McGinnis: Coulier at ConnxtionsWritten by Jeff McGinnis | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Detroit hockey fans, take heart — comedian and lifelong fan Dave Coulier is picking your team (and his) to win the Stanley Cup again this year.
“I’d be remiss if I didn’t say the Red Wings right out of the gate,” Coulier said in an interview with Toledo Free Press Star. “You look at how Vancouver’s playing, you look at how strong Philadelphia is, and it’s a question of who’s gonna stay healthy through the playoffs. I think if Detroit’s healthy, they can make another run at it.”
The veteran comic has been doing stand-up for more than 30 years, but his love of hockey predates even his love of performance. Born and raised near the Motor City, Coulier played on his high school team — one of his fellow players, John Blum, even made it to the pros.
“I dreamed of being an NHLer, of course. Every kid in Detroit, being brought up in Detroit, does. But I soon found out that I wasn’t good enough. If I was a pro hockey player, my career would have been over many years ago. And with show biz, I get to keep chugging along.”
The NHL’s loss is Toledo’s gain, as Coulier will be appearing at Connxtions Comedy Club on Feb. 25 and 26 — his first appearance in the Glass City in “a long, long time.” But it was his experiences in high school, in both the locker room and the classroom, that helped steer Coulier toward his current profession — as well as inspiring his talent for creating uncanny vocal impressions.
“I was always the funny guy in the locker room. And I would do impressions of fellow players and coaches. In school, I was the class clown. I would do impressions of fellow students and teachers. So, I just kinda developed a knack for making people laugh with my voices. And so, one thing kinda led to another, and I thought I was pretty good at it.”
His vocal talents were not only a primary focus of his stand-up act, but also led to his first breaks in Hollywood, where he found work as a voice-over artist for animated shows. “At that time, the cartoon voice world was a very small, close-knit group of people. So I just got kinda known as the young guy who could come up with weird, crazy voices.”
He also became known for his ability to do uncanny imitations of celebrities — not only did he play roles originated by such stars as Bill Murray (“The Real Ghostbusters”) and Robin Williams (“Mork and Mindy”) in cartoons, but he would even loop dialogue for some celebs, such as Richard Pryor, in live-action films.
“It never stigmatized me, because I was never on camera. And the best part about doing voice-over work is, you can literally show up in a pair of ripped shorts and a T-shirt, because no one cares,” he laughed.
But most who were kids in the 1980s remember Coulier most vividly as a member of the cast of “Full House,” which ran for eight seasons. Nowadays, the saccharine sitcom may be looked at as a dated curiosity by some, but Coulier said there is no embarrassment in being attached to such a wildly successful show.
“I look back on it very nostalgically, as do, I think, all of the cast members. We still keep in touch with each other. We’ll forever be frozen in time with bad clothing and mullets, you know. It’s like having your high school photo playing live for 192 episodes.”
Coulier’s live act is very family-friendly — he even appeared with “The Clean Guys of Comedy Tour” — which he said was inspired by his early days working in Hollywood.
Three decades later, the comic will bring the intervening years of performance and life experiences to Connxtions — all of which, he said, have helped shape who he is.
“I have a lot more history to draw from,” he said. “I have a lot more of me that comes through. And I think it’s even more close to home, this show, to me, than any of the shows in the past. That just comes with age, it comes with confidence, it comes with having that history under your belt.”