Bob Saget on the place blue comedy has amid sexual misconduct allegations

TORONTO — There’s a bit in Bob Saget’s new comedy special “Zero to Sixty” that he says he’d likely change if given the chance.

In the special — which was taped May 2 and became available Tuesday on platforms including Amazon, iTunes and Google Play — Saget refers to the sexual assault allegations levelled against comedian Bill Cosby and how he said he couldn’t identify his accusers because he was legally blind. Saget then acts out how he would identify the women if he were blind, using his hands.

“Because of what’s happened since then, I think I would have handled it differently than I did when I shot the special,” Saget, 61, said in a recent phone interview.

“I’m also telling stories earlier that are not condoning this behaviour, so it’s very clear that I’m not a man that would ever do anything like that to a woman or to anyone — to livestock.

“I just wanted to add that in for no reason,” he added with a laugh. ”I would never medicate a goat to have my way with it.”

Speaking from his car in Los Angeles, Saget continued on a tangent that ranged from Cosby and his fall from grace, to the current conversations around sexual misconduct in Hollywood, to how he got his start at Yuk Yuk’s in Toronto when he was 22, with a then-17-year-old Jim Carrey opening for him.

It’s the same stream of consciousness narrative that defines Saget’s standup comedy, with one topic leading to many others in the span of a few minutes.

Bawdy humour is another trademark of Saget’s act and the Brooklyn-shot “Zero to Sixty” has plenty of profanity and off-colour jokes — a stark contrast to the actor’s straight-laced “Full House”/”Fuller House” character, Danny Tanner.

“I love absurdist comedy,” said Saget, who just finished directing and starring in the dark comedy film “Benjamin.”

“I don’t do blue for the sake of blue. I do blue because I think it’s funny at that moment, and I guess that’s my line-crossing. But people that see my show go, ‘You weren’t as dirty as I thought you’d be.’”

Ribald standup comedy, such as Saget’s, may be striking a new tone for audiences as more and more stories of sexual misconduct make headlines. Asked what kind of impact such stories will have on standup comedy, Saget said it depends on the performer.

“I think some comedians will go directly into the belly of the beast, and others couldn’t give a crap because a shady producer is not something unusual, and these acts have gone around for a long time. The good thing about it is they’ve never been exposed like this before,” he said.

As for himself, Saget said he draws a line at commenting on the current allegations surrounding figures including Harvey Weinstein, who was once his manager for a brief period.

“You’re not in shock when you hear of someone in power that abuses their privilege, and you’re not in shock when you hear that people have done terrible things. What you are is, you’re in pain over it and it hurts tremendously that so many people have been hurt by it, so I can’t do humour about it,” said Saget, who recently announced his engagement to food and travel blogger Kelly Rizzo.

“Even if you look at my special, I’ll do jokes below my waist but they really are innocuous, they’re like an 11-year-old that learned a bunch of bad words. My sets have always been like that.”

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