Talking with the good Bob Saget—or is it the bad?

Bob Saget performs this weekend at the Orleans — and he’ll be bringing both the good and bad Bob Saget with him.

You started your career with a very clean-cut persona from Full House and America’s Funniest Home Videos. It’s allowed you to straddle the line between the family audience—the good Bob Saget—and the much more adult one—the bad Bob Saget—for some time. Do you ever feel like you’re the most blessed man in Hollywood?

It’s interesting, that word “straddle” alone can go in either direction. Like if the right family thing came along, I would leap on it. I’m having a good day, because I have been feeling [blessed], and when you hear people say it—we all have blue days, you know, everybody’s human, you turn on the news and you want to hurt yourself. But yeah, I am very fortunate. And there’s times when it can be frustrating, because things you really want to get done, it’s hard to get funding to get what you want done. But, in general, I am incredibly happy to have the life and career I have so far. I feel like I’m just getting started in a way. The duality and the potential of combining those two facets of my schizophrenic, narcissistic persona is a fun thing to put up on its feet. That’s the direction I’m going in.

Do some people still get offended at your shows, expecting the clean-cut guy?

My standup is irreverent, but I don’t think it’s as blue as it was. I don’t feel like I’m shocking anymore to people. And I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore because of the web and the world. They run [all my shows], from the irreverent stuff to the family stuff. And I like to move forward. I can’t physically look at myself from 20 years ago, entering a room with a DustBuster. But I embrace it, because it’s a pretty cool thing to be part of, both sides of the fence. My audience, 20- to 30-year-olds are a large part, too. It’s a real cross-section of people. I have 19-years-olds bringing their grandmothers into the show. I don’t know if they’re expecting me to repeat the Aristocrats joke or what, but it feels horribly wrong.

The Details

Bob Saget
January 27-28, 8 p.m., $44-$72
The Orleans, 365-7075

I loved the version you told in The Aristocrats.

It’s just a wrong joke to do. I’ve done it for college audiences, just a couple of them. It had to have been a huge mass of people, because you can’t do that with some audiences—if it’s like a scene from Lenny and you want everybody to walk out, then you can go for it. But it really is too blue I think for … it just doesn’t translate live.

Sitcoms, movies, standup, game shows, a music video, Broadway, directing. What haven’t you done yet?

Everything that’s not on that list. I’m a hyphenate, so I’ve dabbled in certain fields. Acting, I love it, and so I know I’ll do more of that maybe this year. I don’t like to promote anything until it’s real and getting on the air. I also love directing, even though it takes a year to do that. There’s a movie I’m attached to, and I’m just a realist; we haven’t done it yet, but I would love to. But I love acting and directing. I’m touring and working on this hour-long special material, and it’s really fun to be focusing on my standup, which is one of the things I love the most. I love whatever I’m doing at the moment the most, and when I really love something I’ll give 1,000 percent of myself to it. There’s also a lot of new sitcoms getting put together. Scripts are just coming in now from people that want them again. So it’s an inspiring time for me. But standup has always kind of been my base. It’s fun when I have a solid base, and I know that, okay, these are the new stories about what my dad told me when I was a kid that were wrong [and] that made something wrong with me, and new stories of relationships. All those things when you’re a standup and progress through your life.

I think you answered my next question, which was what was the most satisfying project you’ve ever worked on? I guess it would be whatever you’re currently working on.

That’s a—god, you really have me—I don’t have to go to my shrink. He hasn’t called me back today, which is great. If the right play came along, I would do it. My last experience three years ago doing The Drowsy Chaperone on Broadway was crazy great. The things I’ve directed, stuff I’ve worked on and some things I’ve done, which is true of anybody, haven’t gotten made. A couple of directing things, a couple of sitcoms, and I’m proud of those, even if nobody saw them. It’s nice to close, you know? I’m also writing something else right now that I really like.

I want to ask you about some of your recent TV work. I love the show Louie, and there’s a great episode with a flashback where he’s in a sitcom and at the end of the show it shows you, who had been a bit player in the show, all of a sudden you’re now the lead.

That’s what’s so great about Louie [C.K.]—he made me Louie (laughs). He called and said he needed me for this cameo. It was nothing, and I did it because it meant the world to him. He’s one of the very special people who does this. He’s in an amazing zone as well. He’s worked 25 years to be in this zone. It’s no accident. And he came up with the idea, which he does, and he said, “This is the button for the show, which is you taking my job.” We kind of beat it out conversationally, but it’s all him.

The thing I was wondering about that episode is, is that based on an actual incident?

I’ve had it [happen] and he’s had it. As lovely a person as I’ve tried to be, I’ve crashed and burned a few times. One time I was on a sitcom and I couldn’t remember the lines because I wasn’t connected to it, and they had to bring in a nurse with a B-12 shot. You can’t be more of a pussy than that. If you can’t remember your lines and they need to give you a B-12 shot, you really need to get slapped in the face by the caterer. It’s, you know, how do you complain when you have the cushiest job in the world, and it’s hard to get them? Louie is a guy who I’ve always had a connection with. Not physically, even though I do think he’s a very good-looking man, but he’s a purist, and that’s one of the things that’s so refreshing about him. He cuts through the bullshit. Before Louie he had a network show and had to compromise and do what the man wanted him to do. A lot of the experiences come from his standup, and that’s a true metaphor for what happened to him. It’s the path not taken that allows the next door to open. So things I turned down or have not received have allowed me to go onto something else.

Why were you not in the final season of Entourage? I smell a scandal.

(Laughs) [Series creator] Doug Ellin is the mastermind behind that show, and I’m friends with him and all the people on that show. I really have a high regard for everybody there, and it’s mutual. And I didn’t even think about [not being in the final season], and then people would ask me about it, and I said, “Haven’t I been on it enough?” But it’s a big compliment, and I was watching HBO where they did that tribute to me, my appearances on it. Things like [my over-the-top character on Entourage] are not difficult for me. ... Ellin said, “Would you be comfortable with this?” And I said, “No, let’s make him a little more not defeatist.” And I said, “I’ll make him the ballsiest motherf*cker in the world!”

You seem to have reached that moment in your life where you can do anything and people will love it. In other words, you’re just like William Shatner. So when is your spoken-word CD coming out?

That’s so funny. Ben Folds [who produced William Shatner’s 2004 CD Has Been] is a good friend of mine, and we became friends 10 years ago, and I really care about him. We had him over for Thanksgiving. He’s a great guy and we always talk about doing something together. We have a really high regard for each other. I directed Dirty Work and wanted him to be the composer, but he was in Australia on tour and couldn’t do it.

Wait a minute. You’re saying there’s a possibility you would do something like Has Been?

I definitely want to do something with Ben one day. I don’t know what it is—besides dinner. I did do “Bitches Ain’t Sh*t” with him at the Wiltern. I read it off my iPhone … (Raps) “Bitch can’t hang with the streets, she found herself short/So now she’s takin’ me to court …” I had a little American Idol moment at the end of it.

Okay, this question is for the good Bob Saget. What shows do you go to see when you’re in Las Vegas?

[Don] Rickles the past couple of times I’ve been there. I haven’t been there in a while. I love all the Cirque du Soleil. I still haven’t seen the Love show, which I guess makes me a communist of some kind. Are communists even popular anymore? I’m kind of out of touch. But yeah, I saw Rickles with Jeff Garlin and Jeff Ross on Jeff Garlin’s 50th birthday. We went to Joe’s Stone Crab and saw Rickles after that. The weirdest show I ever saw in my life was at the Hilton. I don’t recall his name, but I went with John Stamos to see an Elvis impersonator. It was a strange moment in life, because it flashed me back to Full House, when we did a lot of Elvis stuff. John flew in as Elvis once on wires. We just sat next to each other and watched an Elvis impersonator—it was the fruitiest moment of my life. Oh, and I was on stage with John Mayer a few years ago where the lights went off before he went on and I came on stage and they thought it was him. It was my closest to a John Mayer moment. Then lights came up, they saw it was me and they screamed for a while then I introduced him. So what show would you suggest I see?

I suppose I would recommend Terry Fator. He has an act where he brings out ventriloquist dummies and throws his voice into these dummies in the voices of famous singers.

Wow! So it’s Jeff Dunham to the next level?

Essentially, and he keeps it family friendly.

I appreciate that. Some of my favorite people, Jerry Seinfeld, Jim Gaffigan, Brian Regan, they keep it clean, and I’m always so impressed. I’ve talked with all of them about it. It’s not that they’re opposed to profanity; they’re just not made that way. They’re not judgmental about a person that takes a more R-rated approach. It’s Jack Benny’s soul; it’s just a special thing. I’m not as blue as I was on my last tours. I say that now. I still talk about fluids coming out of myself. But I don’t want to become a dirty perv act that people go to see late at night.

Are you saying profanity has a shelf life?

It’s a stomping of your feet kind of thing—“You can’t tell me what to do.” That’s probably what my point of view was four years ago when I did the HBO special at NYU. I had a 20-year-old audience in front of me, which for me turns me into more of a … I just talk like that a little more. But also it has a disingenuousness to it. I was watching Ricky Gervais, Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock interviews, and they all cop to it—saying “f*ck” because of nerves.

Now the question for the bad Bob Saget: How much do you spend on hookers and blow when you’re in Las Vegas?

I can’t do either. I never, never ... well, I went through the early ’80s and the LA scene and I was a young lad, so I can’t say there weren’t substances around my life. But the hooker thing I’ve done only on Entourage once. Oh wait. I have walked on the Strip, so … But no, I’m not that kind of guy, which maybe that’s why I’m allowed to be the way I am, which allows me to still be the family guy. I’m not a seedy guy. I don’t see that as … I don’t even understand it. I have a lot of fans of all seedy lifestyles, from ganstas to people of the night. I guess watching television when you’re young and don’t have a lot of role models, you tend to go to whatever things I did. The thing I’m drifting to now is a guy who has moral issues, who is both, who has got a kind heart, but he’s a human being, too.

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Ken Miller is the editor of Las Vegas Magazine, having previously served as associate editor at Las Vegas Weekly, assistant ...

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