Bob Saget says the production of his new series ‘Strange Days’ made for a strange year. For this new documentary-style series – premiering Tuesday on A&E with two back-to-back half-hours starting at 10 p.m./9c – the ‘Full House’ funnyman went in search of unusual experiences.
And he found them: With a motorcycle club (the Iron Order, based in Kentucky where he met bikers with names like Peckerwood and Naked Dave, a man who eschews pants), Bigfoot believers, frat boys, a group of boys at summer camp, masked Mexican wrestlers, and comedian Jeffrey Ross, who accompanied Saget on a tear through Las Vegas after midnight.
Saget, 54, talked to Fancast on the phone from Los Angeles about his travels and the six or (possibly) seven episodes of ‘Strange Days’ that he produced from his adventures.
So, Bob, after spending some time searching for Sasquatch, did you come out of the experience believing in the existence of this elusive creature?
Well, the truth is, I really did believe it. For three days, I didn’t have any communication. I’d have e-mail at night. I have three daughters and a girlfriend and a mother and I was e-mailing, ‘I think this thing exists!’ and I’m being open it and they were like, ‘Yeah, OK.’
Did you hear Sasquatch stories at camp when you were a boy?
I never went to camp. That’s kind of what this show’s about anyway because it’s a bucket list of stuff I’ve always wanted to do. So I went to camp with this Camp Copper Creek [for Episode 5 of ‘Strange Days’]. They didn’t really discuss Sasquatch stories. But when I went up to the Pacific Northwest [for the Sasquatch episode], the first people we came across were Native-Americans who lived in this area . . . and they said they’d seen [Sasquatch]. And there was no acting for the camera. They didn’t even want us to be showing them.
In the 19th century, some Native-Americans thought cameras would steal their souls.
That’s exactly what we did do!
Which designation do the Native-Americans of the Pacific Northwest prefer – Sasquatch or Bigfoot?
They’re fine with Bigfoot and they also don’t like Yeti because Yeti would be the Abominable Snowman.
Yeah, you hate to hear people make that mistake.
They did tell me this: [The creatures] are men and women and teenagers. The teen-aged Sasquatch Bigfoot is about six feet tall and the parents are 1,500 pounds, 7 feet tall, maybe even 9 feet.
It all sounds credible to me.
Exactly right. People have asked me: Have you seen it? Now, if I saw it or filmed it, the question really is, would I have told people? I mean, I think that would have been in the news, wouldn’t it?
Have you made all of your ‘Strange Days’ episodes? How many are there?
There are six and we did a seventh. The seventh was one we did a year ago that was kind of a pilot. It was an hour show where I looked for women for American men who wanted brides from Ukraine. So we went to Ukraine and we met women, and the joke that came out of it for me for as a standup [comedian] was: The age of consent there is “yes”!
Correct me if I’m wrong: Is ‘Strange Days’ also the name of your standup act?
We went on tour and I decided that I’m going to call it the ‘Strange Days’ tour because it’s a tie-in – you love your branding. It’s been a really strange year for me and so I figured, What the hell.
Did anything else happen the rest of the year in your private life to make the year strange?
Actually the Vegas trip kind of began my personal life stuff which is that a relationship started for me, which is really cool – not with Jeffrey Ross. He was my Oscar Acosta [the attorney who accompanied Hunter Thompson on the Las Vegas trip that resulted in Thompson’s book 'Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas']. Again, I say ‘bucket list’ but it’s really just shows that only I want to do because I just don’t want to waste a second of my life.
And you’re not terminally ill. We can confirm that up front, can’t we?
We can. When you watch these shows, it does seem as if there’s something wrong with me. I’m not ill, I’m just dumb.
Tell me about the Las Vegas thing.
The whole show in general [is] I was a big fan of George Plimpton [the late author who was a pioneer in “participatory” journalism, writing books such as “Paper Lion,” after spending time training with the Detroit Lions football team]. So it’s a documentary approach and yet it’s not mean-spirited. It’s living it, but [for example], I go to Cornell and join a frat, but I’m not the guy that gets drunk and wears a toga. I’m not doing what [‘Borat’ and ‘Bruno’ star] Sacha Baron Cohen does – I’m not going naked into a guy’s tent at some point [as Cohen did in ‘Bruno’]. It is figuring out what do I want to do in world that is polluted with a bunch of reality shows that aren’t real. Let’s do something that really studies a subculture and hope for the best because my background was documentary. So I got Jeffrey Ross. It was kind of like ‘Midnight Cowboy’ or ‘Scarecrow’ or whatever buddy movie where something’s wrong with one of them.
Which one of you is Ratso Rizzo and who’s Joe Buck – the Dustin Hoffman and Jon Voight characters, respectively, in ‘Midnight Cowboy’?
I’d say he’s a little more Ratso Rizzo. He was sick that week. He didn’t die on the bus, but he was not well. He was hocking up [mucus] the whole time and it’s in the show.
That’ll make for attractive television.
And it’s in high-def!
Just to clarify, no hallucinogenic substances of the sort used by Hunter Thompson were ingested in the pursuit of this production, right?
None were used. They were used by animals, but they were not used by humans.
That’s very heart-warming. You talked about a “documentary background.” What’s your documentary background?
I went to film school at Temple University in Philadelphia and for a movie I made about a young man that had his face reconstructed, I won the Student Academy Award, and I was 21.
Overall, did you accomplish for yourself personally what you had set out to do in the making of this TV show?
Yes, that’s the crazy part of it. Six months after I did the biker show, I performed at the Warner Theater in Washington, D.C., so it’s a couple of thousand people. And [the Iron Order chairman] tells me a lot of our brothers are coming to the show and I got a hundred motorcycles in front of the Warner Theater in D.C. and I come out on stage and I yell, ‘Who the [expletive deleted] are we?’ And they go, ‘Iron Order!’
The only other motorcycle club on TV right now is the fictional criminal biker gang on ‘Sons of Anarchy.’ Is this Iron Order a more benevolent society?
They’re a caring group. Anyone that disgraces them is cast from the society. We had moments in the show where there are brothers and sisters who were not asked to be a part of the group anymore.
And yet, Naked Dave can stay!
We want [the show] to be entertaining. We also want it to be something where people go, ‘Holy crap! This really happened!’