Bob Saget Talks Full House, San Francisco, and "Dirty Daddy"

Photo: Natalie Brasington

By Justin Richmond

Bob Saget is most widely known as the father of the Olsen twins on Full House, which along with America’s Funniest Home Videos are my earliest memories of TV, entertainment, and even consciousness. And they were some great memories for Saget, who still remembers filming the show’s opening credits in San Francisco, which the fictional Tanner family called home. “They had me actually driving the convertible across the Golden Gate Bridge with the entire real Full House family in it, and they had a helicopter flying overhead to film it.” Saget explains this is unusual for the opening credits of an unproven sitcom, but is thankful for the production effort, as it became the signature shot of the show, forever linking Saget to the city he calls “the prettiest, coolest, backdrop that exists, honestly.”

It’s odd that someone who’s not from San Francisco and has never lived here is so synonymous with the city. Recently when Saget was in town for a show, he drove by the Victorian that served as the exterior for the Tanner family's home in Full House and tweeted a selfie of himself in front of it. The picture exploded on Twitter and it endlessly amused Saget that people would be so excited to see him pose in front of the San Francisco landmark. When I told him that tour buses were recently banned from driving past the Painted Ladies (a.k.a. where the Tanners picnic during the credits), mostly due to Full House tourism, he laughed saying, “I know, I know, I screwed it up.”

Saget is quickly approaching sixty, but has a generation-spanning fan base that grows with him. Though I was a fan of his family friendly programming growing up, I never watched Full House or America’s Funniest Home Videos in adulthood. I didn’t have much interest. What made the man relevant in my life again, and turned me into a fan, was when I went to see the notoriously acerbic Paul Mooney do stand up at Carolines on Broadway in New York City. Shortly before Mooney came out, Saget stopped in to do 10 to 15 minutes of dirty, stream-of-consciousness material. It was fascinating to see the TV family man of my childhood on the same bill as Mooney and be as funny, but also as dirty.

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The duality of his existence as both Danny Tanner and blue-comedian is the framework of Saget’s latest book Dirty Daddy: The Chronicles of a Family Man Turned Filthy Comedian. And when I got on the phone to talk with him about his life and the book, it all crystalized: Bob Saget is a normal guy. He’s the foul-mouthed father who watches football and plays poker with his buddies, then comes home to his children and helps them with their homework. I’m not actually sure he’s done any of those things in his life, but that’s the sentiment.

Bob Saget - Dirty Daddy Cover ArtWhen I spoke to him, he had just come home from Dave Coulier’s wedding in Montana. He took his daughters and longtime pal, John Stamos, along with him. On their way back, Saget flew to LA, but his daughters and Stamos got caught in a storm at O’Hare airport. During the layover, his daughters ran across the airport to catch a flight, coincidentally behind Stamos.  Saget is enthused re-telling this story. “So let me get this straight,” he recounts with a laugh telling his daughters, “it looked like you guys were chasing John Stamos through an airport like he was the Beatles?” The power of John Stamos.

Saget is a real comedian. He put in his time with Richard Pryor, Rodney Dangerfield, and comedians of that ilk. Back in the 1980s, when the comedy scene was raging, Saget frequently performed in San Francisco. He performed at the opening and closing of the old Cobb’s Comedy Club, and then opening night at the current location. He worked regularly with fellow San Francisco comedians Robin Williams and Bobby Slayton. And, after late night sets, loved to visit  the now defunct Sam Wo’s to be insulted by the infamous Edsel Ford Fung. “You’re not funny,” the Ornery Fung would hurl, “you stink.”

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The first people to read Saget’s book were his daughters. They gave it the OK. One of the next people was his dying mother. She stopped right before chapter 8 titled, "Things I Shoudn’t Have Done." She didn’t understand the chapter title. "Bobby, you were so perfect, please,” his mother said. He tells me that one time he told his mother that he was in no way better than Jesus. Her reply? “You’re better than Jesus.” Maybe he didn’t realize Stamos was over his shoulder.

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