‘Hey, it’s your friend Bob Saget here.’ Amid coronavirus, comedian wants to talk to you
A little more than a month ago, comedian Bob Saget was gearing up to debut an hour of new material on his stand-up tour “to make people feel better during all of the anger that was going on in our country.”
“And then it turned into this.”
“I was supposed to be on the road and pulled out at the last minute, the night before I was supposed to go to Vancouver, and canceled my Canada tour,” Saget said on the phone recently from his home in Los Angeles. “They were upset at first, but then the next day they closed Calgary, so ... I couldn’t perform anywhere, and it would have been wrong. And it was just very, very strange.”
Now more than ever, the “Fuller House” star is on a mission to make people feel better — just through a different, CDC-approved medium. Monday marks the premiere of his new Studio71 podcast, “Bob Saget’s Here for You,” which invites fans to call in with any stories, comments, concerns and, yes, even “Full House” questions they may have.
New episodes are set to launch every Monday, Wednesday and Friday for the first two weeks, followed by a regular Monday/Thursday schedule.
“I’ve always had a thing with people that I could talk to them like I know them already, and I’m in a place in my life where people feel like they know me already,” Saget told The Times. “It’s amazing what my takeaway is from it. It’s so rewarding.”
And judging by their starstruck reactions —"This is crazy!” and “this is making my day,” they tell Saget when he calls them back — it’s safe to say the lucky callers are benefiting from the brief chats as well.
Anyone is welcome to dial (562) 600-0343 and leave a message in Saget’s podcast mailbox for a callback. “Hey, it’s your friend Bob Saget here,” he says in his recorded greeting. And no topic is off limits. Well, almost.
“If someone leaves a message and says, ‘I hate you,’ ‘You ruined my life,’ ‘You stole my wife’ or whatever — that would be destroyed,” Saget joked. “That would not be a person I would call.”
The actor has already engaged in hours of conversation, answering burning “Full House” queries, offering comedy advice, acting as a mediator for quarantined couples and comforting those who have lost loved ones to COVID-19.
The Times’ Christina Schoellkopf describes saying goodbye to her grandfather in hospice care, under the restraints of social distancing.
True to Saget’s stream-of-consciousness style, each interaction is unscripted and sounds more like a catch-up between old friends. In between calls, Saget sprinkles in some of his lewd comedy bits too.
“People are really communicating with me and I’m doing the same,” he said. “They all have stuff to talk about. ... My audience goes from [ages] 15 to 90.”
One caller who particularly stood out in Saget’s memory was a nurse who has a child with autism and just “wanted to laugh.” The host was happy to be of service.
“She had such a bravery in how she was approaching it all,” he recalled. “It was very, very touching. Because she’s out there trying to save people’s lives. And ... when she said, ‘You just made my day,’ ... it was hard not to cry.”
With “Bob Saget’s Here for You,” the “Entourage” alum joins a rapidly growing slate of entertainers he admires — such as Jimmy Kimmel, John Oliver and John Krasinski — finding various ways to cheer people up during this scary time.
“There’s nothing you can do but give the pandemic streaming award to John Krasinski,” Saget said, referencing last week’s episode of “The Office” alum’s hit YouTube show, “Some Good News,” which reunited the cast of “Hamilton” via Zoom to surprise a 9-year-old superfan.
Much like Krasinski, Saget has tapped a few industry connections for his quarantine content, chatting with John Stamos, Tiffany Haddish, John Mayer, Macaulay Culkin, Bill Burr, Howie Mandel and more.
“The people I’m talking to, it gets pretty deep,” Saget said. “I was able to have a conversation with Macaulay that I don’t know he’s had with a lot of people. And I’m not looking for it. I’m not doing a probing interview. I’m having a conversation with a friend.”
When not recording at his “state-of-the-art” home podcast board, Saget has found plenty of other ways to keep himself and others entertained during the lockdown — participating in Norman Lear’s newly virtual cigar nights, pitching TV projects to networks via Zoom and binge-watching Netflix with his wife.
Earlier this week, the couple had powered through the first two seasons of “The Crown,” “Tiger King” and “Love Is Blind” — the absurdist reality dating show Saget swears he “wouldn’t have watched if I wasn’t trapped.” Up next? “Ozark,” starring Laura Linney and Jason Bateman.
As quarantine and stay-at-home orders trap people indoors, the olds are infiltrating the youth-driven world of the TikTok dance challenge.
Breaking generational barriers, the 63-year-old TV icon also has been active on TikTok, where he recently staged a mini “Full House” reunion to promote social distancing. The viral video — which started with a group text among Saget, Stamos, Candace Cameron Bure, Jodie Sweetin and others — features members of the original cast performing a “Full Quarantine” version of the series’ beloved opening theme.
“Sometimes we’ll just start texting, and it’ll turn into everybody,” Saget said, noting that the video was cut by Cameron Bure’s 21-year-old daughter. “John Stamos is going, ‘Is the video ready?’ and Candace says, ‘No, Natasha’s got something to do for the next couple of hours.’ And John’s like, ‘Well, we need it!’ It was hilarious, the conversations that went into making it.”
But while Saget’s TikTok creations are nostalgic and fun, it’s his unofficial podcast therapy sessions that allow him to connect with fans on a more personal level, doing what he can to cure some of the outbreak-induced uncertainty with a little humor.
After all, the comedian, actor, director, New York Times bestselling author and podcast host always felt like he was really “born to be a doctor.”
“I guess this is me being a doctor in my own way,” he said. “I can’t wait to talk to people later today.”
For his latest “Some Good News” trick, John Krasinski is inviting high school students who lost their prom to coronavirus to a virtual dance party.
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