Bob Saget makes his first crude joke of the evening and a few members of the audience at Sixth & I release a nervous giggle. Maybe some are having trouble separating Saget from the persona they’ve come to know him for: wholesome father figure Danny Tanner, whom Saget depicted for years on the family-friendly series “Full House” and now on the reboot, “Fuller House.” And no one wants to watch their dad talk about genitalia.
Or maybe it’s the fact that he’s in a synagogue and there’s a menorah in the closet behind him.
But Saget’s stand-up stint in early April proved that, dirty gags aside, Saget does indeed represent all the things that he seems to be on “Full House” — a loving guy who brings people together. Even if they’re people he already knows. (He interacted with an audience member for half the show before realizing the person was his childhood friend, Craig.)
Despite his cheery demeanor, things have taken a difficult turn for Saget lately, as his longtime friend and co-star Lori Loughlin has found herself in hot water because of the college admissions scandal. But the comedian is pushing full-steam ahead, regardless of the personal effect it has had on him. In addition to his national comedy tour, Saget has a new film, “Benjamin”; a new sequel series to “America’s Funniest Home Videos” called “Videos After Dark”; and the final season of “Fuller House” on the horizon.
We sat down for breakfast with Saget in the Georgetown Ritz-Carlton the morning after his show to get the scoop on his upcoming projects — and just whom he was screaming at in the audience the night before.
So you actually knew Craig, the man you recognized last night at your show?
I went to elementary school with him. I was like, “How did I not see Craig?” I’ve known him my whole life. It was amazing.
[Checks phone] Sorry, with my new movie “Benjamin,” I have to choose clips right away to show on talk shows and stuff.
You have quite the busy schedule right now.
It’s good, you know. But it’s the hardest I’ve worked in a long time. All good things are opening up, but still — I need sleep. I want to work out, you know? My wife came with me on this trip because she wanted to make sure I didn’t die.
“Benjamin” [which comes out April 23] looks funny, which is interesting since it’s about drug addiction, which is not a funny topic at all.
That’s what got it an R rating. It’s kind of like Danny Tanner off the rails. I’m pretty serious in it. The comedy that comes out of it is my inability to cope. The whole point is admitting everyone else has a problem, and that’s what I liked about it, because why do teenagers turn to drugs? Sometimes it’s influences, sometimes it’s getting caught up wanting to be powerful, but a lot of times, it’s a difficult family life or denial of family life. And I know a lot of people whose kids have this issue and it’s heartbreaking. So this is about trying to help them and everybody else.
And Redbox really took a liking to it. But the streaming issue’s the big new thing, and that’s the thing I think that sets this apart from anything else: It’s the first original title they’ve ever made. So they believed in it and then put up the money, which is a big deal. So I’m really excited because it’s a new model.
You’re also balancing your “Zero to Sixty” stand-up comedy tour.
It’s not that easy, but it is, however, incredibly rewarding. It feels like I’m doing something incredibly healthy for everybody because they’re laughing. That’s why I’ve been doing it for 40 years.
And “Videos after Dark” is an extension of my stand-up. It’s fall-down funny, but it’s things we can’t do in the early hours. But it has to still appeal to people that would be watching as a family, even though it has a disclaimer like “Girls Gone Wild.” My audience is the most diverse audience. It’s really nice. Like last night I was in a synagogue!
You said you don’t like talking about politics and news during your sets, but you made a joke last night that some interpreted as being about the scandal involving Lori Loughlin: “I’m the only TV parent who isn’t in jail — I’m talking about Bill Cosby!” Was that actually just about Bill Cosby or also a gag about the college admissions scandal?
People are interpreting me wrong. He was proven guilty, and that case is over. But yeah, I can’t talk about [the college admission scandal] anymore. And I hate saying “no comment” but, you know, it’s too complex to go into. It’s so personal. There was a tweet that I took down that people thought was connected, but I really wasn’t talking about anything. I don’t know what to say because it starts into a long conversation and I can’t even emotionally have it at this point. This subject belongs on the therapist couch.
Speaking of Lori and “Full House,” “Fuller House’s” final season [slated for fall 2019] is coming up.
It’s 18 [episodes] total. I don’t how they’re doing it, if they’re going to run them all together or split them up. But it’s bittersweet.
People think of you as Danny Tanner. Has it been hard for you to separate that identity from your stand-up persona?
No, because I’ve done so many different kinds of acting. I did a few Broadway plays that were big ones.
You’ve done a lot of work for charity.
I lost a sister to scleroderma, which is a hardening of the skin. Over 30 years, we’ve [the Scleroderma Research Foundation; Saget is on the board of directors] raised over 48 million dollars. On the 25th, we have a big benefit at the Beverly Wilshire, which is similar to doing it here at — I don’t know. We don’t have a Kennedy Center there.
We’re making giant steps, so I’ll kind of devote my life to that. I lost another sister, and I have yet to attack her problem. No one gets a free ride. I wanted to be a doctor. But being a comedian . . . I’m so proud to be one. It takes years to figure it out and embrace it: that you did something for people.
This interview has been condensed and edited for space and clarity.