Monday, January 14, 2008


Bob Saget is an Old, Dirty Bastard (Who Knew?)

By Carl Kozlowski

As one of the dads on the long-running ABC sitcom Full House, Bob Saget found himself trapped for 9 years in a hell of milquetoast characters and endlessly recycled family crises. Compounding the agony was his other weekly gig as the host of America's Funniest Home Videos, reciting horrible jokes accompanying an endless stream of people falling down and taking hits to the crotch.
Basically, if you asked anyone over age 10 back in the early 90s what they thought of Bob Saget, at best they'd respond that he was lame.
But there was always a much hipper, funnier, and downright dirtier comic just dying to get out. Saget cashed the TV checks but yearned for the day he could perform uncensored again. He was the wicked mind who directed Norm McDonald's cult classic comedy Dirty Work, and in an infamous cameo in the stoner favorite Half Baked, he joked "I suck dick for crack." Star comics with far more hipster cred than Saget could ever dream of possessing gave him props as the most brilliantly dirty mind of them all, but no one in the power suites of Hollywood or the streets of Middle America would ever believe it.
Now the evidence is readily available on movie screens across America. For Bob Saget tops nearly 100 of our greatest comic minds, including George Carlin and Robin Williams, by telling the dirtiest version of the dirtiest joke ever told in the new documentary, The Aristocrats. As the movie's ads trumpet, the film is unrated because it would have received the commercially suicidal rating of NC-17 for having "No violence. No nudity. Unspeakable obscenity!"
And Saget's taking the newfound notoriety all the way to the bank again, performing most Friday nights at L.A.'s top comedy club, The Laugh Factory, to wild response and taking his show on the road to shocked college and theater audiences nationwide.
"I'm actually almost ashamed of how dirty I got. I guess people are talking about it, but then they also talk about the guy who shoots people," jokes Saget, who also just finished an acclaimed off-Broadway run in the new play Privilege. "In two years I'll be G-rated again because so much of what I do is R-rated. I was just in Athens Georgia for 700 people, and they added another show because the line was like a rock concert. Marquee said 'Second Show Added To Full House.' I guess I'll never really escape it."
Saget started his odd career journey at the age of 17, after graduating high school in his native Philadelphia and appearing in his college friends' student movies. He took the train to New York City as often as possible and quickly made a great impression on the standup scene, landing comedy powerhouse Chris Albright as his manager before Albright went on to head comedy programming at HBO.
While Saget's early shows were more innocent than his current nirvana of naughtiness, centering around such gags as having his guitar spew water while he sang "While My Guitar Gently Weeps," he always had a dark sense of humor. That bizarre bent came from numerous family tragedies, as Saget lost two sisters and his dad lost four brothers to untimely deaths.
Saget rode his stage persona to the nine-year run of "Full House" and the massive success of "Home Videos," but for ten years that meant he abandoned live comedy. When the shows ended and Saget realized his directing career wasn't catching fire, he decided to hit the road again.
"It was a real proud moment to say 'I suck dick for coke' in 'Half Baked,'" Saget recalls with more than a trace of sarcasm. "But somehow Harvard decided to honor me as a member of their humor magazine the Harvard Lampoon, a year after they honored [acclaimed playwright] David Mamet! They actually put together a 2 ½ hour show honoring me, and I realized there must be a market for me at colleges again."
As Saget notes, getting back into a good comic rhythm is not as easy as riding a bike. Nonetheless, he poured out effort and soon found his act was better received than ever before, as he decided to say literally anything that came to mind. Sure, it might be a shock to see Danny Tanner from Full House lobbing F-bombs, but after the initial ten seconds of gasps, audiences can't help laughing.
His return to the stage has led to a flurry of other work that never seemed possible during his G-rated Full House days. For instance, Saget lampooned his squeaky-clean image brilliantly in a recent episode of HBO's show Entourage, allowed his house to get driven into for the WB network's Jamie Kennedy Experiment, and just finished an acclaimed dramatic turn on Showtime's series Huff. Best of all was his run in Privilege, which gave him a newfound confidence in his abilities.
"I wish I wasn't so dirty in this movie, but everyone's talking about it. Then again, they talk about you if you shoot a guy," he notes wryly. "I actually don't understand what the big deal is, I haven't changed that much, just gotten older. I'm not X-rated at all, I do no gynecological material. I do sex jokes, some dick jokes and poop comedy. I talk about my kids and relationships, some news stuff. But people that know me, its no big deal because I haven't changed. I just always wanted to make people laugh as much as I could."

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