GIBBSCOM Interview: Bob Saget talks career changes and the thing you don’t want to say in a movie

Bob Saget is nothing like the character he played in Half Baked. (Photo by Brian Friedman)

Bob Saget is nothing like the character he played in Half Baked. (Photo by Brian Friedman)

Some people would never recover from playing Danny Tanner. For eight years in the late 80s and early 90s, Bob Saget was the face of Full House. And along with Steven Keaton of Family Ties, Tony Micelli of Who’s the Boss and—ahem—Heathcliff Huxtable of the Cosby Show, Saget’s Tanner was the epitome of the American dad.

Saget’s contemporaries haven’t necessarily fared so well. And truth be told, Saget’s had his own troubles. But what he has been able to do is reinvent himself several times. The guy who played the earnest-to-a-fault neat freak once a week for nearly a decade is now, thanks to his standup routines, a take on a revolting joke known as “The Aristocrats” and a cameo on the HBO hit Entourage, widely known as a raunchy comic.

What follows is an interview with Saget before a scheduled show in Charlottesville, Va., in October 2016. The show never happened. Word is management got cold feet about the content of Saget’s act.

GIBBSCOM: People have taken to the idea you were always edgy behind the wholesome sitcom dad. So who’s the real Bob Saget?

Bob Saget: That’s a good question. My therapist has been helping me figure it out for a long time. Taking on a show like Full House was a risk—you know Bill Maher was offered the job and said “no thank you,” because he didn't want to go that route. But I love acting. I had recently had a baby and was fired from morning television, and I took the job.

I already had a whole upbringing in standup…it was kind of interesting that people thought I had hidden it and didn't know who I was at that point. It was like, they thought I didn't want to say anything that offends people.

GC: But you’re okay with offending people?

BS: Yeah, but now it’s not even that racy. People see shows like South Park, and they’re like, “oh, Bob’s not even dirty.” They think I’m going to be bluer when they come see my act.

Back then I guess I dropped more f-bombs than most, but that’s just the way I talk when I’m doing standup. My favorite comics—Louis CK or Chris Rock or Kevin Hart—are all tearing it up, and no one goes, “where did that come from?” It was just that I was perceived as this father figure.

GC: So do you prefer acting or standup?

BS: I just love performing. I go through phases. I’ve been acting quite a bit lately, too; I was in a play on Broadway, Hand to God, and I loved it. I was playing a pastor, and one night I took a cab out to the Comedy Cellar in New York and I kind of exploded and went off the deep end. I guess I was constrained by the character, but it was a wonderful constraint. It was like playing Danny Tanner. You want to bust out and do something different.

GC: So what are you working on now?

BS: I have a lot of new songs for a new special, and after the election I’m ready to go record it. It’s a rough time right now, and I’m into entertaining people. There’s no heavy political vibe in my work.

GC: And there’s the reprise of Danny Tanner on Fuller House, the Netflix sequel.

BS: What’s funny is that character has not gone a way. Fuller House is the number one show on Netflix. Being Danny Tanner again is kind of hilarious because I know the character so well. I know exactly what he would do. It was a two-dimensional show in many ways.

Jeff Franklin, Bob Boyett and Tom Miller are still producers of the show, and Jeff really wanted to do an homage but carry it on to the next generation. You’re watching something that reminds you of the old show, but it’s different. John [Stamos], Dave [Coulier], Lori [Loughlin] and I have three or four shows a season. It’s a special thing that we’re able to wink at the audience.

GC: The Olsen twins aren’t a part of it though?

BS: Ashley and Mary-Kate aren’t actors anymore. They don't act, and they love what they’re doing in the fashion business. I support them. They’re my friends. I love them to death.

Everyone sees reunions of casts, and sometimes you can see the people are really friends. If you do a movie with someone, you have that experience and you don't necessarily go hang with them. But a television series—this is like our family. I have been through so much with every single person on that show, and we’ve been there for each other.

GC: So who are your fans these days and what’s in your act?

BS: My audiences vary from 18 to 80. There are older people that are not offended by what I’m saying and younger people that are. It’s comedy—there are stories and jokes. I’m getting more poignant since I lost my mother. I talk about that in my new stuff, and it’s a good feeling, too. It brings a humanity out in the audience.

It’s a lot of new material. But some people want to hear the old stuff so they can be a part of it. They yell things out, things from [Half Baked]—“I suck dick for coke.” It’s not really something you want to say in a movie, but I enjoy the back and forth with the audience quite a bit—when people are nice and nobody is drunk.