As a raunchy standup provocateur and ’90s fan-favorite sitcom dad, Bob Saget has had one unlikely career. Star of the beloved show Full House and Netflix’s hit revival, Fuller House, which has begun taping its second season, Saget is also a Grammy Award-winning comedian and bestselling author who has recently performed in the successful Broadway play Hand to God. We sat down with Saget in anticipation of his July 8 standup performance at the Ridgefield Playhouse, to get a sense of the multitalented yet surprisingly grounded funnyman.
Were you always drawn to performance as a child? I was always trying to get attention. When I lived in Norfolk, Virginia, I’d take the ferry and do crazy stuff, like tap dance, on the trips. This was around 1960. At the time, I didn’t understand what segregation was, but I remember seeing separate bathrooms for whites and blacks, and I recall it bothering me tremendously. I’d always rebel against anything establishment that felt incorrect. I once asked Richard Pryor when he realized he was funny, and he said, “When I was four,” and that’s when I found out, too.
What were your early days in standup like? I started doing standup when I was 15 and making really bad movies. One was called Beach Blanket Blintzes, about a blintz that turned people into sour cream. I was pre-med before the comedy stuff really began for me. I worked hard, and nothing was handed to me. I’m self-made, and I have been doing it for more than 40 years.
What can audiences expect from your upcoming show? Ridgefield Playhouse really has good comedians. A lot of my favorite peers have played there. I actually played it about seven years ago, and I am very much looking forward to coming back. I have a lot of new stuff, since I am working on a standup special, so it is a lot of new songs and jokes. Even my friends can’t believe that I do comedy songs. My standup is bizarre. I make it like a town meeting. It is kind of like: “What’s going on with you guys?”
Who are your major comedic influences? When I was 17, I snuck into the Latin Casino, to watch Don Rickles open for Frank Sinatra, and in the years since, Don has become like a dad to me. I love him very much. Richard Pryor was always the king of the room, and his honesty was just astonishing. Rodney Dangerfield was also a good friend of mine, and I actually officiated his funeral. Robin [Williams] was part of my life because we always did benefits for the Scleroderma Research Foundation, as my sister died of scleroderma. I would say my standup style is a combination of them all.
What lies ahead for you? I will be doing three episodes in the next season of Fuller House. They have really maintained the integrity of the original while handing it over to the girls to make it their own. Also, we are getting our financing finished for a movie I will be directing and acting in called Jake. It is a very important project to me, one I have been attached to for four years, and it looks like it is finally coming to fruition. I am also working on a new show, which I can’t say much about now, but it will focus on all the different versions of me.