PLAYBOY: You’re the host of the NBC game show 1 vs. 100. Did you take the gig for the fat paycheck or because of your sincere love for trivia?
BOB SAGET: I’d be a liar if I didn’t say it’s because I’m getting compensated. I’m not doing it for college credit. But also, I’m kinda a fan of the form. I liked the Millionaire show with Regis when it first came out, and I’ve always loved Groucho on You Bet Your Life. At its best, a quiz show is a great way to strengthen your stand-up muscle, because you have to riff off the contestants. When NBC offered it to me, they said, “You can’t be the dirty bastard you are on HBO. If you do that, you’ll ruin the world and you’ll only get half an earring and they’ll come after you with torches.” I eventually said yes, but it was only because I saw a movie on the Internet about a woman who had sex with a hundred guys, and I thought that’s what they meant by 1 vs. 100. I thought it was going to be 100 women and me. Boy was I wrong.
PLAYBOY: You got your start in G-rated TV shows like Full House and America’s Funniest Home Videos. But over the last few years, you’ve undergone a radical career makeover, becoming one of the filthiest stand-ups in comedy. Was this a conscious attempt to alienate your old fans and tear down your saccharine image?
BOB SAGET: I think I’ve already made it pretty clear that I’m not that guy anymore, the guy who was known mostly for family television. For me, it’s old news. Do people still get shocked that Danny Tanner (the character I played on Full House) can be dirty? It’s almost like, let’s find out what happens when your favorite cartoon characters curse. What would that be like? Wouldn’t it be great if on Father Knows Best, the dad walked in and said, “Boy, your dick sure is big, grandma.” I just don’t find it all that interesting. But I guess it bothers some people. I’ve gotten positive and negative reactions. People watch my standup and then say things to me like, “How can you taint Danny Tanner like that? You had this wonderful family image and then you tainted it.” Well, you know what the taint is, don’t you? It’s neither here nor there. ‘Taint ass nor balls. It’s somewhere in the middle. And that’s where I like to be. Not literally, of course. I don’t want to be anywhere near an actual taint. I mean in my career. I can be a dirty prick or a family-oriented TV guy, and in my heart, I don’t feel like I’m wavering.
PLAYBOY: Are you a filthy comic who ended up on a family TV show, or a family-friendly actor who discovered his inner filthmonger?
BOB SAGET: I was always a little filthy in my standup, long before I got the TV show. One of the earliest jokes in my act was “I have the brain of a German Shepherd and the body of a 16 year old boy and they’re both in my car and I want you to see them.” It’s a terrible joke, I know, but pretty typical of my sense of humor. When I got the part on Full House, I had to be toned down. It was a family show made for teenagers, and I had absolutely nothing in common with Danny Tanner. I think the only time I could be like myself was the episode where Danny drank coffee. That was it. Everybody on the cast was, “Wow, Bob’s finally getting to act like Bob.” But we had a lot of fun on the set, especially (co-stars) John Stamos and Dave Coulier and I. We were always getting into trouble and making loud inappropriate comments. Let’s just say there was a lot of scolding going on. We had a donkey in one of the episodes and it took a shit on the stage, in front of the audience. And it also got a really big erection. We started calling the donkey Pepper Mill, because it had a gigantic cock. I was just amazed by it. How do you get aroused and take a crap at the same time? I don’t even think that’s humanly possible. So things like that would happen, and I’d be sweating because of all the comments running though my head, which of course I’d never say out loud because there were children on the set. I try to live within the boundaries of what I’m working on. It’s a family show and, well, I kinda knew they were going to edit it anyway, so nothing bad ever saw the light of day, unless you look in the background and John, David and I are laughing because Dave just farted or something. But there are a few things that happened that thank god nobody ever saw.
PLAYBOY: Don’t tease us like that, Bob. What is your most shameful memory from Full House?
BOB SAGET: You really want to hear this? Okay, uh… let me just start by saying I’m still very close to everybody from the cast. I see everybody all the time and I love them all tremendously. (Long pause.) This is a huge publication, so it could be a mistake to tell this story. Wow, I don’t know. Let me figure out a way to say this so that it won’t ruin both of our careers. (Another long pause, he sighs.) Okay, here we go. On the day in question, we were rehearsing a scene. Not really rehearsing, just blocking it. And it was just me and the camera guys. There were no kids on the set. There was a four-foot tall plastic doll that was supposed to play my daughter when the girls were in school. So I’m on stage, trying to figure out where I’m supposed to sit, and where the daughters are going to be. It was just me and this plastic doll, sitting on the bed, and… and then I did… some bad things to it. (Laughs.) This sounds terrible, doesn’t it? I didn’t personalize it or make it into anyone that existed on this earth. It was just… the doll’s head spun around, have I mentioned that yet? It was double-jointed. You could hold it by one leg and spin it. And then a couple of crew people came running down and yelling that the monitors were on upstairs and some of the kids might be able to see what I was doing. So I said, “Well, please turn them off, I’m working here.” Oh god, why am I telling you this? When this interview is over, I’m going to hate myself. I know there are probably some readers who’ll think, “Wait, I don’t understand. What did he do to the doll?” I didn’t do anything to it. And in fact, the doll was probably asking for it. I’m pretty sure it was winking at me. And from what I understand, it was completely of age. It was a 19-year old doll. It had been around. It had been in the prop rooms for many, many years. And it wasn’t real, that’s the other thing. I can’t emphasize this enough, the doll wasn’t real.
PLAYBOY: In That Ain’t Right, your stand-up special for HBO, you made jokes about garlic diarrhea, how your dying father resembled a Lord of the Rings character, and how much you want to fuck your daughter’s friends. What do you consider offensive?
BOB SAGET: Honestly? For real? This is probably going to sound a little silly after all the horrible things I just said, but cruelty. Genuine cruelty and lack of kindness offends me. I’m being completely serious about that. I love freedom of speech, but I’m not a big fan of freedom of actions. I don’t want to see any of the things I talk about in my act manifested into live actions. That would be snuff films, I guess. I don’t really care for snuff films. The only thing I like about snuff is that it’s all done in one take. You shoot a scene and then everybody can go home. See, I have no problem making a joke like that, but I’d never want to actually watch a snuff film. I can’t look at real acts of cruelty. And I don’t enjoy watching people self-mutilate.
PLAYBOY: We take it that you’re not a big fan of Jackass?
BOB SAGET: I think those guys are really funny, but I personally can’t watch it. I don’t want to see anybody staple his nutsack to his chest. You can get infected from the staples, for one thing. I have a Jewish mother in me. I worry about Steve O and Johnny Knoxville. I don’t want to see them get hurt. I worry too much to enjoy the humor of it. Remember that episode when Johnny was locked in an outhouse full of shit and they rolled it down a hill. I’m sure a lot of people laughed at that, but all I could think was, “Can’t he die that way?” I don’t see what’s funny about being covered in shit. You can scrub yourself with lemons from here to next Tuesday and you’re not going to get rid of that smell. Yeah, I just can’t look at anything involving bodily fluids or anything fecal. I can joke about it all day long, I just can’t watch it. All poo humor is funny to me. Well, except for the Dirty Sanchez. But that’s just because I think it’s racist. A Dirty Sanchez is when you wipe your crap on somebody’s upper lip, giving them a Frito Bandito shit mustache. I just think that’s rude, using ethnicity to describe a poo lip. Haven’t we’ve evolved past that yet?
PLAYBOY: You clearly know more about disgusting sexual practices than anybody else. We’ve all heard of the Rusty Trombone and the Hot Carl and the Cleveland Steamer. Would you invent a new dirty euphemism for us?
BOB SAGET: Okay, let me think. (Long pause.) The Frowning Salmon. That’s what your penis looks like when you’re being taken out of any kind of surgery. It might also be The Smiling Salmon, depending on your perspective. The hole at the end of your penis – which, if I’m not mistaken, is called a urethra – can either look like a smile or a frown. I’ve seen a lot of penises, I know what’s out there. I haven’t gone up and taken a close look at any of them, even though I’ve recently performed on Broadway and it made me a little fruity. The thing is, if your penis is frowning and you want to turn that frown upside down, you could always take a sharpie pen and, much like a puppeteer, draw a happy face on it. You’re familiar with the Three Stooges, right? I’m a big fan of the Stooges, and I always thought that Shemp’s mouth resembled a urethra. All of the Howard brothers had thin mouths with no lips, but Shemp in particular reminded me of a… oh god, I better just stop while I’m ahead. His family may read this.
PLAYBOY: In The Aristocrats, you told a graphic and disgusting version of the Aristocrats joke, and then you scolded yourself for going too far. Your exact words were, “What the fuck am I doing?” Is that a pretty good reflection of how your brain works?
BOB SAGET: Yes, that’s exactly it. I’m like the 10-year old kid that pulls down his aunt’s pants in the parking lot and then everybody laughs and he feel guilty for doing it and apologizes. It’s part Jewish guilt, part Catholic guilt, part douchebag guilt. And you know what a douchebag is, right? It means that you’re made of vinegar and water and you get to be inside a vagina for a very short time. I’m sorry, that was horrible. See what I did? I apologized for saying something disgusting. I don’t know why I do these things. I’m my own worst critic, which goes along really nicely with my self-loathing. When I say something terrible and somebody says, “That’s not funny, man,” I’ll always apologize and feel bad about it. But then a few seconds later, I’m cracking up and thinking of nine more horrible things to embellish the joke. I just don’t know when to shut up. I know what’s appropriate and what’s not, but I can’t help but push too far, just to find out what people’s thresholds are. Growing up, it was the easiest way for me to make friends, to say the worst thing I could possibly think of.
PLAYBOY: As the longtime host of America’s Funniest Home Videos, you’ve seen it all. What is the funniest way a person can be punched in the nuts?
BOB SAGET: You know what’s weird? I guess I laughed at it the first time, but it got less funny to me when we started adding sound effects. It’s that snapping spring, you know, like the sound they use when Wile E. Coyote hits a wall. I think they call it the zip whiz. The sound effects just turned me off to the humor after awhile. I liked the more naturalistic sounds, like a good “Ugggsh!” That was always good. Or a Jerry Lewis (in a high-pitched voice) “Eiooouweeeee.” That would always make me laugh. To me, the best funny videos have a happy ending. If you’re watching a guy fall in a manhole, your first instinct is to laugh but then you worry that he might be hurt. If he crawls out of the manhole, you got a bigger laugh because he’s not dead. If he’s dead, you should probably call 911. In fact, you definitely should, and I hope you print this. Playboy readers, if you see somebody fall in a manhole, call 911. If they crawl out, laugh your ass off, and then send it into the home video show and you could win ten grand. But to answer your question from twenty minutes ago, my favorite hit-in-the-nuts videos are the ones that don’t look staged. Like, say, a kid punching his own father in the balls. Or perhaps a dog jumping on a man’s balls as hard as it can with the proper paw. But in some cases, if a dog pounces on your balls, that’s considered foreplay.
PLAYBOY: As long as you brought it up, let’s talk about interspecies romance. In your standup act, you frequently perform a now infamous song called “My Dog Licked My Balls.” What’s so funny about bestiality?
BOB SAGET: Bestiality is a weird name for it. It sounds very Roman and archaic. Listen, obviously I’m not being serious. If I, for instance, see a squirrel and I think it’s really attractive, am I really going to try and fuck it? Of course not. Absolutely not. And besides, squirrels are really fast. And even if you caught one, what are you gonna do? It’s not like you could, y’know, do anything sexual with them. You could cause an anal fissure that’s irreparable. And there’s also a possibility, as my mother taught me, that they might have rabies. Having your way with an animal isn’t necessarily cruel. It’s only cruel if, after you’re finished with it, it limps. I want there to be no signs that I’ve been there, you know what I mean? It’s like with the dog licking my balls. It didn’t really traumatize him. And he made the first move. I’m kind of the innocent one here. My dog Allen was a King Charles Spaniel, and Allen… again, I’m not sure if I should be telling you this. I’ve tried to get humor out of this before but it’s so sick there really is no audience for it. Allan was very ill, and I took him for chemo and radiation. He had prostate cancer. Ironically, at the same time my dad had some cancer on his nose. And then I started to get suspicious when my father would come over and Allen would run out of the room. So I put two and two together. I accused my dad of sticking his nose up my dog’s ass. I’m not kidding. He denied it, of course.
PLAYBOY: Speaking of animal sex, your last directorial effort, Farce of the Penguins, was a pseudo-documentary about penguins trying to get laid. Do you consider it a sex romp or a love story?
BOB SAGET: It’s a love story, definitely. It’s about marriage and true friendship and how love can conquer all. I think Tracey Morgan’s character really summed it up best. “It takes a big man to forgive his friend after he busts his woman’s bootyhole open.” The movie isn’t based in reality. I’ve said this before and I can’t stress this enough, penguins only have one hole. They do not do sex in the regular way. They’re birds. Everything goes in and out of the same hole. I actually call it a fooder cooter. By the way, the “bootyhole” line was all Tracey Morgan. I did not write “busts his woman’s bootyhole open.” The exact dialogue was, I think, “accidentally fucks your girlfriend in the ass.” Tracey cleaned it up and made it smarter.
PLAYBOY: Most of your fans are college kids. Do you feel like the wise elder, or the male equivalent of a MILF?
BOB SAGET: Oh, I’m a filthy DILF. I hope I am, anyway. I’m a wanna-be DILF. I have this joke in my standup, girls come up to me and say, “I grew up watching you,” and I say, “Good, now you can go down watching me.” But yeah, it is kinda strange for me. I’ll do a college show and thousands of kids will be there and the girls will be flashing me their tits. And then I’ll show them mine, because my man-boobs are coming in pretty good this year. I’m just getting a lot of positiveness from my audiences that I don’t take lightly. I’ve been through so many ebbs-and-flows in my career, and I know how hard it can be and how many punches you take to the body. When an audience gives me any sort of positive reaction, I just want to fluff ‘em. I want to fluff my audience. Actually, no, I don’t want to fluff my audience, because the truth is, I know where they’ve been. I can smell ‘em from the stage.
PLAYBOY: You were a contestant on The Dating Game in 1979, and you even got picked as the winning bachelor. Is it safe to assume you didn’t say something wildly inappropriate?
BOB SAGET: I was actually on The Dating Game twice. I lost the first time, probably because I told the lady I wanted to fill a sock with meat and have her beat me with it. I’m not making this up. I really said that on The Dating Game. I remember it clearly. “I want to fill a sock with meat and have you beat me with it.” And she just stared off into space, and when I saw it later on television, I thought, “Wow, she’s on to me.” She didn’t vote for me, obviously. She voted for the guy who was the most normal of the group. I did a lot better the second time. But I already had a girlfriend, which was kinda awkward. And really classy, don’t you think? She came to the taping with me. I was really nervous the entire time, because I knew that my girlfriend was in the audience, and I was thinking, “What am I doing?” The girl who picked me just assumed I was available. Why wouldn’t she? We won a romantic vacation to Guatemala, but then a week later they had a civil war and soldiers were opening fire on people as they got off the plane. So we ended up not going on the date, and I got some turtle wax instead.
PLAYBOY: You’re a divorced man in his early 50s. Are you playing the field, or have you given up on the dating scene.
BOB SAGET: I have a girlfriend so I don’t have to worry about dating anymore, thank god. I love women very much and they are my biggest problem. I’m very confused by them. And I desire them in inappropriate ways. I have some pretty unusual fetishes. Like, for instance, the GPS voice on my car. I have a strong desire to mouth-rape her. I’ve never said that before. If this part gets into print, my girlfriend is going to find out exactly how I feel. Well, maybe some good will come of it. Maybe I can talk her into a three-way. Me, my girlfriend, and the GPS woman. Is that even possible? It is in my head, let me tell you. I just fantasize about her saying “make a left” before her voice becomes muffled because, you know… I guess what I’m trying to say is, I want to tea-bag the GPS lady.
PLAYBOY: You had to reschedule this interview because of your colonoscopy. We’d be remiss if we didn’t ask, did you get a clean bill of health?
BOB SAGET: Everything’s fine down there. I don’t have cancer of you ass. I’m 52 now, and my daughter, whose 18, told me it was time to go to the butt doctor. I’ve been feeling a little sick for the past few weeks, which had me worried. Either I was trying to pass a dried apricot from my colon or I’m finally turning into my father. So then I went to the butt doctor, and I said, “My daughters wanted me to go to the butt doctor,” and he said, “That’s not a very nice thing to call me. I’m not saying it’s wrong, but nobody goes to medical school hoping that people will call them a butt doctor.” He told me that he used to do liver transplants, and I said, “Did you take them out of people’s assholes?” And that became our relationship. I don’t know if you’ve ever had a colonoscopy before. They basically drug you and knock you out so that you can take a crap, which is how I spend most of my life anyway. From what I understand, the doctor was trying to loosen me up by massaging my prostate with the nurse’s hand, which I think qualifies as a three-way, I’m not sure. No, no, the doctor doesn’t actually put his fingers inside me, at least not to my knowledge. But you’re out cold so they could’ve put anything in there. For all I know, Verne Troyer could’ve been up my ass. I don’t have to see the butt doctor again for another five years. It’s kind of like doing a comedy special. You just come back with all new stuff inside your bowels.
PLAYBOY: Do you worry about mortality and your own death?
BOB SAGET: All the time. Honest to god. I think that’s one of the reasons I’m such a car wreck. I’m a car hitting a bus hitting a plane at the same time. I’m the high speed car chase that ends in Compton, and then there’s a shoot-out and nine cops accidentally shoot the innocent bystander. There’s what my personality is like. I’ve had a lot of death in my family. Three of my uncles died young – 37, 40, and 42 – and all of heart attacks. Both of my sisters died, at 47 and 34, one from scleroderma and the other of a brain aneurysm, and I was very close with both of them. And my dad, who died last year, had congenital heart failure, but he lasted until 89. So when I got to 40, I started to get a little nervous. To me, hitting 40 was, “Oh, that’s dead uncle age.” But somehow I made it to 52, and now I’m hoping I live a long time, which is why I got the colonoscopy.
PLAYBOY: You’ve said that your late father was one of your biggest influences. Do you mean personally or professionally?
BOB SAGET: A little of both. He was a Depression kid, so he had a very strong work ethic, and he definitely passed that along to me. He always taught me to just work till you drop. I thrive on being with the people I love, but I’m also driven to work very hard. I can’t even sleep unless I’ve accomplished a lot, or I’ve filled a gallon jug of my own semen. That’s my other job, collecting my own genetic fluids. My output is about a gallon a day. My dad also taught me a lot about comedy. He was just nuts, and he knew how to make us laugh during times of trouble. I remember one morning as a kid, I didn’t want to go to school and I was just in a terrible mood about it. So my dad, just to make me laugh, put on a jacket and tie and underpants and black socks and shoes, and he walked out the door. He said good bye to the family, picked up his keys and briefcase, and walked straight out of the front door. I’m glad he remembered his keys. That would’ve been a rough lockout. I was impressed with how he could see the humor in anything. We’ve had a lot of tragedy happen to our family, but he was always able to have that Cheshire Cat grin on his face.
PLAYBOY: Is comedy a coping mechanism for you? Do you tell jokes to shelter yourself from pain?
BOB SAGET: Sometimes, yeah, I guess it is. It definitely has been when I’ve lost people close to me. I remember showing up at a Detroit club called The Comedy Castle. It was a Saturday night and I had two shows, and just before I was supposed to go onstage, my mother called and told me that my sister had died of an aneurysm. I went into shock, obviously. I told her I was getting on a plane, and she said, “No, no, do your shows and come home tomorrow.” It was kinda weird to go out and try to be funny. It felt like I was in denial, but it was also strangely cathartic. At some point in my set, I heard an icemaker drop backstage, really loud, and I said, “Wow, that’s my sister.” The club owner and a few of the other comedians cracked up, but the audience, wow, it was like a flatline. You could hear the straws sucking on the last remnants of ice. To this day, I feel like writing a letter to each and every person in that audience and apologizing. I never told any of them, “Listen, I’m having a rough set tonight because my sister just died.” I just went out there and told jokes that none of them could possibly understand. It was a little easier for my dad’s funeral. It was just a laugh riot. I wish I had another dad so that I could bury him too. It was so much fun. First of all, he died and we didn’t bury him for a week. You know how the Jews like to put their dead relatives on ice. We didn’t freeze him, though we could have. My mother freezes everything. She freezes bagels. We would’ve kept him in the freezer, but there wasn’t enough room because of all the bread items. At the funeral, I gave a speech, kind of a send-off to my dad, and my friend Brad introduced me. He said, “On Ben’s last day on earth” – Ben is my father’s name – “he was watching Bob’s movie, Farce of the Penguins. And Ben’s last words were, ‘For the love of god, somebody turn this off!’” And then I went up and said, “I knew my movie killed, but I had no idea to what extent.”
PLAYBOY: You’ve claimed that your daughters enjoy your filthy sense of humor. Is that true, or do they just tolerate it?
BOB SAGET: I think it’s a little bit of both. I do feel bad when I’ve talked about them in my standup and they’ve been harassed about it. Sometimes strangers will come up to them and say, “Oh I heard what your dad said about you on his HBO special.” Unlike me, my daughters are really savvy and smart. They rarely curse. The only time I’ve heard them curse is while playing video games. They’re not dirty at all to my knowledge, and I’ve installed infrared cameras to try and catch them in the act. But as far as I can tell, they’re very clean and civilized young women. And they never judge me for anything I say on stage, even when it embarrasses them. I’m the only hypocrite in the family. Sometimes if I hear them cursing, I’ll say something like, “Please don’t use words like that.” I really do want to be a good parent, I’m not just pretending. But I know it’s a double-edged sword. How can I be a parent one minute, telling them to “please watch your language,” and the next minute I’m on stage, talking about putting my finger in people’s butts? Thank god my daughters are kind and decent, and they don’t call out my hypocrisy nearly as much as they could.
PLAYBOY: Legend has it that after the birth of your daughter, you told a comedian friend that he could “finger her for a dollar.” That’s just a very sick joke, right? You didn’t really say that, did you?
BOB SAGET: I can’t lie and say it didn’t happen. I guess I could lie, but it’s too late for that now. The thing is, it was a very traumatic birth, and we almost lost my ex-wife. She was in intensive care the entire time. Paul Provenza, who directed The Aristocrats, came to visit me in the hospital. I was holding my baby, and I hadn’t slept and I’d been crying for four days. So obviously I was out of it and I wasn’t thinking clearly and… well… (Sighs deeply.) I don’t know what to say about this. I’m in huge amounts of pain. I know that my daughter and her friends are going to read this, and I don’t want to say anything that might hurt her. But it’s not one of those things I can just ignore and make disappear. I’ve said things I wish I could do over, and this would be at the top of the list. I guess the only thing I can really say in my defense is, I should’ve asked for more than a dollar. It should’ve been at least five bucks. This is my daughter, for god’s sake.
PLAYBOY: Let’s settle another urban myth once and for all. Alanis Morrisette’s bitter breakup anthem, “You Outta Know,” was allegedly about a certain actor on Full House, either you or Dave Coulier. Can you finally come out and admit that you’re Mr. Duplicity?
BOB SAGET: I’m sorry to say that’s not in any way true. I did sleep with a few members of N’ Sync, but that’s something I’d prefer to keep private. I met Alanis a few times and she’s a very, very lovely girl, but I’ve never dated her. To my knowledge, the song was a composite of a couple of people that disappointed her, not just one person. Now, if you’re asking whether I ever had inappropriate sexual relations with Dave Coulier, our relationship was strictly professional. John Stamos and I have held hands. In fact – and this is entirely true – we held hands and I believe my head was on his shoulder during an Elvis impersonator’s act in Vegas. We were up all night and he fed me because I’d had too much to drink. And then we spooned in his hotel room and he woke up in the morning and said to me, “Oh my god, it feels like a piece of shit took a shit in my mouth.” I probably shouldn’t have told you that story because I just got in trouble for telling another story about him and his mom got upset. I need to learn how to shut the fuck up.
PLAYBOY: When a character named “Bob Saget” made a guest appearance on an episode of South Park, were you upset that they didn’t invite you to audition for the part?
BOB SAGET: No, no, not at all. I’m friends with the guys who do that show (Trey Stone and Matt Parker), so I was kind of flattered. It was one of the few times when I watched myself get parodied on TV and I was actually happy about it. The only thing that hurt for a second was when the grandfather character thought I was the funniest thing he’d ever seen. I’m fine with being hazed, but sometimes it cuts too deep and my self-loathing kicks in. I would’ve loved to be on that South Park episode, if only so I could’ve been the one taking shots at myself. Rodney Dangerfield was a friend of mine, and I learned from him that you should always be the first one to make fun of yourself. That’s kinda comedy 101. And I’m an easy guy to make fun of. At least from appearances, people think I look like their cousin, their brother, their dentist, their teacher, their priest. People come up to me all the time and say, “You remind me of the geeky kid at school I used to beat up.” Okay, that’s great, whatever works. I must just have that everyman look, the everyman that people want to beat the shit out of.
PLAYBOY: People seem to love you or hate you; there’s no middle ground. You’re either a comedy genius or the biggest hack in show business history. Does that bother you, or is it better to be hated than ignored?
BOB SAGET: I try to keep the negative out of my life. I’m already hard enough on myself. But I’ll admit, I’m always curious about why people dislike me. I could have ten thousand people love me, but if just two people are saying, “He sucks,” I can get obsessive. How do I suck, exactly? I honestly want to know. I’m not living to please all the people who hate me, but I also want to keep getting better at what I do and learn from my mistakes. When I was a kid, my mom used to say to me, “You know, not everybody in the world is going to like you.” And I’d just look at her and say, “Yeah, but I need names.” And now I have them. Thanks to the world of media, I have a list of everybody who likes me and hates me. It’s no fun to wake up in the morning and open the newspaper and read an article that says, “Bob Saget is a piece of shit.” It’d make more sense just to ignore that stuff and move forward and be as honest as I can and trust my own instincts and my comedy voice. But sometimes I’m still that kid, still saying, “Who doesn’t like me? I need names.”
PLAYBOY: After ten years of doing Full House, can you finally answer the question posed in the show’s theme song? “Whatever happened to predictability? The milk man, the paper boy, evening TV?”
BOB SAGET: I never knew those were the lyrics. I thought it was, “Whatever happened to predictability? The milk man, the paper boy, they’ve all been with me. Everywhere you look there’s a man to hold on to.” That’s honestly what I thought the lyrics were. “When you’re out there and you’re all alone, there’s some guy waiting to carry you home.” I thought it was warning children to be fearful of older men. I mean c’mon, Full House was a show about three straight guys living in a house with three young girls. The whole thing felt dangerous to me. “Everywhere you look there’s a hand to hold on to?” Not in prison there isn’t.
(This story originally appeared, in a slightly different form, in the May, 2008 issue of Playboy magazine.)