John Stamos can be seen this season on Fox’s “Glee” as Dr. Carl Howell and in development with Twentieth Century Fox, he will produce with Neil Meron & Craig Zadan a feature musical set to the music of the Beach Boys.
NEW YORK MAGAZINE
‘Glee,’ Yes. Confidence, No.
John Stamos gives you his best song and dance.
By Rebecca Milzoff
Before Stamos landed a recurring role on Glee—as Dr. Carl Howell, a dentist wooing guidance counselor Emma Pillsbury—he was one of the show’s punch lines. In the third episode of the first season, Emma says to glee-club teacher Will Schuester, “They say it takes more certainty than talent to be a star. I mean, look at John Stamos.” The subject of the dig “was pissed. People tweeted, ‘Oooooh, they just dissed you on Glee!’ ” says Stamos, who called the head of Fox TV: “What did I ever do to you? Are you guys crazy? Say anything you want about me, but don’t say I have no talent!’ ” Brad Falchuk, one of Glee’s three head writers, regrets the line now. “If I had known John then, we never would have used it. We needed someone iconic to use in that joke, and John seemed like the perfect mix of a guy who could take it.” When Falchuk finally met Stamos, the opposite was true. The actor had plenty of talent; what he lacked was the sort of confident swagger he’d expected from a career celebrity. “It’s surprising, when you talk to him,” Falchuk says. “He’s vulnerable without being neurotic. He’s very endearing.”
“I know those guys with such bravado, and I wish I could be like them,” says Stamos. “I’m not the guy who bursts into the room. I’m the most insecure person you’ll meet if you get to know me.” On the other hand, he is pretty clear about how he’s perceived. “He knows he’s famous,” says Falchuk, “but he also knows what kind of famous he is.”
For those who grew up watching Full House, Stamos as teen-idol-hot Uncle Jesse—even at the actor’s advanced age of 47—is hard to shake. (The 1987–1995 comedy starred Saget as his brother-in-law; the Olsen twins alternately played one of his nieces.) But he’s had a pretty full career since, with the exception of one fallow period after the sitcom ended. He can sing and dance well enough that he took over lead roles in Broadway productions of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Nine, and Cabaret before Birdie; notable TV parts have included a three-season stint on ER and an appearance as a self-satisfied, Ping-Pong-playing version of himself on Entourage. (The Ping-Ponging, he quickly points out, was CGI’d, though “even faking it I hurt my elbow.”) Stamos’s career, says Saget, is like “chipping away at a statue. One day people go, ‘Oh, that’s a really good statue.’ ”
With Carl, the real Stamos has found a role that allows him to send up the public Stamos. “I’ve been hired to play charming guys before,” he says, “but Carl’s kind of a wannabe of all that. He’s naturally likable, but he wants to be cooler than he is.” Two of Glee’s co-creators, Ryan Murphy and Falchuk, came to Stamos on separate paths that happened to meet. Murphy is a longtime friend; he proposed what would have been Stamos’s first post–Full House job. “It would’ve been like Charlie’s Angels, but with three male hookers,” Stamos says. “And we’d go around fixing marriages. Nowadays that sounds like an interesting cable show. Back then I was like, ‘Get the fuck out of here!’ And Ryan still wants to do the show, by the way.”
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John Stamos’ official website: www.iStamos.com