Fooler house

Special Engagement with Dave Coulier at Dayton Funny Bone

By Jennifer Hanauer Lumpkin

This is far from Dave Coulier’s first visit to the Gem City. In fact, as a hockey-playing kid in Detroit, he used to travel with his home team down I-75 to play the Dayton Gems.
“That was a big trip for us,” Coulier recalls, talking with Dayton City Paper from his home in Southern California.

The official Red Wings alumni member, perhaps best known for his role as Joey Gladstone on Full House and Fuller House, has had a well-rounded comedy career. His voice likely made its way into your living room on Saturday mornings in the late ’80s by way of Muppet Babies’ Animal and The Real Ghostbusters’ Dr. Peter Venkman. (Come to think of it, there did seem to be more than a thread connecting those two characters.) In addition to his stand-up touring and sitcom acting, Coulier has also somehow found the time to write children’s books, the most recent of which is “The Adventures of Jimmy Bugar” (rhymes with “sugar”).

“No one had created a musical storybook about a 10-year-old booger from Nosa Scotia yet, so I thought, ‘It’s time,’” Coulier laughs. “I’ve been in family programming my entire career, so I wanted to create something for kids to read. I wanted to create a story.”

And he’s created so much more than just a story. Using an iPad, kids can scroll along following the words and singing along to the music that plays. These aren’t your typical kid songs, either.

“I didn’t want to create a kiddie book with kiddie music,” Coulier says. “I wanted to create music that kids aren’t normally exposed to—jazz and reggae and blues, country music. I wanted to give all of those different genres to the book.”

Coulier had some talented friends contribute to the unique book, among them several castmates from Full House. Lori Loughlin does the voice of Sugar Bugar, and Jodie Sweetin does the voice of Emily Snotasake. John Stamos, who had gone in to lay down some percussion tracks for the songs, asked to have a go at performing the character Buck Naked.

“It’s sophomoric at times,” Coulier concedes. “There’s a song called ‘We Love to Fart’ that kids are going absolutely crazy for. It’s got a lot of moving pieces. Bob Harper, who’s a wonderful Disney animator, did the illustrations. I’m very proud of how it all came together.”

Of returning to the world of Full House, Coulier describes the experience as surreal.

“It was an incredible feeling,” Coulier says. “It’s such a gift to be able to go back and do this show that we love so much. It took about 30 seconds for all of us to click back in to all of our immaturity that we had so much fun with so many years before.”

The 2016 Netflix reboot was filmed on Warner Bros. lot, two stages over from where the original was shot.

“I remember a few days before we started the show, I walked over to Warner Bros. and just walked around the stage,” Coulier says. “I saw them building the sets, and they had the living room and the kitchen next to each other, and I have to tell you, I started to tear up. I thought, ‘Holy smokes, I’m home again. This is crazy.’”

He’s not alone. His cast mates and scores of fans have found themselves overwhelmed with emotion at the revival of the beloved show.

“It was a magical moment that first night when they introduced the cast,” Coulier says of the return to filming. “We were standing together backstage, and the audience was going crazy. And when they lifted the curtain in front of the living room set, just the set got a standing ovation. People went absolutely crazy. It was really an amazing little adventure.”

Of the show’s detractors, Coulier has a steady answer.

“We do it for the fans,” Coulier says. “The critics never really like us very much. And we’re like, well, to heck with the critics. That’s not who we’re doing the show for. We’re doing it for the fans.”

And from fans, he most often hears thank-you’s:

“Some of them just say, ‘You know, I had a really tough childhood, but Full House was either a safe place for me or it made me laugh. It got me through some really tough childhood moments.’ Or, ‘It brought my family together, where we would all sit and we were able to watch the show together.’”

Once your stalwart, super professional journalist wiped the bit of dust from her eyes, I inquired of Coulier how the stand-up experience compares to acting.

“Stand-up, I get to write the material, I get to perform the material and I’m talking to the audience, interacting with them,” Coulier explains. “Whereas on a sitcom, I’m making somebody else’s words funny. … There’s a chemistry that each audience has that’s unique to that very moment, which is, I think, why I like stand-up so much—going out there and connecting with a whole new room of people and in different settings.”

What’s next for Coulier? Not one to slow down, he plans to continue the series of Jimmy Bugar books, as well as touring his stand-up. He’ll also be trying something new—directing a season two episode of Fuller House.

“I’m really looking forward to it,” Coulier says. “It’s something that I’ve wanted to do for a very long time, and I’m finally making the move to do it. I can’t wait. I can’t wait to work with the actors. We’re going to have a blast.”

That seems to be par for any course you take with Coulier.

Dayton Funny Bone’s Special Engagement with Dave Coulier will take place Friday, June 10 and Saturday, June 11, at 7:30 and 10 p.m. Tickets, available at daytonfunnybone.com, are $52 for dinner and show or $22 general admission. For more about Coulier, please visit davecoulier.tv or follow him on Instagram and Twitter @DaveCoulier.

Jennifer Hanauer Lumpkin is a writer and cartographer living in Dayton, Ohio. She can be reached at JenniferHanauerLumpkin@DaytonCityPaper.com or through her website at jennerlumpkin.com.

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About Jennifer Hanauer Lumpkin

View all posts by Jennifer Hanauer Lumpkin
Jennifer Hanauer Lumpkin
Jennifer Hanauer Lumpkin is a writer and amateur cartographer living in Dayton, Ohio. She has been a member of PUSH (Professionals United for Sexual Health) since 2012 and is currently serving as Chair. She can be reached at JenniferHanauerLumpkin@DaytonCityPaper.com or through her website at jennerlumpkin.com.

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