It’s Saturday night, you’re out on the town in Santa Barbara, and you want to laugh. Hard. Well, you’re in luck, because this Saturday, October 12, Bob Saget will be onstage at the Lobero delivering one of his carefully honed yet epic comedy sets, and it will kill. Saget, who remains best known for his role as Danny Tanner, the neat-freak dad from the television program Full House, happens to be a fascinating, versatile, and savagely honest stand-up comedian.
Among the many comedians traveling the concerts-and-specials circuit today, Saget stands out, not only because of his well-known penchant for “working blue” — he didn’t call his best-selling autobiography Dirty Daddy for nothing — but more importantly because he represents a direct link to a tradition that includes some of the deepest and most soulful people ever to tell jokes. As a 21-year-old, he was hanging out with Richard Pryor, and for eight years, he was the host at the Comedy Store on Sunset Strip. Rodney Dangerfield took Saget under his wing, and Don Rickles, “Mr. Warmth,” treated him like a second son.
When I spoke to Saget by phone last week, he was in top form, easily shifting gears from silly to serious to absurd, sometimes in a single sentence. His career, which has been remarkably solid over the past three decades, has predictably taken another interesting upturn. Three decades after the debut of America’s Funniest Home Videos, which Saget hosted for its first eight seasons, the format stands poised for a comeback thanks to all the material that could not be shown on the original program in its family-hour time slot. Videos After Dark, which premiered in March 2019 and will begin a steady run in early 2020, features Saget doing his voice-over thing, but this time he will be digging into all the clips that have been sitting in producer Vin Di Bona’s vault, as they were deemed too spicy for the original show. The concept will allow Saget to merge his family-funny persona from AFV with a version of the reckless smart aleck he inhabits live onstage. Worlds collide!
Other upcoming Saget projects include the 2019 dark comedy Benjamin, which he wrote and directed, and a documentary on the legendary actor/musician Martin Mull. Listening to him enthuse about live performance, however, convinced me that the stand-up stage is what’s closest to his heart at this moment. “I haven’t been this excited about doing stand-up in 30 years,” said the man whose album That’s What I’m Talkin’ About was nominated for a Best Comedy Album of the Year Grammy in 2014. Saget loves the spontaneity of live performance, and he thrives on audience interaction. Like his hero Rickles, he revels in the creative put-down, but also like Rickles, you can feel the love that propels his verbal darts.
With almost any other performer, the moment when the acoustic guitar comes out signals a halt to the stream of no-holds-barred innuendo. With Saget, watch out, because the guitar means the offensive factor may well rise a notch. His sweetly ironic delivery and folkie strumming does nothing to soften the tough love of such numbers as “Butt Plug Made of Leather.” Oh, and did I mention it’s a sing-along?
4•1•1 | Bob Saget will perform Saturday, October 12, 8 p.m., at the Lobero Theatre (33 E. Canon Perdido St.). See lobero.com or call 963-0761.