“Right now, the world needs comedy
more than ever.
 
– Bob Saget

We all have our unique talents that, when used right, could impact and heal the world. Someone who is an excellent epitome of that is Bob Saget, a hilarious and talented actor and comedian, New York Times bestselling author and director.  In this episode, Bob goes deep into the power of comedy and what it has brought to him and the world, particularly on the side of finding a cure to a rare autoimmune disease called Scleroderma. Having experienced the loss of his sister because of it, he has used his personal platform for awareness and visibility, working not only to make laughs, but also, to entertain with meaning. He speaks to us about his Cool Comedy Hot Cuisine fundraiser that benefits the Scleroderma Research Foundation—the event featured some of the most prominent names in the industry. Listen in as Bob shares how he went from fighting for his career to leveraging the power of his global platform for a cause close to his heart.
 

Listen to the podcast here:

TUNE-IN TO HEAR:

  • About Scleroderma, what it is and how we can help fight it.
  • How PR has played an integral part of raising $40 million for the cause.
  • How your connections and friendships help with your mission.
  • Bob’s uncanny ability to simultaneously appeal to two different audiences.
  • The advice that he got from Rodney Dangerfield on how to succeed in life.

Show Transcript:

Bob Saget: Comedic Superpowers & Impacting The Greater Good

It’s time for some shout-outs before we get started here. This is a part of the show that I love doing because it allows me to connect with you directly. I love hearing what’s working for you, what your takeaways are, what you want more of. It lets us know we’re on track and that we’re delivering what we’re setting out to do here, which is mainly to inspire people. Let’s start with Brian Pataka. He gave us five stars and said, “Spiritual entrepreneurs unite. Heather does a great job of balancing entertaining you while digging deep into helping you further your mission and make a greater impact. SHE HAS THE BEST GUESTS.” Thank you, Brian. I’m glad you’re enjoying them as much as I have been. This episode is going to blow your socks off too. We’ve got a good one. It’s been quite the journey in terms of booking the guests, getting them here and having a wonderful experience with them on the show. I’m glad that you are enjoying it as well.

We also have one here from Sasha Swift, also five stars and she says, “Heather inspires spiritual growth. Heather has had such a huge impact on my life more than she will ever know. She keeps me focused on positive energy and believing in myself. My life has changed a great deal since being introduced to her. Her content continues to inspire me and keeps me striving for success. She has also opened my eyes to my purpose in life, not only being about my own needs but also being there for others and having a positive impact on the world and those around me.” That is beautiful, Sasha. Thank you so much for sharing that. That warms my heart because that’s what we’re here to do. That’s what this is all about. Thank you for reading. For those of you that haven’t yet dropped a rating or review, please go to Apple Podcasts and drop us that review. We’ll work on getting you a shout-out too. Let’s dig in.

Thank you so much for being here. We have Bob Saget. I am excited about having him here as a guest. There are many things that this man does that you might even be surprised now after learning more about him and all of his incredible work. Most of you know him from his work and TV, from Full House to America’s Funniest Home Videos. He’s also been on Broadway and the Tony Award-winning, The Drowsy Chaperone. He has a New York Times bestselling book, Dirty Daddy: The Chronicles of a Family Man Turned Filthy Comedian. He’s directing now. His film, Benjamin, was released as the first Redbox original release.

He’s the host, writer and executive producer of the new ABC series, Videos After Dark. His work is incredible. I was inspired when I met him again for the second time at one of his fundraisers. We had the opportunity of meeting when he premiered Benjamin at the Beverly Hills Film Festival and then he has this incredible event that he does every year at a number of cities, Cool Comedy – Hot Cuisine. It’s a star-studded night with comics. The one in LA had Dave Chappelle, Ray Romano, a performance by John Mayer and all of this is to benefit the Scleroderma Research Foundation. He’s a board member. He does a lot of work for them. To date, they have raised over $40 million for the SRF. You’ve seen him everywhere. Without further ado, I’d like to introduce you to Bob. Thank you for being here, Bob. How are you doing?

I’m good. My intro is so long, we’re out of time.

When you do something for a long time, people think that’s who you are.

I know and that was hard to cut it down. I’m like, “He has done so many.”

Thank you. Hearing my credits is always my favorite thing.

When you do something for a long time, people think that's who you are. #theshinestrategy Click To Tweet

How is that? Is it surprising sometimes when you were like, “I did all that?”

I was going to mention more things but I want everybody now to read their bio. Let’s get into LinkedIn. I wish they would stop sending me emails. I don’t want to get LinkedIn. It was nice to hear from you. Our connection is through the benefit that you were gracious to help us with. The Scleroderma Research Foundation is something that I’m incredibly close to for many years. I hosted the first benefit. I performed the first time with two then-unknown comediennes, Rosie O’Donnell and Ellen DeGeneres. It’s fascinating that I ended up with television shows and it was a cold call from the founder, Sharon Monsky, who we lost several years ago. This organization has been around because she started it. She asked Robin Williams to do it and he did it the first time. It’s been 50 or 60 of them, but it’s raised a lot of money that goes right to research at Johns Hopkins and Stanford. We’ve worked with Duke and UCSF to try to put the disease in remission and cure this disease that affects hundreds of thousands of people and we’re doing it. We’re making great strides in finding the cure and stopping it from progressing. I’m proud. It’s probably one of the things besides my children that I’m proudest of.

I love seeing how you rallied a whole community behind you. It was touching. I had tears in my eyes at the event because there was so much love there for you and what you’re doing. You can see the connection you have with your friends. Can you talk a little bit about that in terms of how these friendships have played a role for you in your life?

There’s a certain bond that I was talking about with George Shapiro, who is Jerry Seinfeld’s manager. He was one of the executive producers of Seinfeld. He was also Andy Kaufman’s manager. He’s a miraculous, Yoda-like man. I don’t mean that he’s short and green. He’s smart and he said that people that want to do good for people, especially when it’s a disease that is under-recognized. I went years ago to Washington and we rallied and it was under the time of the Clintons. At the time, we were being helped by Hillary because it was a woman’s disease. Scleroderma mainly affects women in the prime of their lives and there’s a huge African descent population. People of African descent seem to get it worse than people of different persuasions because it affects huge Asian populations. It’s amazing where it hits. Even at this benefit we had an eleven-year-old boy came up and spoke and he had the disease. When you see a child, your eyes don’t stop tearing up and the bravery of the people.

I lost my sister to Scleroderma in 1994 and then I made a movie about it on ABC called For Hope. It starred Dana Delany. It was the first exposure Scleroderma had. It was the first time it was put on the map in a big PR way and we haven’t stopped at that PR. We always try to get it out there because it’s such an important part of how you raise money for things. In Washington, people are competitive. Why aren’t you helping the cystic fibrosis people? It’s like, “We should all be curing everything.” It’s hard, especially now to get money from the NIH. They don’t have as much to go around and Sharon always believed it’s because it was a woman’s disease that it was underfunded. We’re funding it and we have an amazing board. We’ll be doing benefits. We’re doing one in New York in November or December, whenever we do it. We’ll do LA again in a year-and-a-half or something and we may do San Francisco also. Comedians rally together. That’s what it is. I hope whatever friends I have that are doing a benefit for someone or something or disease and then especially the downtrodden that are sick or have been broke. This is one that comedians are happy to do because you can let loose at this too. As you saw, it was a pretty open party.

That they did. They let loose.

TSS 4 | Comedic Superpowers

Bob Saget: Now more than ever, the world needs comedy because there’s so much separation and anger.

 

John Mayer wasn’t even supposed to be there, but he helps us every year and he often is performing. He texted me and said, “I can’t not be there.” Next thing I know, I’ve got Dave Chappelle, John Stamos and John Mayer on stage and were yelling at people to give us money.

Was that an impromptu performance or that hadn’t been planned?

Nothing’s prepared except that I know that Ken Jeong, Ray Romano and Dave Chappelle are going to perform. Dave, because we didn’t lock the phones up because that’s his process, did a half-an-hour of ad-libbing and then a little bit of material, but not really. He has this special gift.

That was brilliant to see him in action.

He’s brilliant. He’s getting the Mark Twain Prize. I’m fortunate in that the comedian community is more banded together now because of the way the world is than they ever have been. I came up in 1978 out of The Comedy Store in LA, where the people that were there, David Letterman was my first emcee. Literally, everybody was there, Billy Crystal and Richard Pryor who I became friends with and did a movie with and Michael Keaton. It’s unbelievable the who’s who. Now, The Comedy Store’s as popular as it was then. It doesn’t have all of those stars because it was an anomaly of a moment in time. The world needs comedy more than ever because there are so much separation and anger and I like to entertain people. Whatever form that medium is, whether it’s by stand-up tour, making a movie or doing another television show, which I am. All the different stuff that I keep doing is all bent on getting out a good message, even if it’s my R-rated stand-up. It’s not even as R-rated because I’m 63 and I can’t go around making my daughters not proud of me, although they always have. They never mind.

Can we talk a little bit about that? Firstly, I want to say I’m sorry to hear about your sister and I appreciate you sharing so much of your story and the reason why you’re doing this. I do think that’s what’s important for people to have is a reason behind what they’re doing. When you have such a powerful purpose like you do, I can see why you’ve had the impact you’ve had.

Some people are crushed by loss and failure. #theshinestrategy Click To Tweet

I intend to cure it and I’ve talked to many brilliant scientists. I’ll be talking to people because we have the most amazing scientific advisory board. Can I give the website?

Please do. Tell people where to go and how to help.

It’s easy. It’s SRFCure.org. S stands for Scleroderma, R stands for Research and F stands for Foundation. You can get all the info about our benefits, how to help and what it is because more people seem to be getting it and we don’t know if it’s environmental. It’s an autoimmune disease, but it’s also a blood disease. It’s a vascular disease. Often, patients lose their lives to pulmonary hypertension, which is the lungs give out and the esophagus. You can tell when a person has Scleroderma. You can usually see the tightening of the skin. Often people like it because it’s like, “I’ve got a facelift,” unless it doesn’t stay in that mode and progresses and that’s the scariest. My sister progressed incredibly at such a fast rate. She was totally misdiagnosed and mishandled by a rheumatologist who is no longer alive. He did terribly. They guinea pig people.

Whereas now, I talked to Fred Wigley who runs the Johns Hopkins Scleroderma Center and he said that we’re close. In our lifetime, we will find a cure. The cure means you’re able to give people meds that stop the disease from progressing. That will go hand-in-hand with cancer moments, that moment when a scientist is looking over a microscope and he or she would go, “A-ha,” and everybody gathers around and that miracle that you see in one of these great science movies of how they cured blank. This is going to be one of those things. I’m a small drop in the river that will have helped. We will keep doing it because it’s not being done by the government. We’re a private organization that is bent on research and that’s that. I have other stuff too. I lost another sister to a brain aneurysm. You can spend your whole life doing events or benefits to try to raise money for all of these people that are hurting badly with many things.

I’m sorry to hear that. The fact that you’re able to use your superpowers for good is incredible because not everyone can do what you’re doing. It would be nice for people to hear a little bit about the behind the curtain. We have many entrepreneurs, solopreneurs and business owners here in the community. Hearing your story is going to help a lot of people. First, we’re talking about the power of connection, friendships and personal networking. You’ve got the power of events to raise awareness for somewhat unknown causes that can become well-known, the power of publicity. You have this amazing personal platform where you’re using this awareness and your visibility for good. Can you speak a little bit to how you’ve also maintained? You have an interesting story and the fact that you had this personal brand that was wholesome and then you shifted more to this edgier brand of comedy.

I never switched. I was always that, but people don’t understand is that Hannibal Lecter doesn’t eat people and Hopkins was playing a part. Danny Tanner is a part of me. I’m a father. I do have a DustBuster. I do use it, but I’ve played many parts that people aren’t aware of. When you do a role on television or if you’re a host of a show, a television like the Videos show, which I’m going back in mid-season, it’s coming on ABC at 10:00 at night because it’s a little bit more for adults. When you do something for a long time, they think that’s who you are. It is part of who I am. As many people, as most of us are, we’re multifaceted. We don’t just do one thing. If someone is a great builder and they work construction all day and then they go home to relax, they have a beer and paint and then you find out that their art is astonishing and it’s like they laid bricks to make money. It’s like, “I’ve got five things that I do.” I always say I do five things, none of them well.

TSS 4 | Comedic Superpowers

Bob Saget: There’s a power in getting older and getting wiser.

 

I’m proud more now than ever. I used to get made fun of for playing Danny Tanner like, “What a softie. What’s his deal? He’s wearing those sweaters that glow in the dark and they’re the late ‘80s.” The show continued. It’s got its last season coming up on Netflix, The Fuller House that I’ve been doing. It’s a testament for family, for how family sticks together through hard times and the hard times are loss of a parent. That’s what the new show and the old show was based on, which is similar to Disney movies where there’s no mom often or no dad, but it’s usually there’s no mom and King Triton is raising Ariel, Belle’s father is raising her. You don’t know the moms. It helps people connect with their children, children with their parents if it’s accepted as a group viewing, which is one of the biggest compliments I’ve ever had in my career is something that people that are older would make fun of. Even when we did Full House back in the day, people made fun of it tremendously. It never got a good review. It didn’t do well in the ratings until the last few years when it was on Fridays. It’s about a fantasy world where people are there for each other. It shouldn’t be a fantasy world, but it unfortunately in many cases, it can be. In this case, I’m proud to have played the part.

My stand-up I started at seventeen years old. The first thing I ever did is I won a radio contest singing a song about bondage and that’s not what you would hear from a seventeen-year-old. I kept doing stand-up for all these years and it’s changing. It’s morphing. The way the world has changed, there’s a lot of stuff that I would never do that I did on specials that were on HBO or different platforms. I’m finding new ways to do new things that still carry the same message, which is I want to entertain people. I get a young audience sometimes. That also people would go, “I can’t believe Danny Tanner is doing this stuff.” It’s like, “I’m not Danny Tanner.” I’ve been on Broadway as a priest. I was a Lutheran minister who was the least foul person in the play called Hand to God, a Tony-nominated play. It was a wonderful thing to have been able to do for several months.

Another place too, people didn’t know it was me because they only thought I was that. That’s fine. It’s all fine. People can perceive whatever they want, but I’ve got a lot. I have a nice chapter in my life coming up were a lot of things are coming toward me. I’m getting to do different parts and different hosting that I have a facility for that I get to incorporate my standard persona, which doesn’t mean I’m talking dirty. It’s like Groucho Marx with innuendo because at the time you couldn’t get away with stuff, but if Groucho was alive and flourishing now, it would be a lot of puns. They call them dad puns. They didn’t use to but that’s the Millennial catchphrase because it’s coming from someone older, but it’s upon his valuable. Most comedy comes from puns and people don’t realize that they’re telling puns. If there’s a foul word in it, then they don’t consider it a dad joke. It’s funny. I’m moving along as a creative person in what I do.

It’s beautiful to see how you’ve been able to morph into all these. It’s all you, but it’s different audiences that you’re speaking to. They’re different yet they all still resonate with you and that’s fascinating. It shows that you’re a dynamic person. There are a lot of people reading this that are probably starting out early on in their careers. Based on your experience and where you’re at in your life, some people get frustrated along the way. Would you have any advice to give to them now?

I have three daughters that are 32, 29 and 26 and all through my twenties all I did was struggle. I was in one Richard Pryor movie, which was a big deal but it’s not a career. I got to be with Richard Pryor and an amazing cast like Joe Mantegna, tons of people that I admired. I was fresh and I was in a Rodney Dangerfield special on HBO, but that was a few years of hosting The Comedy Store in LA and getting paid little. I was always touring. I was always doing stand-up, a lot of musical stand-up, which I still do write comedy songs. I was depressed in my twenties beyond depression, but I wasn’t medicated for it. I just did what comics do. You suffer until something breaks through.

Things did happen to me. The advice I would give would be what Rodney Dangerfield told me, because he was a stand-up success. He was on The Tonight Show a lot but that was it. He was doing Vegas and The Tonight Show and touring the country. He didn’t happen until Caddyshack, when he was 58 years old. His advice to me went like a tank. He would go, “They try to stop you. Nobody wants you to make it. They’re all against you, but go like a tank.” You just go. If you’re an actor and you get the call or you go and make a business proposition. If you’re living a Shark Tank reality, you come up with an invention, you tried nine places to sell it and it’s not selling. Reevaluate and don’t let it affect you because some people are crushed by loss and failure of a job and they’re ruined. They’re not able to ever come up with one again. That’s not what they should do. They need to move fast. It’s like in the middle of a fight when someone punches and knocks you and you’re dizzy and you can’t get up. It’s like Rocky. It’s like Ali. You just get up and go.

Shake it off as fast as you can because God knows I’ve been through so much rejection and still do go through it. There’s a power in getting older and getting wiser. For me, being able to go on tour, I’m in a theater, I’ve got nineteen-year-olds with fake IDs and I’ve got 75-year-olds that want to come and see a nice person saying some things that they haven’t gotten to see for a long time. At the time, there were many comedians in Vegas that were bluish and I’m not as blue even though I say I’m not, but then people say you are blue. I love doing family stuff. I did an emotional scene that will be on when they air Fuller House.

It took me back 30 years to when I was talking to the kids on the show, giving a morality play and being a sensitive dad. That’s a fun character to play because it’s meaningful because there are millions of people like that. It’s not a reality for what we normally see. We usually see the brave dad or the dad that’s gruffer, more of the Tony Soprano dad. I love and will love as I continue entertaining more people, more diversity from everywhere. That makes me happy. There is no aisle that separates people when I’m performing. In the work I do, I don’t want there to be separation because funny is funny. There are enough great political comedians on television that I love that are doing the job that I couldn’t do. I’m not made of that. I don’t want to start something. I had one guy in the audience, “Bob, the south will rise again.” I said, “We’re in Boston.” I don’t know why he took it up to where the Tea Party was, but that’s not where the Civil War took place but other wars did. Anyway, it’s quite meaningful to bring entertainment to people and often entertainment if I can that has meaning behind it.

You’re such a master at comedy, what you do and the work you’re doing to help many people to find a cure for scleroderma. I can see why your friends and fans have so much love for you. You’re out there with a positive message and mission, putting good things out into the world. We thank you so much for sharing your time with us, your wisdom, your insight and inspiration.

I talk too much, that’s all.

My readers I’m sure are eating this up. I want to thank you so much for coming out. I know you have other things you have to get too. I’m going to let you get to what you need to get to and remind everybody to go to SRFCure.org. Get involved, volunteer and donate. Even if you do social media posting around it, help Bob raise awareness for his mission. You can always find out more about Bob on BobSaget.com. He’s on all his social platforms, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Bob, do you have any last thoughts?

Thank you so much. You’re so kind.

Thanks so much for being here.

Thanks to all your readers too. It’s a great thing that you’re doing.

“It’s really quite meaningful to bring entertainment to people. And often entertainment, if I can, that
has meaning behind it.
” 
 
– Bob Saget

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