Interview: Bob Saget to perform stand up this Friday at Riverside Casino

Stand up by Bob Saget

Riverside Casino — Friday, Oct 24, at 8 p.m.

Bob Saget heads to the Riverside Casino this Friday to perform his notoriously “dirty” stand-up act. The notoriety isn’t wholly deserved since, as anyone who has watched one of Saget’s comedy specials knows, his humor owes as much to being filthy as it does to being charmingly silly and absurd (i.e. if you’re looking for an hour-and-a-half long telling of “The Aristocrats” joke, you will be disappointed).

Saget's routine is anything but clean. -- photo by Natalie Brasington
“I am not this lascivious guy. I wish I could be, but I can’t because I’ve got actual morals,” Saget said. — photo by Natalie Brasington

Many have assumed the foul humor in Saget’s stand-up is just a means to subvert the clean-cut, telegenic image of himself broadcast to the world as Danny Tanner on Full House. But in reality, the crudeness of his comedy is all about staying true to his stand-up roots, a career he pursued well before his TGIF days.

In his early 20s, already a few years into his stand-up career, Saget gave up trying to do a clean act because it just didn’t seem honest to his own sense of humor. He opted for a style of comedy that wasn’t so much about being dirty as it was about free-associating and staying unfiltered, a style meant to put nothing off-limits.

Here’s how he puts it in his bestselling book, Dirty Daddy (coming out in paperback this month): “It’s why people go into a life of comedy in the first place. When you’re told not to do something, unfortunately, for some us, it is exactly what you do. No means no. But not to a comedian.”

Little Village recently spoke to Saget about his book, his appreciation for stand up, and why self-help guru Deepak Chopra should start using more dick jokes.

This summer you were performing comedy at the Pemberton Music Festival, and you did a surprise introduction for Snoop Dogg that was very well received. Have you accepted your status as a sort of icon among young people?

Oh yeah, totally. It’s just a fact. It is just how things happened. If you live long enough, it happens. Full House was a gigantic show that still runs for little kids now. Everyone tells me the same thing. Their kids just discovered the show and think it’s happening now.

I did Pemberton — it’s like the Cochella of Canada — and I went out to introduce Snoop Dogg, and I walk out there and there are ten thousand people. I just stood there for a moment, and let them all make in their pants. I let them recognize that it was me, and then I brought Snoop Dogg out.

Bob Saget and Snoop Dogg pose together. -- Photo courtesy of Pemberton Music Festival
Bob Saget and Snoop Dogg savor their time on stage together. — Photo courtesy of Pemberton Music Festival

How do you feel about having this reputation now for being a dirty comic?

It’s funny how people react. I was performing at the House of Blues in Las Vegas, and it was such a good show, such a good time. But people are coming up to me afterwards, and they’re going, ”Why aren’t you dirtier?”

They’ve seen things out of context, just a couple minutes of something here or there. That joke from the The Aristocrats. Anything where I drop an f-bomb. I am actually turning more and more into that a guy that’s ”Hey, you kids, slow down.”

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I am not this lascivious guy. I wish I could be, but I can’t because I’ve got actual morals. I am a single guy with three older daughters that I respect. It’s funny, because so much stuff is coming out about so many people who have screwed up. So many people are getting in trouble for things they did, and rightfully so. And my daughters are like, “Thank God you just do it on stage.”

If someone asks, “When is Bob going to flip?” Well, he did. Go to Netflix or iTunes. You can see me go nuts on Hulu right now.

My three daughters are the reason that I know I am a good dad. They’re so great. I’ll say to them, “How’s this joke?” They’ll say, “That’s funny.” And I’ll be like, “But it’s dirty, right?” And they go, “Who are you, Dad? Come on.” That’s the beauty of having smart people who also know that I put them through school with these jokes.

I really just enjoy being funny. And I love doing it. I love all aspect of entertaining people, and when people don’t dig it. It’s fine. They don’t need to know me. The people who do, they seem to be coming back. And I’m having a really nice time with them.

I don’t want to diminish it — “Oh, dick jokes and a couple songs.” It’s a full experience with people. I feel like I have a relationship with those people for that hour and a half.

You wrote a book, Dirty Daddy, that was published this spring. I found it interesting how you take this digressive, humorous tone in the book, something you see come through in some of your stand up, and apply it successfully to some pretty serious, depressing episodes from your life. In a way, you come across more sincere by veering off into humor.

Yeah. Without the humor, it just keeps you in that depression. And I am not made that way.

It’s funny, when I was traveling around, I would see it in the self-help section. Wow. Here’s Deepak Chopra on how to find your soul, and then here are nine stories about my testicles getting caught in the drawer.

I think I would read Deepak Chopra’s books if he had more dick jokes.

I sure would. I think he is talking about it anyway. He just doesn’t say it. He talks about inner-peace. It depends on how you spell it.

In the book, you discuss how your dad had the same comic sensibility as you, finding humor in dark moments, but not with any cruel intent. There was an honesty and compassion behind it.

With my dad, whenever we would have anything difficult, there was just his funny smirk, and it wasn’t done sarcastically. It wasn’t done sarcastically at all. He was so sensitive that if he didn’t make a joke, he would fall apart.

And all of his brothers died, and they were younger than him, and he buried them all. Well, he didn’t do it himself. There were people who helped. They had people with shovels. He didn’t just bury people. That would just make him…something would be wrong with him, if he was just burying his brothers.

At funerals, people say, “How am I going to get through this,” and his attitude would be, “Well, we got good lunch meat back at the house.” And it’s simple, and you’d laugh out of breaking the moment. A lot of laughter is just breaking that hard moment.

He was just a very kind man.

In your book, you discuss your stand-up career, one that began at age 17, and the several years you spent performing in comedy clubs. With your stand-up these days, you seem to be doing a lot of theatre shows. Do you still perform at comedy clubs?

In L.A., I’ll just drift in at the Laugh Factory, the Comedy Store, the Improv. I’ll just go if I have a need. If I have ten minutes, I’ll go to figure out what to do with it.

It is funny in that it is not like a trade where you go, “Hey, I am going to go do this tonight. I got to get ready.” It is not like a writer or a painter… I need some people. I need to talk to the people. And they tell you if something is good or not.

After it is over, even it doesn’t set the world on fire. You’re still going, “Thank you, people.” They are helping you work on something where you find out where they’re at on it. That’s what I love about stand-up. It is in the moment. It’s a complete collaboration.

It has been reported that you aren’t going to take part in the new Full House program that is supposed to be in the works. Is that correct?

Nobody knows anything. It is so funny, because people keep asking me, and I don’t have an answer. They wanted to do a thing. They might do a thing. I’m not the guy to talk to about it because I am not really involved.

It’s got Candice [Cameron Bure], Jody [Sweetin], and Andrea [Barber] as grown-up versions of their characters. It could be great. I’d do anything to support them. I’d tell people to watch it.
But I am not waking up in the morning going, “I am going to be Danny Tanner again!”

I don’t think being on a sitcom…me sitting in a chair in a cardigan, and telling people I’ll dust bust for quarters. That’s not what you’re going to see happen to me in my life.