There was a time, before his appearance in the wonderfully vulgar comedy documentary The Aristocrats in 2005 and his Comedy Central Roast in 2008, when the idea that Bob Saget was actually a remarkably foul-mouthed comedian was shocking to many people, and Saget probably did a little too much overcompensating for his image as the wholesome sitcom dad on Full House and the avuncular host of America’s Funniest Home Videos. At this point Saget’s family-friendly days are far behind him, and the occasional mainstream hosting gig notwithstanding, he’s known primarily for his raunchy comedy side. The kids who grew up watching Saget on TV are now in their 20s and 30s and eager to hear the former Danny Tanner get nasty.
During his show at the Orleans Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas Saget got plenty nasty, but he did it in such a friendly, open way that the vulgarity was playful and endearing. If he was once ashamed of his corny TV past, Saget’s clearly come to terms with it, and he was generous with the Full House and America’s Funniest Home Videos references, making it clear how ridiculous he thought those shows were but also never insulting them or the people who worked on them. He told warm, self-deprecating stories about hanging out with Full House co-stars John Stamos and Dave Coulier, emphasizing their strong friendship over the years. Sure, the centerpiece anecdote involved Coulier sticking his penis through a hole in one of Stamos’s headshots and then getting Stamos to stick his tongue through the same hole, but it was delivered with the affection of old friends kidding around with each other out of love.
Saget’s affection wasn’t reserved for his former TV co-stars, either. He repeatedly cited his respect for Don Rickles, but his interaction with the crowd was the opposite of insulting and was seamlessly integrated into the show from beginning to end. Saget picked out a handful of people and did some standard back-and-forths (“Where are you from?” “What hotel are you staying at?”), but then went off on a bunch of odd tangents based on the awkward and/or inebriated responses from the various audience members. It contributed wonderfully to the laid-back, hangout vibe of the show, so much so that people seemed completely comfortable just shouting out input at all times. “Great, now they’re all going to talk to me,” Saget groaned at one point, but he managed to make every random outburst into part of the show.
Saget wasn’t even afraid of being upstaged by the audience, as when he asked one man in the crowd where he was going after the show. “The Smash Club,” the guy said enthusiastically, to some applause. Saget, perhaps familiar with Vegas nightlife, asked genuinely, “Is that a real place?” before getting the smackdown from multiple audience members: “It’s from Full House!” Saget hung his head in shame, and the crowd went nuts. Of course they knew more about Full House than he did, and of course they loved it.
That was the way it went all night, like hanging out with your cool uncle who lets you use swear words and tells you stories your parents don’t want you to hear. Saget appealed to the grown-up naughty kids who watched Full House with plenty of fart and poop jokes (probably too many, really), and used the word “wiener” a lot. He was quite the master of the tossed-off aside (“My mom’s a good guy,” “My daughters are old now—82, 83.”), and even when some of his jokes weren’t all that funny, he sold them thanks to the rapport he’d built up with the crowd. He even told some musty old chestnuts that he said were handed down from his dad and got laughs from them via sheer goodwill.
The last portion of the show was devoted to Saget’s musical, um, abilities, and there again he was like the goofy uncle who can’t stop entertaining. Saget certainly isn’t a talented guitar player or singer or even a very effective song parodist, but his half-formed little novelty tunes like “My Dog Licked My Balls” (which inspired an audience sing-along) and the Full House-focused “Danny Tanner Is Not Gay” (set to the tune of the Backstreet Boys’ “I Want It That Way”) were fun in a campfire-song kind of way. Saget kept jovially apologizing for the inappropriateness of the subject matter, which just made it that much funnier. He might have gotten the most mileage of all out of a song even older than his dad’s vintage jokes, a folk tune with comical puns about swear words that’s commonly performed at Renaissance Faires. “I’m feeling very casual right now,” Saget declared in between songs, and clearly so was everyone else.