September 21st 2018, Leicester Square Theatre, London.
I’d never seen any of Bob Saget’s stand up before, and bar that he was the narrator for How I Met Your Mother, and his touching appearance in the superb The Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling, I knew little about him. However my partner’s an enormous fan of Full (and Fuller) House, and so when the gig was announced tickets were bought. As soon as he took to the stage it became clear that Bob’s a very confident and likeable performer, chatting with the crowd and trading off the idea that he’s the lovable sitcom Dad from Full House who does blue material on stage.
It’s largely inoffensive and likeable stuff, but boy does he like his dick jokes. Which isn’t always a problem, some of them are pretty funny and well constructed, but it feels a shame in some ways as when he’s not doing cock related material he’s much funnier. His best work involves a fair bit of name dropping (which Bob admits himself) and leads to some great anecdotes from his career, including the time he met Steven Spielberg only for his daughter to mess things up, whilst his stories about appearing against type in the Dave Chappelle film Half Baked and the HBO series Entourage made myself and the audience laugh a great deal. Surprisingly there’s little relating to Full House, though it’s occasionally referred to, but that may be due to the fact that it wasn’t a hit show over here in the UK. Or maybe just because he’s done that in the past a lot and is now moving on to new material.
He also has some great jokes about about his parents and growing up in the sixties, with the gags about his mother being particularly strong, and throughout the gig he does some great crowd work, even though one audience member, an American called Josh, started to annoy and liked the sound of his voice far too much. Saget controlled him well though, and even got him up on stage at one point for a segment that was fairly fun even if it went on for a little too long.
For the final half hour he brought out his guitar and to be honest the songs were a mixed bag. There were a few which made me smile, and his comments on well known songs like American Pie were amusing, but problematically there’s a song about a man transitioning to a woman which relied on lazy and tedious gags. There’s a line in it about respecting this individual, and yet it didn’t seem like it considering the rest of the lyrics. My partner told me he’s been doing it for a fair old time, and well, it’s time to stop. It’s a real shame as up until that point I’d been really enjoying the gig, and Saget did enough afterwards to bring me back on side, but it spoilt an evening that up until that point I’d been thoroughly enjoying.
By the end of the night Saget seemed genuinely touched by the audience’s reaction, which included two standing ovations, and invited everyone out to meet him in the foyer afterwards for a quick chat and photo which he claims he never normally does. Whether that’s true or not when I met him he seemed to be a very friendly and charismatic individual, so I’m going to be optimistic and suggest that the transitioning song is just an error of judgement and that if you’re able to ignore such a thing, you’ll enjoy his comedy very much. But in the future I really hope he drops it from his set.