I went and saw Bob Saget’s standup last night at The Moore, and it was one of the least laugh-inducing 45 minutes I’ve ever sat through. His opening act however was fantastic – I’d definitely recommend checking out Ryan Stout, who should have a Comedy Central special coming out soon.
For those who don’t know, Bob Saget’s standup is known for being dirty and edgy – in stark contrast to his persona on America’s Funniest Home Videos and his character Danny Tanner on Full House. The problem is, although his material is marginally dirty it’s not actually edgy or interesting. He spent more time warning us about the offensive things he was about to say, and very little time saying them. He was coasting on his reputation as a screen star for the whole time, without providing the audience with any clever or original material. His act included:
- A series of jokes about the movie Titanic. Yes, it’s 2009 and evidently that passes for topical, relevant humor. He even made a joke about how predictable the ending was. That joke was tired even before the movie was released… 13 years ago.
- He must have thought that edgy Titanic material was quite funny, because he made callbacks to it throughout the rest of the set. It was brutal. Just as I hoped we were going to move past it, he kept bringing it up again.
- A number of jokes he told which “his father told him as a kid” which were funny, but they weren’t his. They’re just old jokes. He repurposed them by wrapping them in a story about how young he was when his father told them to him. So, picturing a young kid hearing them was, I suppose, the originality he added.
- A few anecdotes about “Uncle Jesse” and Dave Coulier which might have been amusing if they were bigger stars, but it’s tough to be captivated about a story about how some B-List stars got offended by Bob Saget’s zany antics.
- His whole act was a little Robin Williams-ish, in that he was talking a mile-a-minute, and wouldn’t stay on topic. He’d start telling a joke, then it would remind him of something else, and something else, and you almost forgot what he was trying to talk about by the time he got back to it. Perhaps that was for the best, because there was no punchline to be found in any of it.
- He made a lot of mistakes. He would mispronounce a word, and then make a joke about how that’s not a word, and laugh at himself, and we were all supposed to laugh along with him. I wouldn’t normally think this was a big deal, but I found it oddly smug. When Robert Plant sings a lyric incorrectly, that is funny. He’s a legend, and when he slips up it’s amusing because he’s so great that you know you’ve witnessed a one-off mistake from an amazing musician. However, when a guy gets up there and tells a series of boring jokes, and then screws them up, there isn’t a joke there. Laughing is like an acknowledgment that he’s earned the right to screw up, based on his prior comedic success.
Anyhow, if Bob Saget comes to town I’d recommend skipping him. But, keep your eyes peeled for Ryan Stout. His jokes are brutal and hilarious. A few drunk fans even heckled him, and his responses were scathing and well-delivered.