With more than 40 years in the entertainment business, Bob Saget is something of a comedic renaissance man these days.
The Philadelphia native recently turned 60, and continues to have his hands in everything from feature films with a part in the recently released A Stand Up Guy to his autobiography, Dirty Daddy: The Chronicles of a Family Man Turned Filthy Comedian. He's now hard at work on the second season of Netflix's Fuller House, which started production earlier this year.
Now, Saget focuses his attention once again on one of his first loves: stand-up comedy. The funnyman will be back in the area for an all-new performance at The Music Box at the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa on Saturday, July 9.
Philly.com: Years ago, you got your start here in Philly with a little help from Stephen Starr. How did that relationship develop?
Bob Saget: Stephen had a club called Stars, and he invited me and allowed me to open for people. He had me opening for Frank Stallone and [his band] Valentine, which, if you're opening at Second and Bainbridge, you can't get more appropriate.
He could not have been more kind. It was like were related or something. He was literally the first person that booked me of significance. Somehow people with good sense thought that I had It, and I don't understand — I was such a hack.
PC: Well, at the time you were doing stuff like singing songs about bondage. It is a little unusual for a teenager to be such a big BDSM fan.
BS: Oh, yeah. It's crazy. I was 17, and I had won a radio contest with WMMR at a club called Grandma Minnie's. I won this radio contest singing a song about bondage. A 17-year-old singing a song about bondage. I learned that I have not grown since that day.
I would sing that, and I sang a song called "She's A Man." Ironically, I was ahead of my time. The lyrics were, "Masochists and sadists unite one and all, bondage is the rage, let's have a ball." There wasn't even a joke. It was a cheerleading song about bondage.
PC: And it was after the contest that you really dug into stand-up? Or were there other pursuits?
BS: I always did three things at once. I would do stand up and then I would go do improv comedy at the University of Pennsylvania, and then I was a film student at Temple. Most of my time was spent shooting film. When I was 21 I won a Student Academy Award for Through Adam's Eyes, a movie about my nephew who had his face reconstructed.
PC: That was filmed at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, right? How did the idea for that piece develop?
BS: My mother was an administrative assistant to one of the head doctors at CHOP who was responsible for getting people grants so they could get surgeries like that. It was a very complex surgery because they rebuilt his face. It was told through his voice, so Adam narrated it, and he was 7 at the time. I felt it was pretty serious to film your own nephew going into this, and I never realized the intensity of it until I recently watched it and went, "Wow man! What were you thinking?"
PC: And how is Adam now?
BS: He's doing really well. He lives in L.A. He's a successful real estate guy and it's actually a really good time for my family right now, because everyone else died. Well, now that everyone's died, my kids and I can have a heyday.
PC: What can fans expect at your stop at the Borgata this week?
BS: Every time I play Borgata it's so much freaking fun. I don't know, I'll probably say some terrible things. I'm made the way I'm made. When I go play the Borgata they want me to be a pitbull. You get your mixture.
PC: Did writing your book, Dirty Daddy, alter your approach to stand-up at all?
BS: It really did. It was a way of learning to talk more. Dirty Daddy is one long conversation. It's like you pick up the phone, and Bob's on the phone, and he talks for 7 hours with a couple of pauses. I always say that the book is what I use if I ever wanted to put a girl to sleep. Just play the audiobook for her. That's the most lascivious thing I would do.
PC: It seems that folks perceive your act as more personal in some ways these days. What do you think has caused that?
BS: Whenever you do stand-up, you find out where you're at. I lost my mom two years ago and I talk about that. I'm talking about things that are just more real than before. I don't like talking about religion or politics — it's a bad date. It's so funny, I just turned 60 and I feel like I'm just figuring it out now. I'm not as shocking an act because everything is dirtier than me. South Park and Family Guy are dirtier than me now.
PC: Which is why it's so interesting to see that shock towards your material.
BS: People only have so many ways to profile somebody, and they don't change those ways except every 15 years. Truth is, I don't like being censored, and I believe in freedom of speech. I do what I find funny, and I sometimes do what some people could be offended by almost on purpose. Censorship just drives me out of my mind. It makes me want to say something wrong.