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January 23, 2007

U of C spends wild night with Bob Saget

“Ew, and why?” A valid question Bob Saget himself posed midway through his performance in Mandel Hall. Saget, known during the ’90s as wholesome father-figure Danny Tanner on Full House and hokey host of America’s Funniest Home Videos, came to the U of C campus Sunday for the winter MAB show. But anyone expecting Danny Tanner would have had her childhood destroyed, or in the world of Bob Saget, defecated on.

Defecation, especially on other people, offers a nice sample of Saget’s performance. “Poo humor,” as he referred to it, was prevalent. The only topic that overshadowed it was sex. And I don’t mean sex in a traditional sense as a loving act between two people. Bob Saget sex is much broader than that and includes, but is not limited to, sex with animals and family members.

If that sort of talk makes you uncomfortable, then Saget would probably think he was doing a good job. His humor relies heavily on shock value. His raunchy comedy builds off of the roles that made him famous. Without knowledge of his family-oriented shows, Saget would probably come across as more inappropriate-verging-on-offensive than funny.

But, to give credit where credit is due, Bob Saget was funny. Overall, he was well received. The crowd even gave him a standing ovation. Yes, he is offensive: Feminists, gay-rights advocates, and Jews would have been horrified. In fact, any civilized person should have been found his overly un-PC performance abominable. Yet by making his comedy so over-the-top, Saget seems to make it acceptable to laugh at. He knew he was taking his jokes too far. He apologized more than once, claiming that he wouldn’t get any dirtier. But that was only to make the next thing he said that much more shocking. And as wildly inappropriate as his jokes were, the dirty jokes were often the funniest. When Saget tried to go the route of a legitimate comedian, discussing family and telling stories, he fell short. His cell-phone bit was stranger than it was funny. Talking about his daughters made him seem like an average, outdated dad confused by the world of teenage girls. Even sexual humor about his parents seemed generic. He still got laughs, but it was clear that the funniest material was that which either involved poking fun at his past or the U of C students filling the house.

Audience interaction was arguably the best part of Saget’s show. He was not afraid of engaging in conversation with an audience member, and he had no reservations about making fun of anyone. What he had planned was funny, but his reactions to the audience’s responses were even funnier. In fact, Saget’s improvisation was some of his best work, proving that he is a witty and talented comedian.

Obliging and good-humored audience member Michael became victim to Saget’s dirty jokes. For about a good ten minutes Saget went through a long list of animals that he “assume[d]” Michael would or does have sex with. While the animal jokes were funny, they unfortunately sounded a bit too rehearsed. He even seemed to stumble through his goat segment, although he recovered smoothly.

Even after moving on from Michael, Saget continued to bounce back to him with jokes about animal sex. Comedians often employ recurring jokes, but Saget has mastered it.

Interspecies erotica is not the only thing Saget laid into Michael about. He eventually added Michael’s friend Lee to the mix, implying that the two of them were engaged in a gay relationship. But Michael and Lee got off easy compared to Scott.

Scott (who was foolish enough to give his full name, but I’ll spare him) was a tad (read: very) inebriated. And that’s not speculation on my part, the dear boy admitted to it. Scott, in his impaired state, admitted, to all of Mandel Hall, that he has been shaving somewhere other than his face since “age twelve,” which was more information than anyone needed to know.

After that tidbit of information, Scott’s contribution to the performance only got better. Saget referred to him as a “wild card” because of the way he would randomly shout out things. Sometimes these things were positive, sometimes negative, sometimes irrelevant, and not surprisingly, sometimes incoherent. Instead of getting frustrated with the outbursts, though, Saget used them, and very well. His improvisation and comedic timing were exemplified in how he handled Scott. He even managed to get the audience to sing about Scott during his guitar segment.

Overall, Saget’s show was a crowd-pleasing blend of more traditional comic elements—good timing, repeated jokes and lines, stupid songs on the guitar—and the foul-mouthed comedy that he has come to be known for in recent years. He explained the effect of his brief cameo in Half Baked and even gave a modified version of the infamous Aristocrats joke.

Due to the indecent nature of most of Saget’s jokes, it’s hard to really review, in detail, his performance. If you missed it, you missed obscene jokes about: E.T. (I can now never watch that movie), Castro, Canada, vampires, Sméagol, O.J. Simpson, and many more. And if you caught the show, you probably felt the need to go home and shower afterwards. Don’t worry: You weren’t alone.