For eight seasons, Bob Saget played Danny Tanner on the execrable and ubiquitous Full House. Then he spent the following 21 years trying to get as far away from that character as possible. A turn in the 2005 documentary The Aristocrats, where he gives one of the filthiest interpretations of the filthiest street joke known to man, helped the public see him in a new light.
He always performed standup, even throughout his years starring on the sitcom and hosting America’s Funniest Home Videos and directing various films and television movies. But it’s only been for about 10 years that the general public has known him for who he really is, not the character he played on TV.
Enough time has gone by that he felt comfortable reprising his role as the widowed dad to three girls. He and castmates John Stamos, Dave Coulier, and Lori Loughlin are back as recurring characters on Netflix’s Fuller House (two episodes in Season 1 and three in Season 2 for Saget).
“It’s like Sigourney Weaver opens up a chamber and we all climb out of it after a thousand years and all of a sudden we’re on the set,” he tells the Straight from his home in Los Angeles. “It’s so funny to still be able to play that character in the middle of doing all my irreverent stuff.”
It’s not that Saget hated playing Tanner back in the day; it was more the reaction to his role that got to him.
“Even throughout it,” he says, “I was dealing with the devils of playing goody two-shoes and people perceiving me as one. But I still loved doing the show. I just wanted to be able to have other sides to me rather than people going, ‘Oh my God, you’re Danny Tanner!’ Once you play a certain character, that’s who people think you are. But if you have a movie career where you play a murderer in one and you’re joyful in another, then people see it differently.”
Don’t expect that character to appear when he performs two nights in the Lower Mainland this week. Then again, don’t expect the unrelenting and slapdash obscenity of his earlier standup, either. He’s found a nice middle ground lately.
“I’m more conversational, I think, than I’ve ever been because I’m older. I talk about even the loss of my mother. So it’s not as blatantly non sequiturs all over the place,” he says. “I think the thing you learn the most, especially the older you get, is that the funniest stuff comes from the most truthful stuff. It can also be the most biting.”
The best-selling author (2014’s Dirty Daddy) has also brought music back into his standup, making him a Grammy-nominated musician of sorts, since half of his Grammy-nominated album, That’s What I’m Talking About, is music. “I have a lot of comedy songs that I do and that the audience sings along to even if they don’t know them, because they’re so stupid and easy that people learn them quickly,” he says.
He’s still having fun on-stage and on-screen. But live performances hold an edge. “Standup is a special thing. I always call it my hard drive; it’s always there.”
Bob Saget plays the River Rock Show Theatre in Richmond on Thursday (November 10) and the Molson Canadian Theatre at Hard Rock Casino Vancouver in Coquitlam on Friday (November 11).