Family entertainer and champion of filthy humor aims to track his two divergent voices in his memoir.
The author, best known for starring on popular TV shows Full House and America’s Funniest Home Videos, theorizes that his bifurcated approach to comedy— kid friendly for the TV audience, scatological and ribald in his stand-up—derives from an upbringing in which strong family ties were tested by illness and early deaths: “The more tragedy befell us, the more odd gallows humor I would release.” Saget discusses the difficult losses of beloved childhood uncles and, as an adult, his two sisters with a touching straightforwardness before moving on to portray his career arc, beginning with his hardscrabble initiation as a touring comic in the early 1980s: “For me it took ten years to even start to happen.” He has a long memory for the comedy veterans who were kind to him, including Johnny Carson, Richard Pryor and George Carlin, leading to many amusing showbiz anecdotes and a few off-color ones involving the likes of Rodney Dangerfield. Yet, Saget was surprised when his initial success led to being cast as “a conservative, neurotic widowed father of three” on Full House, which he admits propelled him into the cultural mainstream. Saget’s prose is frequently droll (on his concurrent success with America’s Funniest Home Videos: "I was double-teamed by family TV"), but the overall effect is one of casual impressions and a broad account of his life rather than a sharper narrative about performance or his eventual experiences producing and directing. Instead, the author frequently indulges in asides, midlife musings and advice for readers, which may produce diminishing returns for anyone who is not a die-hard fan—e.g., "Anything good is hard. But enough about my penis.”
Some readers may sense the complexity and darkness beneath Saget’s comedic stance, yet this memoir remains bubbly and superficial.