically you can go anywhere as long as you’re not saying “f@*k.” And I’ve never really thrown the C-word around because I don’t really enjoy it.
That’s a hard word that you only want to use when you really, really mean it.
Yeah, and things don’t end well when you use it.
Like you get punched in the face or kicked in the nuts.
Especially when you put the word “You” in front of it.
Talking about mothers always makes me go back to Woody Allen. I hear you’re a big fan.
Crazy . . . you know how you stop listening to the Beatles for a few years because you’ve just had enough ’cause you OD’d or whatever. With Woody it’s like I’m just . . . anytime it’s on. And with all the independent film channels I’m just hitting it up constantly. I was watching Broadway Danny Rose the other night.
I love in Manhattan where his estranged lesbian ex-wife (played by Meryl Streep) is telling him that studies now show that kids grow up fine with two mothers and that they don’t even really need a dad, and he says something like, “Really, because I find most people barely survive one mother.”
(Laughs) Yeah right. “I don’t mean to be pedantic and facetious.” Have you seen the documentary on him? Wild Man Blues?
You know I’ve never seen the whole thing. But Manhattan and Annie Hall are two of my favorite films ever. They’re in their own class.
They’re perfect. Annie Hall is a perfect comedy.
So this hour comedy show—is it going to be on television? HBO maybe?
Oh, I can’t tell you. I’d have to kill you. No, seriously the deal’s not closed yet.
Speaking of HBO I really loved your appearances on Entourage.
Yeah, that was a fun show to do.
What about the version of you on that show . . . that’s not really you is it?
No. There’re moments where I’m like that a little bit. I have walked around the house in a robe with a cigar and not shaved for days, but the real me falls in the Jacuzzi at the end.
Did you ever see the Seth Green episodes on Entourage?
I’m trying to remember. I’m sure I did.
Because he played a really kind of super asshole version of himself (at least I hope he did) and Entourage is really unique in the way its super-current and it mixes the reality and the fantasy so seamlessly. I was just wondering if you worried at all that the playboy version of yourself on that show would negatively color people’s opinions about you.
Actually it’s funny because people always ask me, “Oh, when you did The Aristocrats were you concerned that you were going to destroy yourself?”
Yup. That was actually my next question.
It’s funny. I was more concerned when I did Full House and the video show [America’s Funniest Home Videos], and I fell into this amazing success which was really great—to be on such nice, sweet commercial shows—that I would damage myself to be able to do the edgier stuff that I found really funny.
So it’s totally the reverse of what most people would think.
Absolutely. Totally the reverse. And yet I did sit with my manager at the time and watch The Aristocrats in a conference room at the management company and went, “Should we sign this release?”
Your version was unbelievably filthy and therefore really great.
Thanks, but it was about the worst things you can say.
But that’s the point, wasn’t it?
That was the point. And I wasn’t—you know—gutting a chicken in front of people or anything.
It was just . . . words.
It’s like, “Nobody is here. It’s just you and me. And we’re just going to say bad shit. We’re gonna say the worst version of it that we can. And that’s it. And you don’t have to like it and it doesn’t matter but this is what makes some people laugh.” And I was watching Lenny the other night on TV. And just, historically, the shit that Lenny Bruce went through . . .
. . . for saying stuff that would be considered super mild by today’s standards.
And now you watch Family Guy and there’s a cartoon baby talking about wrecking his mother’s vagina on his way out.
There are plenty of anal sex references on animated shows right now and have [been] for 10 years, and what Lenny Bruce was doing—and what Richard Pryor was able to do—not easily, but the futility of not being able to have freedom of speech and the beauty of what that movie was and the tragedy of what Lenny Bruce was.
It seems so silly and pointless what they put that guy through.
But he paved the way for me to go on stage at The Orleans and do my dick jokes. And I would like to be saying more relevant things sometimes, and I would like to grow more and I am and I know I am, but I would like to reserve religious and political monology to people like Bill Maher or Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. I look at them and I go, “You’re so damn good.” I relish that viewpoint and I relish what I do. It’s silly, fun and—I’m proud to say—funny entertainment.
I’m sure you’ve told this story a billion times, but I gotta ask you how you landed the role of Danny Tanner on Full House.
I was on a show called The Morning Program on CBS. I got the job as a sidekick so I was kind of like the third host. And they fired me because they said I was too hot for morning television. One morning the host asked me if I was a type-A person. And I said, “Yes, but I’m working on my A-ness [pronounced “anus”].” So they sent me to my room. Anyway, they had already shot the pilot for Full House, but they re-shot it with me because I had become available and they put me in the show. And it was shaky. We didn’t know if it was going to stay on the air, but after a year it started getting ratings and they asked me if I wanted to host this blooper show with people falling down and I said, “Sure I’ll host that.” Then it beat a 60 Minutes re-run and so I got the job on the video show [America’s Funniest Home Videos]. So, those were accidents.
No, they weren’t. You got those gigs because you said “anus” on morning network television.
That’s true. That’s the key. My irreverence eventually does pay off.
Let’s talk about your standup. You do an almost manic, stream-of-consciousness performance, and when I watch you on stage it looks like you’re up there operating without a net, and I find myself wondering how much of it you are just making up on the spot.
A lot it—yeah. But all of it is—in some form or another—on my iPhone. [We both laugh] Before I go on I’ll be running around like a little caged animal looking at it. I’ll walk around the stage in the back in the dark and I’ll just feel the back of the house. Just do what a lot of performers do. Okay, I’m in my living room. These people are here. I’m happy they’re here and they’re happy I’m here. There’s nothing to f@*k up—just have fun.
Bob Saget at Orleans Hotel and Casino, 4500 W. Tropicana Ave., Las Vegas, Nev., (702) 365-7111, (800) 675-3267; www.orleanscasino.com. Fri-Sat, Jan. 27-28. 8pm. From $39.95 plus tax and fees.