Originally published in the Central Florida Future, the independent student newspaper of the University of Central Florida.
Whenever he’s out in public, he hears the same quip:
And each time he hears it, he answers the same way:
Ever since Bob Saget’s last one-hour comedy special on HBO, he’s answered to this call. It’s kind of like an inside joke that he shares with his fans, a way for them to greet him when they see him on the street.
“It’s a privilege, to be honest with ya,” explained Saget during his interview with the Central Florida Future, “There’s no downside to that.”
Whether you know him from Full House, America’s Funniest Home Videos, Entourage or any of his many other roles, chances are that he has already made you laugh many times before. And when his apparent wholesomeness yields to his potty-mouthed comedy style it’s both shocking and exhilarating.
Saget is preparing to record a new one-hour comedy special and is currently touring and performing the material live. He will be at the Hard Rock in Orlando on November 18, so if you’re one of his loyal fans -or just curious to experience his humor for yourself- now’s your chance.
What goals did you set for yourself in your early twenties?
I was an undergraduate at Temple University in Philadelphia and I wanted to be a doctor. I was doing pre-med … for a couple of months and I just couldn’t do anything, I couldn’t do chemistry and I loved my film classes so I decided to concentrate on them and move over to the film department. Then I studied film and just took as many film classes and production classes as possible…
I think it’s an ongoing student process, choosing what you want to do. I’ve just been very fortunate in that I was compensated nicely for all of it.
I love doing a lot of things. I love acting and still love directing and plan to direct more. Love stand-up a lot. I’m working on a new hour special. It’s a new hour show with a couple of songs that people will like.
College audiences are kind of like my core audience. I guess I never really left college mentally.
So you were a comedian before you started acting?
Yeah, comedy was something that I did. I was 17 and I would take a train from Philadelphia to New York and I would go on at the Improv there or the Catch a Rising Star, it was a club, I did those two things, and waited in line 12 hours and I would do comedy songs…
I won a radio contest in Philadelphia when I was 17 and started performing at a club in Phillie called Stars for a guy named Stephen Starr who owns Buddakan and a lot of restaurants down there…
So stand-up was always there and then I did improv, also… And then studied acting, did some plays…
It’s kind of like, the stuff I’ve set out to do, I’ve never chosen just like one thing. I go in different directions for a while and when a door opens I go through it, and if it doesn’t open–unless I’m really passionate about it–I don’t really push on it that hard.
Right now I’m really enjoying my stand-up
You seem to have a lot of comedian friends and that seems like a lot of fun. Was it at all intimidating to be in the company of other comedians when you first started to perform stand-up?
Well, I wanted to be respected by my peers and there are many, many people that I look up to. I kind of grew up knowing and becoming friends with Rodney Dangerfield and Richard Pryor and just a lot of people, a whole lot of people that I knew.
Have you ever felt the need to prove yourself to other comedians?
When I was a kid, my mother said, “not everybody’s gonna like you,” and I said, “I NEED NAMES!!!”
And now I have them, you know you can look on the web at who likes you and who doesn’t.
When you were a kid, which comedian did you most admire?
It’s funny, when I was a kid I would watch Charlie Chaplin films so I loved silent film stars the most. And the Three Stooges were popular and they were goofy and I actually knew Larry in junior high. He spoke at my junior high, I lived in L.A. for a little bit because my dad was with a food company, Food Fare Pantry Pride supermarkets, and I would go see Larry Fine at the Motion Picture Home and go talk to him.
I also loved the Marx Brothers.
Which comedian would you most like to be compared to?
…Don Rickels is someone who I used to watch and he’s a friend of mine now. I would go see him in the Latin Casino in New Jersey. We’d drive there from Phillie. And he’s been a comic his whole life, he’s 85 and jumping on the stage. I had dinner with him a couple of weeks ago, it’s just an honor.
I try not to do anybody’s style but there are things that he does that… in letting myself riff and letting the moment take itself that I’d like to think that I have a couple of those attributes.
Are you looking forward to hosting the next Cool Comedy Hot Cuisine event for the Scleroderma Foundation?
Yeah, that’s nice of you to look that up and to know that. I lost a sister about 16 years ago to scleroderma. It’s a disease that hardens the skin. It’s a vascular disease, sometimes auto-immune. We do a couple of benefits a year. We did one in San Francisco at the beginning of the year and raised about $700,000. And we’re gonna try to do whatever we can do…in New York.
It’ll be right before I come to you guys. Actually on Monday. Seth Meyers will help me with the auction and Jeff Ross and Colin Quinn are gonna do stand-up and try to raise money.
In the past 20 years, we’ve raised approximately $30 million that’s gone to research…
I’m kind of in it for life, just because it just happened to me and I even made a TV movie about it called For Hope that I directed years back.
And I’m proud to do whatever I can…
Do you host all three events each year?
Yeah, I host all of them. We do New York, San Francisco, and L.A.
I’ve been doing them for 20 years…
It’s just a private event, well it’s public but it’s not for profit and the money goes to research and we fund John Hopkins’ scleroderma center and we fund Stanford and we’re funding a bunch of different places that are really making progress.
What is the best advice that you were ever given?
My dad’s advice, “Be kind.”
And Rodney Dangerfield actually gave me a very good piece of advice, which is, “Just do it like a tank,” he said “just go like a tank.”
Everybody’s gonna try to take shots at you, and tell you you’re not good and tell you that you’re done and tell you that you can’t keep going ahead, but you just move forward, just literally like a tank, you just don’t stop. Just plow through everything and they can’t stop you. And you just have to believe it.”
Anything to say to your fans seeing you in Orlando this month?
I’m looking forward to trying to parent them. Short of paying for their tuition, I just want to try to tell them the things they should and shouldn’t do.
I’m excited to be coming that way and I’m happy that people from UCF will be there. You’re all one of my favorite people, and the Hard Rock’s a fun place to go to, so that should really be cool.