Long way home: Michigan native Dave Coulier to bring comedy to Fat Fish BlueWritten by Jeff McGinnis | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Dave Coulier loves playing the Midwest.
As the sitcom and voiceover star prepares to return to Toledo for a gig at the Funny Bone at Fat Fish Blue on March 21, he noted in an interview with Toledo Free Press that he feels a natural rapport with fans from the Glass City and nearby areas.
“I’m from Michigan, and so I know that audience really well. I think they know my style of humor pretty well, so I think we have a pretty good synergy between us,” Coulier said.
A native of St. Clair Shores, the 54-year-old Coulier rose to national prominence through his role as Joey on the long-running ABC sitcom “Full House” and as host of the variety show “America’s Funniest People” in the early 1990s. But stand-up is where he started and stand-up is still where his passion lies all these years later.
“If you can compare stand-up to being an actor, I get to write the script,” Coulier said. “Whereas being an actor, I’m delivering somebody else’s jokes. And you’re talking directly to the fourth wall when you’re a stand-up, and in acting you can’t do that. You have to stay within the guidelines of the scene; you keep the information moving within the story.
“With stand-up, you can come off the rails, you can veer left, you can veer right, you can back up, you can go to somebody in the audience, if something happened spontaneously, you can focus on that. So there’s a lot of different directions that you have as a stand-up that you don’t just have as an actor.”
Coulier first had an inkling that he’d be interested in comedy at a young age, he said.
“I had been doing stand-up in high school, and I was always the funny guy in the locker room growing up, playing hockey. You know, you have a built-in audience of 20 guys, sitting around putting their equipment on, so I would tell jokes. It was a great captive audience.
“It’s really interesting because — I don’t want to get too heady here — but where my psychological headspace was, when I was first thinking that I was funny, to now? It’s two completely different thought spaces,” Coulier said. “When I was first starting out, I had confidence just because I didn’t know any better. I just thought, ‘Hey, I’m funny! Everybody thinks I’m funny, so I’m just going to get on stage and be funny!’ So there was a certain naiveté that I had — call it confidence or whatever it was — I was very sure of myself, just because I’d been goofing around with people my entire life.”
Of course, anyone who has watched Coulier perform knows his stock and trade is his amazing talent for mimicry and impersonation — his stable of imitations reads like a who’s-who of modern pop culture history. How early in his stand-up experience did the voices become his M.O.?
“That was my only M.O.,” Coulier said with a laugh. “It was what set me apart from other comedians, the ability to be able to do voices and do sound effects with my mouth and be musical.
“With my style, I’ve always thought of myself as a glorified birthday clown. And in my head, that’s my operating system. I’m like, OK, I’m not up there to be heady, I’m not up there to be politically savvy, I’m not up there to lampoon current events. My job is to go up there and make people forget that maybe they lost their job or that times are really tough. And just go up, let’s have a lot of laughs and have fun for an hour.”
And as he continues to travel the country bringing that sense of fun to audiences, he noted how far he has come — from making a few guys laugh in the locker room to accomplishing more than his wildest dreams could have foreseen.
“I also didn’t know what the odds were stacked against me. I never thought about that, I never thought, ‘Gee, no one goes from St. Clair Shores, Mich., goes out and gets on a sitcom.’ I never thought about that. That was never in my thought process. My thought process was, ‘Just go and enjoy the heck out of this, the further you get is all gravy.’
“And everything I wished for came true. I wanted to do ‘The Tonight Show’ with Johnny Carson. I wanted to work with Mel Blanc and do cartoon voices. I wanted to work with Jim Henson. I wanted to host a series. I wanted to be an actor, I wanted to be in movies, I wanted to star in a sitcom. I wanted to do all of these different things, and so I wished for the sky. And so, my wish list came true. I’ve just been so doggone lucky that everything came true. And so then, I reached a point that, I have to build a whole new wish list.”
Coulier will play the Funny Bone at Fat Fish Blue from March 21-23 at Levis Commons in Perrysburg. For more information, contact Fat Fish Blue at (419) 931-3474.