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May 10, 2013 • 01:09:33 p.m.

‘Uncle Joey’ Dave Coulier now known for eclectic comedy act

By JAMI KUNZER – jkunzer@shawmedia.com

Dave Coulier (Photo provided)

Dave Coulier

WHEN: May 9-12

WHERE: Chicago Improv, 5 Woodfield Road, Schaumburg

INFO: “Full House” star brings his comedy to Chicago suburbs. Tickets: $22, available at 847-240-2001 or www.improv.com/comedyclub/chicago.

Yes, he’ll always be Uncle Joey. 

But don’t expect Dave Coulier to recreate an episode of “Full House” when he appears May 9-12 at The Chicago Improv in Schaumburg.

“So I guess I’ve been kind of branded as this clean comedian, which is fine, but I don’t want to mislead people that when they come to see my standup, it’s going to be an episode of ‘Full House,’ ” he said. “It’s really my kind of humor.”

It’s a humor involving his many impressionistic voices and music – he’s been known to play the harmonica – in an eclectic sort of act. It’s family friendly, he said, but he’s not a prude.

“I am just a glorified birthday clown,” he said. “I try to do one thing when I’m on stage, and that’s make people laugh. Sometimes it’s silly, and sometimes I still act immature.”

As Uncle Joey on the popular ABC sitcom “Full House” from 1987 until its cancellation in 1995, Coulier became famous for his impersonations. His “Cut ... it ... out!”  – complete with hand gestures – became a national catchphrase.

He ironically played the obnoxiously dressed best friend of Bob Saget’s character, Danny Tanner, whom he moved in with to help raise Tanner’s daughters after the death of his wife. 

Coulier actually once slept on Saget’s couch in real life, having met him while doing stand-up as a young man. Saget became a sort of mentor.

Since its premiere, “Full House” has never been off the air, living on in syndication for new generations of families to discover. 

Coulier once hunted down the number of times the show aired daily on various channels after he disbelieved someone’s claim they were able to watch it four times in one day.

“I think we’re on 14 times a day,” he said. 

“It’s a show I’m really proud of, and I think they just don’t make shows like ‘Full House’ nowadays,” he said. “I think for a lot of kids and parents, it’s kind of a safe haven. I just don’t think that exists anymore.”

Like several generations of children, his son, Luc, now grown, was hooked on it.

“I remember him laughing in the other room, and then he’d run in and go, ‘Dad you were just so funny,’ ” Coulier said. “He called it ‘daddy’s show.’ If he was ever bad, I told him, ‘You’re not going to watch daddy’s show anymore.’ ” 

Recently graduating from college with a degree in aeronautical science, Luc is not following in his father’s comedic footsteps. “Thank goodness,” Coulier said with a laugh. “He’s going to have a real job.”

Coulier grew up doing impersonations, sitting on the front porch as a boy and “narrating the neighborhood” with his brother.

The two of them would lay in their bunk bed at night and rehearse the routine.

Before long, their father would come in, telling them, “You two, knock it off. I’m sick of hearing Mr. Rhondo’s voice in there. Knock it off.” 

Coulier could imitate the coach of every sport’s team he played on and by high school, he could do a dead-on impression of the principle.

The principle heard of this routine and asked Coulier to start doing the morning announcements for him. Soon, he was doing them daily.

“Everybody loved it. . . humble beginnings,” he said.

After “Full House,” Coulier did a few reality television shows, skating alongside professional figure skater Nancy Kerrigan in “Skating with Celebrities” and appearing on “The Surreal Life.”

He also hosted  “America’s Funniest People,” “Animal Kidding,” and “America’s Most Talented Kid.” 

But his most extensive body of work can be found in voice-overs of countless animated shows.

Among those are “Extreme Ghostbusters,” “The Real Ghostbuster,” “Slimer! and the Real Ghostbusters,” “Muppet Babies,” “Scooby and Scrappy-Doo,” “The Jetsons,” “Rude Dog and the Dweebs” and “Teen Titans.”

His goal as a young man trying to make it in the business was always to land a sitcom. 

“Standup was kind of something I did to get noticed, something I did to keep exercising those funny muscles,” he said. 

At 24, he appeared on “The Tonight Show” with Johnny Carson as host at the time. “That was a big deal,” he said.

And then landing “Full House” as his big break, he said he got lucky.

One of his favorite episodes on the show involved a charity hockey game Joey played against an old rival. Coulier actual played on the varsity hockey team in high school in Harper Woods, Mich., alongside future NHL player John Blum.

“The scoop on ‘Full House’ is that we all became great friends and we really love each other and we’ve stayed in touch,” he said, listing off all of his co-stars recent Tweets and messages to each other.

Would the crew ever reunite on “Full House”? Probably not, Coulier said.

“I think it would be really hard to recreate that same feeling again,” he said. “It would be really difficult to recreate a time that’s already passed.” 

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