_It’s been 12 years since_ Full House _aired its final episode, and in that time, Bob Saget has built a reputation for being as sickeningly vulgar as Danny Tanner was sugary sweet (not to mention his family-friendly alter-ego on_ America’s Funniest Home Videos). _As a stand-up, Saget’s notoriously filthy act sells out venues across the country, and this August, he will have his own HBO comedy special,_ Bob Saget: That Ain’t Right. _As a director, he’s already made one cult classic (1998’s_ Dirty Work), _and his most recent film (the R-rated_ Farce of the Penguins) _features Samuel L. Jackson, Jon Lovitz and Whoopi Goldberg dubbing lewd dialogue over nature footage, and seems destined to play in frat houses forever. He also took a dramatic turn Off Broadway in Paul Weitz’s_ Privilege _and has since returned to primetime with the hit game show_ 1 vs. 100. _Still, perhaps Saget is most famous as the king of cameos. With only minutes of screen time, he’s stolen scenes from Dave Chappelle (as a strung-out druggie in_ Half Baked), _the cast of_ Entourage _(as a hyperbolically offensive version of himself) and every stand-up who appeared in_ The Aristocrats _(as the film’s most vomit-inducing teller of the classic joke)._
*Thanks for agreeing to talk to us. Have you even heard of the magazine?*
It’s good, I love it. You had me at â€˜heeb.’ How do you guys not go to jail? That’s the question. I’m so proud to be a Jew. I was a guest at Israel’s Ministry of Tourism when _America’s Funniest Home Videos_ was on the air. They picked me up on a camel with a sign that said, â€˜Israel Loves Bob Saget’ in giant magic marker. I showed pictures from the trip on _AFHV_ and _The Tonight Show_ and I got in a lot of trouble. One picture was of my mother sitting on a camel, and I said on air that my mother was really happy because she’d never had anything that big and hairy between her legs before. So my mother was not pleased. She’s not going to be pleased when she reads this either, but what are you going to do? She’s had a hard life, why not add to it? I’m a nice Jewish boy by design, but then I’m also this odd, fucked-up, dirty bastard guy. I have a great life, but it’s very strange, the double role.
*Why do you think people are such _Full House_ fanatics?*
There’s something about _Full House_ that hit this generation in a unique way. Playing Danny Tanner was like doing a commercial for eight years. He wasn’t a real person, but that’s what people liked about the show. It was a kinder, simpler time and here were three guys raising three girls in San Francisco. The other show that was popular at that time was _My Two Dads_ with Paul Reiser. I guess it’s a fantasy to be raised by nice guys. There were no moms in the Disney movies either. _The Little Mermaid_, _Beauty and the Beast_, none of those bitches had moms.
*While you were on the show, you also hosted _America’s Funniest Home Videos_, so you were really that wholesome guy full-time.*
It was as if another person took over my body for a while. I helped write all the [_America’s Funniest Home Videos_] shows and I did all the voice-overs. _America’s Funniest Home Videos_ was entirely scripted. I’m doing _1 vs. 100_ now—it’s a game show, but I like calling it a quiz show because then it sounds more like when Groucho Marx did You Bet Your Life!-and there’s no script. I really like doing the show because of that. If I see something funny that I want to talk about, I can. They usually have to cut out a lot of dirty stuff I say. But on _America’s Funniest Home Videos_, the producer wanted every word to be written out. If there was a shitty joke in the script, I took the bullet every time.
*How did you start your career?*
I started out wanting to be a director, a writer, a comic. I didn’t even really know I was going to be an actor. When I was 17, I started doing improv in New York City at Catch a Rising Star and I would just do music parodies. That’s all I did for years. I worked the Comedy Store in Los Angeles from 1978 to 1987 and then I was on a show called _The Morning Program_ on CBS for about six months. It was a big thing for me, I was on every day of the week. But they thought I was â€˜too hot’ for morning television and they fired me. I was in this Richard Pryor movie called _Critical Condition_ that year, too. I played a clean-cut doctor who did all the jobs that Richard’s character didn’t want to do himself, like put his hand up an old woman’s ass and stuff. I was a straight man, really, but I got to say â€˜fuck’ a bunch, so it was the best of both worlds. Then _Full House_ came along.
*What do you say to people who think your stand-up is so crass just so you can quash that saccharine image?*
I’m a different person at different times-about every seven years I tend to morph into someone else. I don’t like to be labeled, so as soon as someone goes, â€˜Oh you’re not clean-cut anymore, you’re dirty,’ I’m like, â€˜What? I’m going to join the rabbinical academy. I’ll show them!’ A lot of my stand-up is making a statement about how people perceive me. I like to say something absolutely horrific and then apologize for 30 seconds afterwards. That way it’s more than just a dick joke.
*You’ve done a few serious projects in your career too.*
About two years ago I did a play in New York, _Privilege_, that was a drama. Those were the best reviews I have ever gotten. And about 10 years ago, I directed a Lifetime TV movie called _For Hope_ based on what happened to my sister, Gay. She died of scleroderma 13 years ago. They didn’t know what they were doing back then, so she was basically a guinea pig. So much shit happens to so many people and that’s why I’ve been driven to comedy. I believe the best comedy comes out of fear of life, death, relationships, ridicule. Anne Frank was hilarious. When she was up there writing, she was honest, she was so funny. She would’ve been a great stand-up. But it would’ve been hard for her because an attic is a very small space for a stage.
*Ha. What are you working on now?*
This is a very interesting time for me. I just lost my dad. He let go of the curly cord at the mall. No, he was such an amazing guy. It takes you through a major life change. I’m looking at this year as a time when I can try some exciting things comedically and artistically. My dad, who was my hero, always found sick humor in the fact that everyone was dying all around him—he lost four brothers and a daughter. There was a time towards the end when he was on painkillers and he kept saying â€˜pans’ and â€˜canned goods’ over and over again. Everyone in comedy knows that hard Cs and Ps are funny, and there he is yelling â€˜pans’ and â€˜canned goods’ and laughing. At that moment I realized my dad was a genius.
*What filmmaker or comedian do you think is the best at turning tragedy into comedy?*
I don’t know who could be better than Woody Allen at making movies about the human condition. _Annie Hall_ has been remade over and over in truncated sitcom form; every single comedy writer in the business is trying to rewrite that movie. And now, at a time when something’s really wrong with the country, the _South Park_ movie is one of the funniest films ever made, in my opinion. It’s based on how insane the world has gotten. You know, I would like to see the Aristocrats, the act, audition for _American Idol_, go on the show and start doing each other. As horrific as that sounds, Simon would probably find something wrong with it and Paula would be like, â€˜But you’re both so cute!’ and Randy would be like, â€˜Oh come on, dawg, you’re fucking a dog, dawg.’
*Tell me about your movie _Farce of the Penguins_.*
All the footage came from archives of nature films. We made a movie out of thin air, basically. It’s an R-rated stoner movie, definitely not meant for everybody. It’s that shit that you were doing when you were 15 years old—only I was doing it as a 25-year-old stand-up comedian on the road. You’re sitting around and drinking or getting high, watching the nature channel and you just start doing the voices of all the animals. It’s inane and I made an entire movie out of it. People seem to dig it and it’s selling out everywhere. It’s a guerilla, crazy, fucked-up thing. I guess the movie could be seen as a sort of homage to _America’s Funniest Home Videos_. It’s selling more than THINKFilm and Lionsgate ever imagined it would. It’s an immature movie, but it’s not amateur. When you watch it, you’ll see that we had top-notch people doing editing and sound, and we had Lewis Black, Tracy Morgan, Mo’Nique, Christina Applegate and Sam Jackson doing the voices. I laugh every time I see it.
*You directed _Dirty Work_ back in 1998, which at the time, was considered a failure.*
All people look at is the dollar, but I know it was fucking funny. I care about what makes the audience laugh. But I can’t go around saying, ‘Fuck everybody,’ because you can’t get anything done that way. _Full House_ got trashed and _America’s Funniest Home Videos_ got reamed, and that’s happened to me for most of my career. The most positive reonses I’ve gotten were for stuff that I didn’t get paid for, or a show I did half a day’s work on. But now _Dirty Work_ is regarded really well; reviewers say it’s underappreciated. All that means is that they knew it was really funny when they watched it the first time, but they killed it anyway.
*You have had a lot of success recently with your stand-up.*
I just finished working on my HBO special. I put eight years of material into one hour and that was that. Steve Martin blew up with his double album and then he kind of stopped doing stand-up altogether because he had already done that. So we will see what happens for me after this special. I couldn’t spend my life on the road, but I’m really enjoying it at this moment in time. I’m selling out what I call the chandelier circuit: nice theaters where you’d have an orchestra. And I’ve been playing colleges. At the University of Central Florida, there were 5,500 people in the audience and they had to turn away 3,500 people. I was like, â€˜This is for me!’ I never had that in 30 years of doing my stand-up.
*Do you and John Stamos still hang out?*
We go out and we call each other by our character names. I talk to Jodi [Sweetin], Candace [Cameron], Andrea [Barber, who played Kimmie] and [Candace’s TV boyfriend] Scott Weinger all the time. With my dad gone, everyone’s been there for me. It means a lot. That’s when you find out who your friends are. I was in New York and my dad died while I was on Conan, literally while I was on the show. There weren’t any planes I could take to get back to my family that day. I called Ashley and Mary Kate[Olsen] and they just came to where I was.
*That’s not the Olsens that we hear about all the time.*
That’s who they are to me. And I appreciate that you haven’t tried all those dumb-ass jokes on me. I was at a radio show in Boston and the guy asked me on the air, â€˜Did you ever take a shot at them?’ And I’m like, â€˜Dude, what are you talking about? They’re like daughters to me.’ I don’t even do those jokes about whatever famous young girls everyone talks about, so I don’t know why people would think I’d talk about girls I love and sort of raised. I think of them the same way I did when they were nine months old. They’re very good friends to me and they also, believe it or not, understand me. I’m the one from the cast that everyone has to worry about, not them. I’m the wild card.
Stylist: Alexis Tracy Styling Assistant: Kallah Maguire Grooming by: Tania D. Russell/ Cherie Represents using Bumble & Bumble
SPECIAL THANKS TO MICHAEL MCCARTHY