There are two Bob Sagets: the family-friendly TV personality from such classic anodyne shows like Full House and America’s Funniest Videos and the raunchy, foul-mouthed comic who revels in dick and ball jokes. In Dirty Daddy: The Chronicles of a Family Man Turned Filthy Comedian, readers definitely get the latter, as the Saget writes about his life and career, but lobs a lot of scatological and sexual asides. While the stories are for the most part heartfelt and poignant – his family suffered a lot of loss, including the deaths of two of his sisters – he sometimes undermines his own work by his stylistic choice of letting his stories and anecdotes trail off on raunchy and off-color tangents. While spoken, these quick quips would probably work and be funny, on paper, it looks confusing and takes away from the power of his writing.
Most casual fans – or people who grew up in the 80s will hope to read some dishy dirt about the behind the scenes antics that went on during Full House‘s run. Those readers will be disappointed because Saget is refreshingly kind and complimentary toward his fictional family. He remains tight with John Stamos, Dave Coulier, Candace Cameron, Jodie Sweetin, and the Olson twins. He’s famously protective of his onscreen daughters, refusing to indulge in any jokes about them, nor allowing for others to tease them in his presence. He writes about how talented the kids are and he remains tight-lipped about the tabloid-heavy celebrity of Mary-Kate and Ashley Olson. And though he recognizes that Full House is a syrupy show, he remains surprisingly staunch in his defense of its morals, insisting that family programming like Full House has a place on TV – a strange thing for a comic like Saget to write, especially in light of his fondness for rude language.
When I finished reading Dirty Daddy I thought back and asked myself “Did I laugh?” The truth: not really. But that doesn’t mean it’s not a good book – it is, and actually some parts of the book achieve a level of greatness that shows a great promise in Saget as an author. When he writes about his comic heroes – Don Rickles, Rodney Dangerfield, Bob Newhart – or when he references his comic colleagues and pals like Jeffrey Ross, Louis C.K., or Norm MacDonald, readers get the sense that Saget really loves the art of stand-up comedy. He has a cheeky reverence for the craft and an admirable work ethic.
Dirty Daddy is a solid work that doesn’t achieve its full promise because Saget’s particular comic style doesn’t translate all that successfully on paper. It doesn’t mean he shouldn’t pursue writing, but he still needs to develop his author muscle and find his writer voice (as opposed to simply treat his book like a transcript of his stand-up work). Once he figures out how to adapt his estimable comic voice for print, his books will be much stronger.
Click here to buy Bob Saget’s Dirty Daddy: The Chronicles of a Family Man Turned Filthy Comedian on amazon.com.