As evidenced by his two distinct public personas -- the hugs-and-kisses dad from "Full House" and the particularly lewd stand-up comic -- Bob Saget enjoys playing with expectations.
So instead of trotting out yet another reality show that follows around a celebrity in his pseudopersonal life, Saget forges a different path in his new A&E Network series, "Strange Days With Bob Saget," premiering Tuesday, Nov. 30. In the tradition of journalists/documentarians George Plimpton and Louis Theroux, Saget explores subcultures and experiences that have always intrigued him -- from camping out with Bigfoot hunters in the Pacific Northwest to rushing a fraternity at Cornell University.
"I had this idea 10 years ago, and I really wanted to do it," he says. "(Back then) I think it would have been a more fame-oriented show, whereas this is the opposite. I wanted to go and see what cultures I might have been afraid of or not known. I mean, I was scared climbing up and going zip-lining at camp, and it took me back to my 9-year-old fear, because I never went to camp."
He's referring to an episode in which he trains to become a counselor at a summer camp for kids. Other adventures include a stint in the Lucha Libre wrestling circuit, a 1,400-mile road trip with a group of hard-core bikers -- with Saget riding in the sidecar -- and a journey through Las Vegas, during which he teams with fellow comedian Jeffrey Ross in retracing Hunter S. Thompson's legendary "Fear and Loathing" odyssey.
His popularity as a comedian certainly opened some doors for the show, but it also made some potential participants skittish that Saget was out to make fun of them. He insists that isn't the case.
"This show is right in between the nastier HBO me and the me that does commercial television," he says. "I'm able to do what I want to do, and the people aren't offended by it because they kind of get it. Enough people think I'm funny that I'm allowed to be trusted that I'm not going to haze them."