“Full House” star Dave Coulier will be performing his stand-up act tonight, Friday and Saturday at the Tacoma Comedy Club. We had a chat on Monday about clean comedy, his co-stars and that infamous Alanis Morissette song.
Here’s the story (and stay tuned next week for interviews with “Star Trek’s” George Takei and Jon Bernthal from “The Walking Dead”):
By Craig Sailor
For eight years in the late ’80s and early ’90s, America knew Dave Coulier as “Uncle Joey” on the hit ABC TV sitcom “Full House” – the stand-up comedian with the funny lines, voices and impersonations.
In between “Full House” and today, Coulier has hosted ABC’s “America’s Funniest People” and “Animal Kidding” on the Animal Planet Network, appeared on VH1’s “The Surreal Life” and partnered with Nancy Kerrigan on FOX’s “Skating With Celebrities.”
Coulier (pronounced cool-YAY) also stars as the voices of Felix The Cat, The Professor and Rock Bottom in “Felix The Cat” animated feature films on DVD.
Uncle Joey was a nice guy, you perform “clean” comedy, and you’ve hosted a lot of shows that require tact and diplomacy. Are you really that nice of a guy or is it all an act?
You’d have to ask my friends and the people who actually know me. The thing about my stand-up is it’s not a conscious choice to be clean. That’s just the way I work. You never know who is sitting in the audience. I’ve always been aware of that with my humor. People just want to laugh and not have the filthy F-bomb aftertaste.
Why do you think there are so many foul-mouthed comics out there?
Unfortunately, that’s become part of our comedy vernacular. I’m not a prude. I love the Richard Pryors, Lenny Bruces and George Carlins of the world. But when those guys were using that language, it was coming from a real place.
Jay Leno said something to me really smart when I was first starting: (doing a Jay Leno voice) “Ah… Coulier… you know if you work clean, you’ll work anywhere.” I’ve never forgotten that.
You played a comic on “Full House” and you became known for voices and impersonations – two things you do in real life. Was “Full House” a case of art imitating life or vice versa?
Early that first season, the producers came to watch me perform at a local comedy club here in LA. They wanted to get a sense of what I did as a comic. That helped them write the character. They were really generous with me. They would write in the script, ‘Dave will come up with something really funny here.’ They trusted me to improv, to find some comedic funny business. I submitted a list of characters and voices and they would write that stuff in. It was art imitating life, life imitating art.
Are you a guy with a great sense of humor or someone who likes to make people laugh?
I’ve always thought my job is to be up there entertaining people. I’m not one of those wordsmiths. I don’t come up with clever language that makes you think. I’m more of a glorified clown up there. I go up for an hour and 15 minutes and have a great time and hopefully the audience comes along with me.
Where did you develop your comic abilities?
I come from a very large family and my family is very funny. All of my aunts and uncles would talk about who was on Johnny Carson the night before and who was on the Ed Sullivan show and who made them laugh. I always wanted to be part of that conversation. And being a jock all my life, there were always 20 guys sitting around in a locker room and that was a built-in audience. It was a natural progression from liking comedy to hearing those laughs for me.
What are your current projects?
I’m always writing. I just finished writing a movie so I’m shopping that around. I just pitched a new game show with Fremantle Media. I’m trying to do stuff behind the camera, so it’s a real shift for me. I’m also working really diligently on writing a new stand-up hour. Part of that is being on the road and being out there in front of an audience live and proving that material.
You’re still enjoying stand-up?
Stand-up is one those things I really enjoy. I took a long break from stand-up and I didn’t think I would jump up on stage and tell jokes again. Here I am. I’ve come full circle. I’m enjoying it now more than I ever have. I’m having a blast.
Are you going to be testing out a lot of new material in Tacoma?
Absolutely. I’ve got this treasure trove. There’s a lot of new stuff I’ll bring up on stage and it’s raw, so I’ll see what the response is.
What does your stand-up act cover?
It’s very eclectic because I enjoy doing voices, impressions, storytelling. I do some observational stuff. I bring a harmonica up on stage. There’s a method to my comedic madness. It all intertwines.
Is this your first time in Tacoma?
Yes. I’m looking forward to walking around the city during the day. Hopefully it won’t be in snowshoes.
Regarding your “Full House” co-stars: Bob Saget recast himself as a profane comic after the show ended, John Stamos is using his sex appeal to sell Greek yogurt and the Olsen twins are almost as rich as Bill Gates. Why aren’t you a foul-mouthed, yogurt-selling billionaire?
I don’t have the legs for it. My legs just aren’t that attractive.
You know we all have different interests and different assets. Me – I’ve always plodded along doing what I do. I’ve haven’t had to recast myself. I didn’t have to go out and say, ‘I’m really this guy. Fooled you!’ With Bob, I always tell people he’s my filthy Jewish sister. In his defense, he’s always been that way. I give him a lot of credit for being who he is.
Alanis Morissette has said she will never reveal the identity of the ex-lover she sings about in “You Oughta Know,” but rumors that’s it you have swirled for years. A lot of people have had bitter breakups but not had hit songs written about it. Were you worried about your nice-guy image when the song came out?
Not at all. First and foremost, Alanis is an outstanding person. It wasn’t a bitter breakup. She lived in Canada and I lived in LA. I was a single dad, newly divorced. My life was upside down. Here I was trying to have a relationship with this woman who was trying to be a pop star in Canada. We both kind of agreed when we broke up that it was the right person at the wrong time. That’s how we left it. Years later, we reconnected. It was a sweet moment. It’s weird that this song has become such an urban legend all these years later. That was 17 years ago.
Do you still play hockey?
Yes, I do. Every Sunday. So, I’m really sore today.
Craig Sailor: 253-597-8541