A hip music festival isn’t complete without a 58-year-old star of ’80s squeaky-clean television, is it? That’s what the kids are into these days.
As crazy as that sounds, it’s true. Bob Saget, of Full House and America’s Funniest Home Videos infamy, has finally emerged from the suckery of his past with a filthier take on an already filthy joke in The Aristocrats, a jerkier version of himself on the HBO series Entourage, and his own 2014 Grammy-nominated standup album That’s What I’m Talkin’ About.
Saget is one of 13 name comedy acts headlining this year’s Pemberton Music Festival, along with Norm Macdonald, Doug Benson, Jim Breuer, Lisa Lampanelli, Nick Swardson, Natasha Leggero, Jay Pharoah, Kyle Dunnigan, Brian Scolaro, Brian Posehn, Tom Green, and the Trailer Park Boys. Even some comedy festivals don’t have a lineup that strong.
While he’s gaining a reputation for his guttermouth, Saget claims he’s a reluctant grosser-outer.
“I mean, I can out-gross anybody, but I actually don’t enjoy it,” he insists from his car in Los Angeles. “Even if you look at The Aristocrats, that was against my will. The most heinous things I said were just because Penn and Paul [directors Jillette and Provenza] were forcing me to do it.” He pauses. “But I did it. I’m culpable!”
While his Full House castmate Dave Coulier makes a living now doing clean comedy, Saget says don’t be fooled by what you see on-stage.
“It’s so funny,” he says. “I was just at Dave Coulier’s wedding and I was saying, ‘You know, Dave is so much dirtier than I am but nobody knows it.’ I’m so embarrassed at the stuff he says off-stage. I say them on-stage.”
It was a bit of a Full House reunion at the nuptials, minus the Olsen twins, but Saget doesn’t believe that’ll be a prelude to a televised get-together. “It was shocking how much I loved it,” he says. “But I would think that would be it. Unless more people get married.”
Saget’s no stranger to big music fests. He’s done a few over the years, including Bonnaroo, and loves them. There are pitfalls as a performer, but he’s come to accept them.
“As a pro, you know that some people [in the audience] are going to be not mentally there because they’re partying,” he says. “You kind of don’t pay any mind to the people that don’t have any mind to pay and don’t get mad at them. As a young comic, you would be scared you’re not doing well.”
When Saget saw the musical roster at Pemberton, he was excited. “It’s probably the best lineup they’ve ever had. If you don’t like hip-hop, you go to the Nine Inch Nails.”
Saget knows where he’s going. “I gotta go see Snoop,” he said. “I’m on the same night as Snoop, so if I don’t get a selfie, I haven’t been doing my work.”
He says he has varied musical tastes, from classic rock to hip-hop. A couple of weeks ago, he and his friend Ben Folds performed a Snoop–Dr. Dre classic at a benefit for scleroderma research. “A 6-foot-4 craning Jewish guy that was on a kid’s show holding his cellphone reading the chorus to ‘Bitches Ain’t Shit’ is not the most endearing thing you could see.”
Saget’s famous rapid-fire delivery has slowed down somewhat in recent years. Writing the memoir Dirty Daddy, which came out in April, is part of the reason. It made him go deeper than he ever went with standup, which bled over to his act. Also, therapy helped. But more than anything, it was self-image. “I have slowed down because if I didn’t, what would I be doing? I’m 58. As I turn 60, I don’t want to see some neurotic, hyper guy on-stage.”
He feels more comfortable in his own skin these days. “I get to be more who I am because I’m older now. And I don’t feel like I’m auditioning anymore, you know?” he says. “I got the job. And they’re coming to see me.”
His act consists of his patented stream-of-consciousness riffs, jokes on his two-sided image, pop culture, and songs. He’s such a hit, the audience usually joins in.
“If I can get how many thousands of people at Pemberton to sing along with me to ‘My Dog Licked My Balls’,” he says, “I’ve really accomplished something.”
Bob Saget appears next Saturday (July 19) at the Pemberton Music Festival.