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August 02, 2007 - Image 33

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2007-08-02

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Arts & Entertainment

Passion For •


Showing his R-rated side
on stage, it's full houses
for former sitcom dad.

Bill Carroll
Special to the Jewish News


or a professional comedian, Bob
Saget has had a lot of drama in
his life.
His family moved around a lot when he
was young; he suffered a life-threatening
burst appendix; he went though a divorce;
his two sisters died. And he faced hav-
ing to forge a comedy comeback in edgy
standup after a successful early televi-
sion career in family-focused series. But
through it all, he's prided himself on being
a devoted Jewish father and son.
Now, while regularly acting, writing,
directing, producing and keeping his hand
in series TV, Saget also is pursuing his
main passion: standup comedy. He will
display his adult-themed, R-rated humor
7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 4, at the DTE Energy
Music Theatre when he appears with a
flock of other comics in Opie & Anthony's
Traveling Virus comedy tour, named after
the national XM satellite radio talk-show
personalities Gregg (Opie) Hughes and
Anthony Cumia. The duo can be heard 6
a.m.- noon weekdays on XM Channel 202
and on local WKRK-FM, Live 97.1.
Saget's standup is quite a departure
from the clean-cut image he displayed
as Danny Tanner on the popular, fam-
ily-friendly Full House sitcom, which
ran 1987-1995, and as host of America's
Funniest Home Videos, which ran 1989-
1997, both on ABC.
While resuscitating his standup career,
he gained newfound notoriety for his
particularly raunchy telling of the joke
that constituted the racy 2005 film The
Aristocrats. In the same vein, he received
kudos for his performance as a twisted
version of himself — a bong-toking, pros-
titute-chasing neighbor of fictional actor
Vincent Chase — on the second season of
HBO's hit series Entourage.

As a director, Saget made the cult classic
Dirty Work (1998) and, more recently, the
straight-to-DVD Farce of the Penguins, a
satirical take on the award-winning docu-
mentary March of the Penguins that dubs
lewd dialogue over nature footage.
The 6-foot-4 Saget, 51, a Philadelphia
native now living in Los Angeles, cur-
rently is on the road most of the year
— performing sold-out shows at col-
leges, theaters and comedy clubs. He also
narrates the CBS sitcom How I Met Your
Mother and hosts NBC's trivia game show
1 vs. 100. And his one-man TV special,
Bob Saget: That Ain't Right, will air 10 p.m.
Saturday, Aug. 25, on HBO.
But Saget is always home for every
birthday of his three daughters and he
visits his mother, Dolly Saget, 82, each
Sunday morning. The Jewish News caught
up with the actor-comedian in L.A.
between gigs.

JN: Not many entertainers are particu-
larly "into their religion" these days, but
it sounds like you are.
B.S.: I saved my bar mitzvah for
Philadelphia after our family returned
there from little Lexington, Va., where
there was hardly a Jewish community. We
moved around a lot because my father,
Ben, was an executive for a large eastern
grocery chain and we were pretty obser-
vant. All my daughters had a bat mitzvah.
I'm now a California Reconstructionist Jew.

JN: How did you start in show business?
Did your parents want you to be a doc-
tor or a lawyer?
BS: No, they didn't — but I did. I planned
to enroll in pre-medicine at Temple
University. Then one of my high-school
teachers said I had creative potential for
a film career. I had dabbled around in
shooting 8 mm movies as a kid — I made
one called Beach Blanket Blintzes, where

Bob Saget: "I just like sick comedy ... how messed up we all are. There's humor in it."

everyone was devoured by sour cream.
I first did standup comedy before 300
elementary-school kids. My first pay-
ing job was for $50 at Pennsylvania's
Beaver College (now Arcadia University).
I became hooked on standup, but I really
paid my dues. I often waited in line eight
hours with other comedians to perform at
New York comedy clubs.

JN: Where did your career go from there?
BS: I graduated from Temple University
film school, continued doing standup and
made independent movies, like one called
Through Adam's Eyes, about a boy who has
reconstructive face surgery. I even won
some awards for producing and directing.
[But] standup became my first love, lead-
ing to the TV roles.

JN: But your life hasn't been all laughs.
Tell us about the serious side.
BS: I was sort of a cocky, overweight 22-
year-old until I had a gangrenous appen-
dix and almost died. Then I got over being
cocky and overweight.
My sister Andrea died at 34 of a brain
aneurysm. My other sister, Gay, died at
47 of scleroderma, which is a vascular
disease. I've become active in scleroderma
research and charities. I directed a TV
movie about her (1996's For Hope).
My father died at 89 last January and I
got the call at night just before I was to do
two standup shows in New York. I followed
the old show-business tradition of "the

show must go on." I couldn't get a flight
out until early morning anyway. I didn't
mention my father to the audience, but
they were my worst performances ever.

JN: Full House was really a popular
show and the Olsen twins, Mary-Kate
and Ashley, were only a year old when
you started playing their father. Do you
keep in touch with them and how are
they doing?
BS: Yes, I hear from them often. It was sort
of ironic, but they were in the New York
City area when my father died. They heard
about it and came right over to be with
me. They're both doing OK; don't believe
everything you read in the tabloids.

JN: Actor John Stamos also was on that
show. Do you still see him?
BS: Sure, we're good friends. He and I
attended a wedding of mutual friends in
Greece in June.

JN: Do you get into topical subjects in
your act, like politics and the Iraq War?
BS: I try to stick to observational humor
and talk about divorce, dating, being a
single dad and so forth. But I support
stem-cell research, and I'm a strong envi-
ronmentalist. Politics has no place on the

Standup on page 41

August 2 = 2007


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