Pals pay tribute to Saget on Friday night.EXPAND
Pals pay tribute to Saget on Friday night.
Brian Friedman

Bob Saget Is Getting Personal (With a Little Help From Norman Lear)

As a kid, Bob Saget snuck into a taping of Norman Lear’s All in the Family. “It was live theater done to perfection,” Saget reminisces. These days the former Full House and America’s Funniest Home Videos star counts the 94-year-old writer-producer among his friends, jamming on guitar at Lear’s home with the likes of saxophonist Dave Koz and trumpeter Rick Braun during small wine and cigar gatherings.  

Attending May 12’s Grammy Museum awarding of the 2017 Woody Guthrie Prize to Lear got Saget contemplating his own résumé. Stealing scenes in Entourage and NSFW joke documentary The Aristocrats corrected his previously saccharine image. He’d been honored with 2008’s Comedy Central Roast of Bob Saget. His 2014 memoir, Dirty Daddy, was a best-seller.

On June 16, the Beverly Wilshire Hotel hosts a Cool Comedy Hot Cuisine tribute to Saget, benefiting the Scleroderma Research Foundation, Saget’s personal cause since the death of his sister in 1994. Pals paying tribute this time around include Jimmy Kimmel, Ray Romano, Zach Galifianakis and John Stamos.

Saget recently filmed third-season episodes of Netflix reboot Fuller House and taped a new stand-up special in Brooklyn. He says 2016’s election season propelled him into a year of road gigs, some lasting up to two hours.

Where 2007’s That Ain’t Right and 2013’s Grammy-nominated That’s What I’m Talking About kept things light, at age 61 Saget’s material has evolved to become more personal.  

“Talking to Norman Lear,” Saget recalls, “I said, ‘It’s so amazing that people are there to see me and they want to laugh. I need it, they need it and it makes it a party. I get to take them out of their lives.’

“Norman said, 'No, you’re putting them into their lives. They’re taken out of their lives watching this stuff that’s upsetting them. But you’re bringing them into the moment as a collective human experience.’ Everything he says resonates like Obi-Wan Kenobi.”

Saget’s new set incorporates stories, audience participation nodding to late father figure Don Rickles and the closing song “We’ve Got to Be Kind to Each Other.”

“Some of it’s socially relevant, some is just relatable and other parts are esoteric runs of absurdity,” Saget explains. “People have gone, ‘You’re not as dirty as you used to be. And we’re disappointed.’ I’m like, ‘I’m sorry. If you want, I’ll just curse in your face for a few minutes?”

Saget next directs and stars in Jake, his first live-action theatrical feature since directing 1998 cult classic Dirty Work. He promises the dark comedy about meth addiction “reveals how people who think they’re helping someone with a problem are often the exact cause of the problem.” The film includes an intervention led by a gynecologist.

Before fall’s promotional cycle begins for his special, Saget will step back and take stock once again.  

“There’s a closeness among comedians right now,” he says. “We’re all reaching out because we’ve been losing a lot of funny people, some of old age, some way before their time. It makes me want to enjoy my life and putting out things that other people enjoy more than ever. I’ve become some kind of crazy idealist.”

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