Interview: Bob Saget Reveals His ‘Dirty Daddy’ Side

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CHICAGO – There are a couple directions to the long career of Bob Saget. The first is of Danny Tanner, the Dad he portrayed in the 1980s sitcom “Full House,” and the second is his stand-up act, with a reputation for filthy jokes that has no boundaries. Both sides are revealed in his memoir “Dirty Daddy: Chronicle of a Family Man Turned Filthy Comedian.”

Saget came through Chicago in April of 2014 on a very special night at The Museum of Broadcast Communications here. “An Evening with Bob Saget” brought the comedian to the museum, and he sat down with Roe Conn of WLS-AM for a Q&A session and banter with the audience.

Bob Saget
Bob Saget at The Museum of Broadcast Communications in Chicago, April 16th, 2014
Photo credit: Joe Arce of Starstruck Foto for

Robert Lane “Bob” Saget was born in Philadelphia, and was encouraged by a high school teacher to get into the arts. After a stint at Temple University’s film school, Saget moved to Los Angeles to pursue on-air opportunities, and landed with “The Morning Show” on CBS-TV in 1987. That same year he got the role as Danny Tanner, the affable Dad on the “Full House,” a family sitcom on ABC-TV that was part of the Thomas Miller and Robert Boyett universe of TV series (“Perfect Strangers,” “Step by Step”).

After eight seasons on the show – while at the same time hosting “America’s Funniest Videos’ – Saget reinvented himself as a stand-up comic who works dirty, mostly due to a memorable appearance in the movie “The Aristocrats” (2005). He also just wrapped up a run on the sitcom “How I Met Your Mother,” portraying the older narration voice of character Ted Mosby. Saget continues to act, direct and perform.

Right before his Chicago Museum of Broadcast Communications appearance, which also served as a book signing for “Dirty Daddy: Chronicle of a Family Man Turned Filthy Comedian,” Bob Saget talked to The first and obvious question – In ‘Dirty Daddy,’ what do you want to tell the fans of ‘Full House’ about Danny Tanner, and what do you want to tell the fans of your harder edge image about Bob Saget?

Bob Saget: The book happened organically. It wasn’t directed to do anything but be honest about where I’m at right now. What is communicated, and this didn’t come to light until I put the book together, is that I’ve been defined primarily with the number of relatives and close friends that have passed away in my life, and how I’ve been dealing with it. It has comedy, because I do use that to diffuse pain.

My parents lost four children, and I lost four uncles – my Dad’s brothers – who all died young. Two of my siblings died before I was born, and of my two older sisters – one passed away due to a brain aneurysm at age 37, and other died of Scieroderma at 47. So the book was something that was in me for a long time, and the genetics of the book is about hope. So in that sense, which audience are you trying to reach?

Saget: In summation, if somebody asked me to tell them about myself, I would just hand them the book. If I had a date – and I won’t – but if I did, I would just hand them the book, and then order dessert. It said on your Wikipedia page that you were swayed from a pursuit of a medical career by a teacher who saw creative potential in you. How did that vote of confidence propel you to Temple and their film program?

Saget: The lady’s name was Elaine Zimmerman, who taught me my Senior year at Abington High near Philadelphia. She told me point blank to not become a doctor, but become a comedian. My answer to that is she saved thousands of lives. [laughs] And just going back to the theme, Elaine died in an automobile accident ten years later. I’m not a death monger, but everybody is touched by it. She was an amazing teacher. It seemed when the film ‘The Aristocrats’ came out, that you got the lion’s share of attention for being the comedian who would go furthest with the telling-of-that-joke concept. What was your reaction to that attention, and how did it steer you into the ‘Dirty Daddy’ direction that became this book and your upcoming tour?

Bob Saget
Bob Saget as Danny Tanner in ‘Full House’
Photo credit: Warner Home Video

Saget: It was a very interesting turn of events, to say the least. Somehow lightning hit on that, and I didn’t really know the joke that was the centerpiece of the film. Producer Penn Jillette and director Paul Provenza asked me to do it, and egged me on behind the camera to go further with the joke, even though I didn’t want to. [laughs] I thought it might ruin me. But when I saw it, I thought it just was funny, so I signed the release. It got me a surprising amount of press, just at the time I started appearing on the HBO series ‘Entourage.’ You are one of the leading advocates of the Scieroderma Research Foundation, in memory of your sister. What progress has been made in research regarding the disease, and what humbles you when you meet the scientists who are working towards a cure?

Saget: It was about losing my sister to the disease, but oddly enough I had another friend who got me involved in a benefit, because she had the disease. This was before my sister was even diagnosed. Over the years, our benefits have raised over 30 million dollars for research, and the doctors at Johns Hopkins University, the University of California San Francisco and Stanford are doing cutting edge research that we’ve funded. You can find all the information at What would be the best thing and the worst thing if we all lived in a world created by Miller and Boyett?

Saget: You know what? Everything would be clean. [laughs] It would be so beautiful. You would get laughs all the time, you would be happy all time. When you’re sad, it wouldn’t last that long, because music would play and then you’d hear the moral to the story. The worst thing? It’s a bit two-dimensional, like living in that movie ‘Pleasantville.’ You can’t get out of it, but it’s real nice to feel the black and white of it all.

The Museum of Broadcast Communications is located at 360 North State Street, Chicago. On June 21, 2014, the museum will present ‘A Salute to Dick Cavett.’ For details about the museum and their events, click here. “Dirty Daddy: Chronicle of a Family Man Turned Filthy Comedian” by Bob Saget is available wherever books are sold. senior staff writer Patrick McDonald

Senior Staff Writer

© 2014 Patrick McDonald,

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