Bob Saget, the comedian, actor, and writer best known for his roles as fictional fathers, returns to the Valley this weekend — his third visit in as many years.
The multi-hyphenate and star of every show your kid sister loved in the '90s will perform a decidedly un-Danny Tanner stand-up set at Stand Up Live in downtown Phoenix. The four shows on Friday, December 9, and Saturday, December 10, coincide with the season-two première of Fuller House, the nostalgic Netflix reboot of the family-friendly Full House sitcom.
"It really does have the same feeling," Saget tells New Times during a phone interview. "It's really the girls' show [now], and they've literally taken over in the perfect way. The second season, I think that people that like it will be very happy with it."
The new season, which starts streaming December 9, is slated to feature even more Tanner family reunions, which means fans can expect Saget, Dave Coulier (Uncle Joey), and John Stamos (Uncle Jesse) to have plenty of screen time. And, judging by the trailer, the somewhat extreme midlife crisis of the Tanner patriarch is sure to be a laugh-worthy nod to the show's aging stars.
In real life, Saget, who (like Danny) turned 60 this year, has been living the exact opposite of a gold-chain-touting, slang-speaking midlife crisis. Saget's memoir, Dirty Daddy: The Chronicles of a Family Man Turned Filthy Comedian, rose to the New York Times best-seller list in late 2015, and he finished a run in the Tony Award-nominated Broadway production of Hand To God in early January.
"I'd like to consider myself more of an artist [than a celebrity], even though that's subjective when people see my work," he says, laughing. "But I mean ... I love acting, I love writing — I've been writing up a storm. That's not celebrity, that's an artist. That's a person who wants to entertain people, to put something across that means something."
Following his Broadway run, Saget did a near year-long tour of theaters and comedy clubs in anticipation of a new stand-up special he'll shoot in 2017. Next year will also mark his return to directing for the first time in nearly a decade. The film, a dark comedy titled Jake, stars Saget as yet another father figure, this time a suburban dad in denial that his 15-year-old son, Jake, is a crystal meth addict. Saget's character ends up staging an intervention via Facebook (which isn't the ideal way to do this kind of thing, he offers) with an ensemble cast of characters. It's a project he's been attached to for five years, he says, and he's excited to move forward.
"I don't do anything I don't want to do anymore. Well, that's not totally true, when you have relatives you always have to do something you don't want to do," he says with a laugh. "[But] this should be a good decade for me. The Fuller House thing is just a nice, wonderful, memorabilia appendage to everything else I do."
And one that's in demand. Though Netflix doesn't track ratings like traditional television channels, Symphony Advanced Media, an independent company, has released data that puts Fuller House's viewership at around 14.4 million within the first 35 days of its debut. If that's true, it makes the sequel show one of the most popular of the year.
"I look at Twitter sometimes and people are like, 'Well, I can't watch that,'" Saget says. "Well, it's not made for you, bro. It's made for a 12-year-old girl. That's who it was really made for. And because of the nostalgia quotient of never going off the air [with respect to reruns], it's bigger than it's ever been."
Not just bigger, but global. When he called New Times, half-whispering, the comedian was waiting in an airport lounge for a flight to San Francisco, where he would join the cast in placing their handprints in front of the iconic Full House house. (The day before our interview, it was announced that show creator Jeff Franklin had purchased the home in the fall for $4 million.)
"Dave's gonna want to put his butt-cheek prints there," Saget says.
Then it's off on a whirlwind, multi-continent press tour, taking the comedian and Tanner family to Toronto, followed by a quick two-day jaunt across the world to Tokyo — just days before Saget is scheduled to return stateside and get up behind a mic in Phoenix.
"I have only had fun in Phoenix," he says. "I've been coming there for 25 years, played all the clubs from Tempe Improv to Celebrity Theatre. I just love Stand Up Live. I'm really excited to come in and do these shows, especially coming off the Japan flight. You're gonna think I'm tripping on something."
Those expecting to see Danny Tanner on stage are in for a bit of a "how rude!" awakening: Saget's signature stand-up style tends to toe the line between daring, dirty, and straight-up offensive.
"I'm not as blue as I used to be," Saget insists. "Although, I'll say that to friends and they go, 'Uh, that was a really blue set, Bob.' I'm in blue denial.
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"My show is kind of a bringing together show. It's very silly. Anything dirty I have isn't doing it to offend anybody. I'm a 9-year-old with all the words, you know?" he continues. "I just love performing so much and I love entertaining. There's nothing like watching people belly laugh, because you finally wore them down. There's just not a better feeling. You're getting a truly visceral reaction."
And after a year of uncertainty, fear, and non-stop viral coverage of, well, anything and everything, that laughter is sorely needed — maybe more than ever.
"My act provides escape, and that's one thing I like about it. It's not ignorant, it's not illiterate. It has some cursing in it, it has some weirdo, crazy stuff that I say that is no different from what my father used to say to me," Saget says. "But the whole point is to go out for the night and get away from all this crap. Don't watch the news that night. And don't worry about Fuller House. You can sit there for seven hours the next day and watch the whole damn thing."
Bob Saget performs on Friday, December 9, and Saturday, December 10, at Stand Up Live, 50 West Jefferson Street. Shows start at 7:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. on Friday; 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. on Saturday. Tickets are $32 each for the 21-and-over event. Two-drink minimum required. For tickets and details, visit www.standuplive.com or call 480-719-6100. See more on the stand-up-turned-Tanner-patriarch at www.bobsaget.com.