Bob Saget Joins the Cast of Broadway's Hand to God
Bob Saget refers to himself as a "Closer." He made his Broadway debut in 2007, when he played the Man in Chair for the last two months of The Drowsy Chaperone. This time he will take over for Marc Kudisch Nov. 3 as the amorous Pastor Greg before Hand to God plays its final performance Jan. 3, 2016. At a recent press event, in which Saget talked to industry folk about coming back to Broadway, we caught up with the star. He tells us about his other Broadway aspirations, why he loves Hand to God and remembers one of the craziest Halloween parties of his life.
Tell me about your first time seeing this. What did you think? What were your reactions?
Bob Saget: I was affected very deeply by it. I had my daughters with me. It's about something. You know from the moment it starts that the relationships have existed before, and Robert Askins, the writer, lived this. He went to a Lutheran puppet Sunday class, and they would put on shows, and it would be therapy for the kids, in a way. There's a tragedy to it that is both scary and hilarious because the puppet that's on Steven Boyer's hand is possibly the Devil, so Tyrone is possibly Satan. The level of humor, the level of cutting honesty — because Tyrone says what the boy can't say, what Jason can't say, and the truth is always funny… "The truth will set you free," which is what Pastor Greg is trying to do. I came away from it not expecting to be affected so deeply by it — because people have to go to Hell in order to redeem themselves, if you look at it from a religious standpoint. But, they really do go through an incredibly severe crisis… It just really hit me. It's one of the finest works I've seen.
It's funny as hell. The audience reacts in a way that's almost Rocky Horror[-like] sometimes. The cast is just absurdly beautiful, and Marc Kudisch has been nothing but gracious and graceful in tag-teaming me in and out. We're going to go share a pastoral drink together. Pieces like this don't come around very often, and this ensemble doesn't come around very often, so I'm thrilled. I came from rehearsal just now. Of course, I'm not sleeping because that's what you do. All I'm going to be doing is this, and it's just an honor. And, I get to close it out because I'm a "Closer." … When Drowsy Chaperone closed, right after the New Year — and that was after the theatre strike — I was welcomed to Broadway. I remember walking into Bar Centrale, and Nathan Lane said, "Congratulations, you're a Closer!" Would you ever want to originate something on Broadway?
BS: I would love that, and maybe one day. I've talked to [The Drowsy Chaperone and Hand to God producer] Kevin [McCollum] about it. There are a couple things I've been brainstorming with him for years. We've become very good friends. He's a character, and he knows my family. I've spent Thanksgiving with him. We are genuine friends. I wrote this book that came out last year called "Dirty Daddy," and he read it. I had the sensibilities, and he knows me… The sensibilities of this play are my sensibilities, and it's a dream to be able to be in it and not play some smarmy guy or stand-up version of myself or silly "Entourage" version of myself — to play a righteous man, a good man, who has a lot of dimension, who wants to help people, and he's a romantic also.
Comedy like this is right in your wheelhouse. Would you consider doing something so on the opposite end of the spectrum? Something really dramatic?
BS: Well, this comes close. I mean, there are moments in this that [don't] get any more dramatic, but the answer is yes… I love acting, and there's more stuff I'm doing. Things just happen in waves in my career. I always say, "I'm a hyphenate," you know. I do, like, six things — none of them well! — but this obviously makes you want to do more Broadway. I'm going to do this one right now. [Laughs.] You can't even think past what your next hour is when you're doing this. They just say, "You're going here." I was just in the basement over at the Booth Theatre, just sitting there, and they said, "It's time. Come to Sardi's."
So… "Dirty Daddy." Who's dirtier? You or Tyrone?
BS: Actually, my comedy… It's probably the same type of stuff. I mean, if you watch "South Park," that's dirtier than my standup is now. I don't think Tyrone could tell "The Aristocrats" joke as graphically as me. It would probably be less funny because he's so demonic. I guess being evil makes you less funny… There are very, very funny people — not just puppets — that are very negative, and they're not as fun as someone who is… You don't even realize when comedians are being dirty because they are joyous inside, and they have love in them, so that's how I would like to think [of] my standup. I guess, [my] persona, or who I become when I do standup, which is an extension of me… Yeah, I believe I'm much funnier than Tyrone! But, I don't think I'm more talented than Steven Boyer. He's Jason and Tyrone. He's just an incredible talent. And, Geneva [Carr] is just… She's remarkable. I can't wait to play with her. I didn't mean it that way! Nothing lascivious, but I can't wait to work with her! They're living this, and I'm going to be living it very shortly.
With Halloween coming up, what has been your favorite Halloween costume throughout the years?
BS: Mine? My favorite? I've never loved Halloween, but you're going to like my answer. It's a bad answer. I was invited to a Halloween party, and it was by an old friend of mine, Garry Shandling, and my ex-wife and I came to the party, and we were the only people in costume so it was a practical joke. However, we were dressed as Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, so we came as persecuted people to a party where we were persecuted. We were handcuffed together in suits, and [I had on] the round glasses, and we were holding the plans to the bomb, which were actually the plans to our house, so that would be my favorite. Another time I went as Kobe Bryant. I didn't mind that one. I wore his jersey, and I had one handcuff on because it was during a difficult time.
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