TV star and comedian Bob Saget is going to have to keep it together as the straight guy on Broadway this holiday season — no matter if he's being taunted by a dirty-mouthed puppet.
Saget said the snarky guy who once hosted "America's Funniest Home Videos" can't show up when he steps into "Hand to God" as a simple-minded pastor in the Tony-nominated, dark satire.
"No sarcasm, no cynicism, no wryness, no tongue-in-cheek, nothing smarmy. I'm not the guy who hosted the video show," said Saget. "It's a pure righteous man, a good man."
Saget is replacing three-time Tony nominee Marc Kudisch in the role of Pastor Greg starting Nov. 3 and until the play closes on Broadway on Jan. 3. Kudisch is going to Chicago for a show he helped write, "Baritones Unbound."
Saget was last on Broadway for a few months at the end of the run of "The Drowsy Chaperone" in 2007. "I closed that. I'm closing this. I am a closer. I can sell vacuum cleaners," he said, laughing.
"Hand to God" is a bracing comedy that mixes violence, swearing, brutal honesty, parental failure, church hypocrisy and plenty of sex — of both human and puppet varieties.
Set in a current-day Texas church basement, playwright Robert Askins' comedy features three teens and two adults who over the course of a few days struggle with society's expectations and religious precepts.
Saget rose to fame as the wholesome Danny Tanner on "Full House" from 1987-95. But he showed America a more filthy sense of humor in the film "The Aristocrats."
"The play is well-written enough and rich enough that it can hold many different interpretations," said Steven Boyer, who controls the puppet and plays the sweet guy Jason in the play.
"Bob is not going to be Kudisch's Pastor Greg. He's going to be his own thing. But so much of Bob Saget's persona is either wholesome or filthy. So I think that combo will fit perfectly."
Saget said he saw the play and was blown away. Not long after, lead producer Kevin McCollum, who also produced "The Drowsy Chaperone," asked him to come aboard.
"For some people who think this is a stunt, it's not a stunt," said Kudisch. "Bob is the perfect guy. All of the qualities he has as a performer, as an artist, his intelligence, his wit — I just think that's what the play actually needs."
Saget comes to a play that has had an eventful run of more than 200 shows on Broadway, enduring some angry walk-outs and one audience member who bizarrely clambered onto the stage to try to recharge his phone in a prop outlet.
"We've seen just about everything that you can imagine at 'Hand to God.' So having Bob Saget come I think is just going to add to the crazy show we've already had," said Michael Oberholtzer, who plays Timothy.