Bob Saget is 'Dirty Daddy'

Bob Saget. (WENN)

Bob Saget. (WENN)

Jim Slotek, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 4:54 PM ET

Over the phone with Bob Saget I offer a quick, flip critique of his autobiography Dirty Daddy.

"It's actually a pretty quick read once your brain starts to filter out all the d--- jokes and digressions," I tell him.

There's something sweet about getting a laugh out of a comedian. They usually don't even laugh at each other.

"That's what I was originally going to call it," Saget says after a chuckle, 'D--- jokes and Digressions.' "

And then he turns serious. "It's an interesting thing. Those are obviously there, but it's usually something I tossed in at a really painful moment. Someone is dying or some terrible things happen."

His ultimate deflection was the real-life worst-thing-he-ever-said. That's quite a claim if you know that Saget, the huggy dad from Full House (with daughters played by Candace Cameron, Jodie Sweetin and the Olsen twins), actually worked bluer than almost anybody on the comedy circuit.

The occasion was the real-life birth of his first daughter, with complications that almost killed his now ex-wife. Comic Paul Provenza came to visit him, as he was holding the newborn and his wife was recovering from a coma. Provenza commented on his beautiful baby.

What did Saget say? We can't say. Go ahead and Google it, but consider yourself warned.

"It's the only chapter of the book I gave to anyone besides my editor," Saget says. "I sent it to my ex-wife and to my oldest daughter, that particular 5,000 word chapter." Both encouraged him to use it.

"That something so heinous could be said by somebody, me, at such a traumatic moment, I had all kinds of second thoughts. My ex-wife was actually quite helpful. She said, 'You have to tell the story because it's how you dealt with stuff. It's in poor taste, but nobody could be a better father.' "

The aforementioned Provenza would later cast Saget, appropriately, in The Aristocrats, the documentary he directed about the world's dirtiest joke, revealingly told and retold in signature style by scores of famous comics. Most who've seen it agree Saget's version is the winner. He even stops on camera and wonders if he's gone too far.

So for people who knew Saget as someone other than Danny Tanner, the nebbish dad on Full House (or the host of America's Funniest Home Videos), the contrast was hysterical. He admits he does not have a face for controversy. "I look like your dentist's assistant."

But the pain Saget deflects in Dirty Daddy is real. The first third of the book covers an itinerant childhood with a salesman dad, and the early deaths of favourite uncles and of his two sisters.

Dirty Daddy was his second try at an autobiography. "I'd written 13,000 words for another treatment that didn't feel like me. This one started to come out, because of the truth in it. And the truth is we had a lot of death in our family and we dealt with it through comedy. That seemed like a natural thing to talk about. Everybody goes through it. This book is not a sad book, it's an uplifting book."

Even so, he admits he was a deadline pusher. "It's like the movie Adaptation -- three days of solid writing, sitting at the laptop, worrying it's going to cook my testicles.

"I kept that old computer to the end, I needed to hear that hard drive grumbling and growling.

"Later, when the book was done, I got a better laptop and it was too light. It wasn't grinding my junk properly."

Being "the luckiest man on television" -- with two top-10 shows -- came relatively late in life for Saget. There were years of mixing his unfiltered patter with some of the dumbest sight gags he could think of.

There was, for example, his bit where he played While My Guitar Gently Weeps, on an acoustic with a sprinkler installed in it. It bombed worst at a booking in Toronto. "It was at Maple Leaf Gardens opening for Max Webster. Onstage, nobody could see water was coming out of it.

"I tested the mic, got an electric shock and over the mic I said to Michael Cohl (the promoter), 'Can I leave now?' Happily, he said yes."

Hollywood-style success might have come a little earlier but for Saget's mouth. On the strength of his patter and nice face, he was briefly hired as a co-host of an early '80s version of The CBS Morning News with Mariette Hartley and Rolland Smith.

"There was a segment on Type A personalities, and Mariette said, 'Are you a Type A personality, Bob?' And I said, 'Yes, but I'm working on my A-ness.'

"And she said, 'Go to your room!'

"I ended up behind a flat on the set which I couldn't leave for 10 minutes. And the next day my chair was gone."

These are the best of times, Saget professes, because people know what they're getting with him. "People ask, 'Are you still shocking people?' I say, 'No, because Full House was only on for eight seasons. People have been seeing the standup longer than they've been seeing Full House.' "

So no more grandmas keeling over in shock?

"No. Now they're hitting on me."


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