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The Jewish Goodbye is the Problem: Bob Saget’s Take on Comedy and JDate

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The Jewish Goodbye is the Problem: Bob Saget's take on comedy and JDate

JDate interviews Bob Saget about comedy, dating and his new HBO special, That Ain’t Right, premiering August 25th.

JDATE: Tell us about your upcoming HBO special, That Ain’t Right and how it came about.

BOB SAGET: I’m really excited about it. It is really dirty. I don’t want to offend people so they shouldn’t go get it for their kids to see the dad from Full House. I’ve been doing stand-up for 30 years and it keeps me anchored to my roots. As a comic, you work in whatever medium you’re in — it’s like feeding the beast. In my case, I’ve worked in several different mediums. I started with a morning program on CBS, then I did a Richard Pryor movie and then I got Full House and then a year later, America’s Funniest Home Videos. Those last two projects had a character that was very family oriented. Danny Tanner on Full House was the antithesis of the Jewish male. I actually had to say grace once on Full House and I couldn’t get through it. I was laughing really hard because I wanted to hide a matzo in the house somewhere.I actually had to say grace once on Full House and I couldn’t get through it. I was laughing really hard because I wanted to hide a matzo in the house somewhere.

That Ain’t Right is basically me talking about what I always talk about; relationships, ex-girlfriends, my ex-wife, my three daughters, my parents and people’s perception of me from my television shows. It really does go through all the beats of Ray Romano’s material, except it has an R-rated bend to it and I do a few songs at the end of the show.

JDATE: What kind of reactions do you get from people who see your stand-up act and are used to Danny Tanner or America’s Funniest Home Videos?

BOB: I’m really lucky that people come to see me as a stand up, whether it’s a couple thousand people in a theatre or at a college. They know there’s something very nasty and also quite innocent about my material — it’s an innocuous kind of vulgarity. It’s not meant to offend, it’s meant to be like “Hey, I’m 10 years old, I learned all these bad words, want to hear them?” I’m a very immature guy who never really grew up and women control my entire life. But it’s a fun duality. The character has kind of created itself.

JDATE: How do your daughters react when they see you on-screen?

BOB: They get excited because they have been taught by their mom and me to find their own voice. My daughters are very artistic and do a lot of amazing stuff. My oldest is a painter and is spending the summer in Europe, my middle daughter just finished doing community service in Brazil and my youngest is a writer. I was out last night with my girlfriend and my daughters and we talked about the meaning of life, and our different views on art and movies. And of course, it ended up in an argument because we’re Jewish.

JDATE: Did you meet your girlfriend on JDate?We talked about the meaning of life, and our different views on art and movies. And of course, it ended up in an argument because we’re Jewish.

BOB: No, but we double-dated with a couple a few of weeks ago that met on JDate. They starting talking to each other offline and now they’re married and about to have a baby.

JDATE: Have you ever tried JDate?

BOB: No, because if I did and said that it was me, people would never believe that the guy from “the video show” was looking for someone online. I’ve been divorced for 10 years and went through a period of dating, but I prefer to meet people though other people. But I do know people that have met through JDate and have had successful relationships. When the couple told us that they met on JDate, my girlfriend and I were like, “That’s so cool.”

JDATE: You may not have used JDate, but you were on the Dating Game in 1979?

BOB: That’s true, I was on twice when I was dating my ex-wife. We were very young and moved out to L.A. and I was trying to get on television. The shows producer, Chuck Barris, paid $400 to $500 bucks to appear on the show, so there were a lot of young actors that appeared on it, like Tom Selleck and John Ritter. I was such a class act, that while I was on the show, my girlfriend sat and watched from the audience.

JDATE: How did you do on the Dating Game?

BOB: The first time I was on, I won. The prize was a chaperoned date in Guatemala and a box of turtle wax. I’ve never used the turtle wax or the date, because a week later there was a civil war in Guatemala. So if it was accurate in his book [Confessions of a Dangerous Mind], that Chuck Barris was truly a CIA Operative, I don’t know why he would hook up a trip to Guatemala. But the whole trip seemed very under the radar — the chaperone would have had to wear a bullet-proof vest.

JDATE: How has being Jewish affected your comedy?

BOB: I think there is a certain comedic timing that comes with the heritage. Rodney Dangerfield was a friend of mine and he said that “stand-up comedy is like being at the border during World War II and the guard shines a light on you and you do six minutes and you make them laugh — and he lets you go.” Which is an optimistic scenario actually, coming from Rodney.

I love Lewis Black; he’s an example of incredible timing and attitude. He says things honestly from his own point of view.

There’s something inherent in the intelligent Jewish comedic writers like Woody Allen and Neil Simon. I’m sure a lot of it comes from the osmosis of Jewish timing and Jewish writing. There’s a certain rhythm to their timing, where most comics are playing tennis – Jewish timing is more like ping pong.

JDATE: Do you have any advice to give to our JDate members?I guess before you go online; you just need to go to therapy.

BOB: Relationships start with physical attraction, but when it comes down to it, you should ask yourself, “Does this person stimulate me mentally, physically and monetarily?” Honestly, I think that listening is the hardest thing to do. Now that I’m 51, the most valuable thing I’ve learned is that I wish I had been a better listener. Listening helps relationships move forward, and also exposes the relationships that shouldn’t move forward.

The real problem I have with being culturally Jewish is that I talk nine times more than I need to. And there’s the Jewish goodbye too, which we’re having right now. When someone says, “Okay, I’ll talk to you later,” and then the other person doesn’t stop talking.

The Jewish goodbye is the problem with ending this interview and it’s also the key to dating. If someone’s trying to meet someone on JDate, the more they can cut down the goodbye and shorten it — the better they will come off to that person. And you don’t want to fake it, so I guess before you go online; you just need to go to therapy.

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