By Jason Tanamor
Most people know Dave Coulier as Joey on the ‘90’s sitcom, “Full House.” Or even as the guy that Alanis Morissette wrote about in her hit song, “You Oughta Know.” You remember the song, with the infamous line of doing something in a theatre? However, what people may not know about the comedian and actor is that he got his start doing voiceover work for Hanna Barbera. I recently sat down with the multi-talented entertainer to talk about Morissette, as well as his days on “Full House.”
Q - You’re obviously the person in Alanis Morissette’s “You Oughta Know” song. Do you still talk to her?
A - I haven’t talked to her in years. That was like 16 years ago.
Q - Has there been any effort?
A - Oh yeah, we got together after “Jagged Little Pill” came out.
Q - How did you two meet?
A - She was singing the National Anthem at the NHL All-Star Game in Montreal, Canada. We were introduced and then started dating.
Q - Most people know you from “Full House” as Joey. How much of a change was it for you going from stand-up comedian to full time actor?
A - I never stopped doing stand-up comedy. I continued to perform all thru “Full House.” The only difference between stand-up is it’s your own material, where acting is making someone else’s material funny.
Q - Did you take acting lessons?
A - Yes, I studied with Helen Hunt’s father, Gordon Hunt. We worked together at Hanna Barbera doing cartoons. He recommended that I take his acting class. I did and had to learn to act and make other material funny.
Q – Is that where you got your start?
A - I started doing stand up, and then when I got to Los Angeles I started doing voiceovers on Scooby Doo. I did monsters and guest stars.
Q – Do you like acting or doing stand-up better?
A - I started doing stand-up in high school. I was a jock, played hockey, and was the funny guy. With all the guys on the team, I had a built in audience. You can only go so far in stand-up, and acting was the natural progression from stand-up. With stand-up, there’s a lot of self-gratification. With “Full house,” I made the best of friends.
Q - Are you like Joey in real life?
A - People say I have the sense of big kid fun, but you can only draw from so much. I drew from who I was and put it into the character. Joey was very naïve, and I’d like to say that I’m not naïve.
Q - You started doing stand-up at a time when there weren’t all these reality shows promising huge careers. Do you think “Last Comic Standing” and even “American Idol” diminishes a person’s success by going this route?
A - Well, I don’t think you’ll see any big stars in 20 years coming from “Survivor.” “American Idol” is different because they’re singing. You get the most bang for the least amount of buck with reality shows. But TV is cyclical; things will come around again and there will be a different kind of show. There aren’t that many sitcoms today. They seemed to diminish since “Full House.”
Q - How has your act changed since you began stand-up, to when you were on “Full House,” and even now?
A - I have more life experiences to draw upon. When I was doing “Full House,” I didn’t have a teenaged son. Now I have a teenage son in high school. You have to remember that I’ve been doing stand-up for 30 years, and a lot of my life has changed. I’ve always said when it’s not fun anymore, I won’t do it. But I still find it fun, and that’s why I do it.
Q - Are you still doing “cut it out?”
A - Sometimes. I hosted a series on Nickelodeon called “Out Of Control.” It’s like Steve Martin, people still ask him to do the wild and crazy guy.
Q - Do you still talk to Bob Saget and John Stamos and the rest of the “Full House” crew?
A - Yes, and we’re just like a dysfunctional family off camera.
Q - Will there ever be a reunion?
A - No, but never say never. I know everyone so well, and it was something we did and was proud of, but “Full House” is put away. Of course, never say never.
Q - Do you watch old episodes in rerun and think, “What was I doing?”
A - I’ve only seen a couple episodes. It’s different than just watching; you have to understand that each 22 minute episode is five days of work for me.
Q – What are you working on now?
A - I brought an idea to the producers of “Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader?” It’s in development and is, are you ready, a reality show. It’s called, “Clean Guys Of Comedy,” and it started with cleanguys.tv. We’re trying to find clean comics in America. There’s a lack of clean comics around. As a kid, I remember laughing at clean comics and none of them were dirty. Now, it’s very rare to see a clean comic. The comics now, they have no point. (George) Carlin had a very specific point, (Richard) Pryor had a very specific point. They were believable. Today you see comics doing a Comedy Central half hour and I don’t believe them. Today’s comics permeated our comedy vernacular and people just accepted it. They say they’re being edgy, but if you take away the swear words, the jokes aren’t funny, and what you hear is nervous laughter. So the show will be about us challenging filthy comics to get the same amount of laughs with clean material.
Jason Tanamor is the Editor of Zoiks! Online. He is also the author of the novels, "Hello Lesbian!" and "Anonymous."
By Jason Tanamor