While Bob Saget may be irrevocably linked to his clean-cut image playing the character of Danny Tanner on the sitcom “Full House” and as host of “America’s Funniest Home Videos,” the veteran comedian has a much broader spectrum and depth to his work, ranging from raunchy stand-up gigs and serious stage roles to directing and participating in a variety of charitable causes.
Saget, who comes to the city on Friday for a show at the Regency Ballroom, says he finds it odd that some fans still can’t seem to differentiate between fictional characters and the actors that play them—and that his stand-up routine is about as far away from “Full House” as it can be.
“It’s always funny to me that they think that people on sitcoms act like [their characters]; there was a girl in the 80s on a show called ‘Small Wonder’ and she was a robot girl—so I wonder if people ask if she’s really a robot?” Saget says over the phone from Los Angeles.
“Anthony Hopkins is an actor that plays Hannibal Lecter; he doesn’t actually eat people. And the people on Walking Dead are not really zombies either,” he says.
However, It’s not as though Saget isn’t appreciative for what his more famous roles have provided him over the years.
“It’s a gift,” he says. “I had lunch with Dave Coulier yesterday and was texting with John Stamos this morning; we all know how insanely popular the show is even now.”
Back in 2007 when Conan O’Brien came to San Francisco to tape a weeks’ worth of programs, the late night talk show host invited Saget to come film a parody of the opening credits of “Full House,” to great comedic effect.
“I had never even seen the Full House house, I didn’t know where it was; it was a very funny segment,” says Saget.
For those who might be unfamiliar with Saget’s output since the end of Full House and America’s Funniest Home Videos, he has earned a rightfully deserved reputation as one of the funniest—and filthiest—stand-up comedians around.
His latest TV special, “That’s What I’m Talking About,” aired on Showtime last month and will be out on DVD in July. When talking about where he goes for inspiration for his material, Saget turns to the darker side of things.
“Everything that’s funny to me is based on how sad some people are in this society,” he says. “There are so many great people, so many smart people, but there’s not a lot of humor in that, when you look at somebody that’s changing the world or doing something amazing, or saving somebody, it’s hard to find jokes there. Observational comedy, which I love the most, comes from looking at how screwed up things are.”
With a long history of coming to San Francisco, Saget is particularly excited to be kicking off his summer tour here at the Regency Ballroom on June 7.
“I used to do the San Francisco clubs a lot,” he says. “I was one of the first comics at Cobb’s when it was on Chestnut street and then at the Cannery, and I used to play the Punchline and the Other Café; San Francisco has always been one of my favorite towns. I’m really excited, it’s significant to me, because it’s one of the best comedy cities that exist, and I know it will be a very, very fun show.”
Though he has a lot of great memories of performing in the city, there was one time that almost ended very badly.
“I was on stage on Cobb’s when it was in the Cannery and there was no security. A guy rushed the stage and got me in a headlock—I got the mic and I tried to shove it up his ass, and then he ran away. It was scary—that’s why I like to play places where nobody can get me in a headlock now,” Saget deadpans.
In addition to his comedic work, Saget also puts a great deal of effort into charitable causes he supports.
“I’m on the board of the Scleroderma Research Foundation, which is very near and dear to me because I lost a sister to it; they’re based in San Francisco,” he says. “We’ve raised over $30 million for research over the past 25 years.”
The autoimmune disease, which basically means “hard skin,” and affects internal organs, took the life of his sister when she was only 47 years old. In 1996 Saget directed an ABC TV movie chronicling the disease and his sister’s fight called “For Hope.”
In addition to his stand-up tour, which will take him to the Bonnaroo Festival the week after appearing in San Francisco, Saget is also working on a book, which is due out at the beginning of next year.
Last week while gearing up for the Bay Area show, Saget posted a tweet that he has since questioned himself on—and has since deleted.
“I tweeted ‘Wake Up San Francisco,’ I’m coming to the Regency Ballroom,” which was a nod to his character Danny Tanner’s fictional morning TV show on “Full House.”
“Then I thought to myself, why the fuck did I write that for? What is wrong with me?!”
If You Go:
Bob Saget, David Feldman
Friday, June 7
9 p.m., $35-$52
The Regency Ballroom
1300 Van Ness, San Francisco
Photo by Stephen Seebeck