With his megawatt grin, perfectly coiffed hair, bottomless charisma and likeability rating, John Stamos would have made one killer politician. Aside from the fact he swore years ago to never publicly comment on his personal beliefs, be they religious or political. But that doesn't mean Stamos shies away from hot button projects, like his latest play, Broadway's The Best Man.
As Senator Joseph Cantwell, the charlatan competing for the 1960 Presidential nomination, Stamos exudes a steely calm and magnetic power he's yet to capitalize on professionally. Before Stamos wraps up his critically acclaimed run alongside James Earl Jones, John Larroquette, Cybill Shepherd and Kristin Davis, he chatted with ETonline about the power of politics, how the current presidential election is influencing The Best Man and why it may next affect his Oikos Yogurt commercials.
ETonline: I was amazed while watching the show that, despite being written by Gore Vidal in the 60s, it was still very topical and felt as if it could have been written today. John Stamos: Yea, it's incredible. I didn't know much about the show before doing it, so I wondered if it would be squeaky or if people would be able to relate to it. But it's astounding that Gore predicted a lot of the things that are happening now, 50 years ago.
ETonline: Do you find that real world politics have any effect on the audience's reaction to the show on a given night? Stamos: Oh yea, all the time. Every week there's something new. We have a line in the show, "We better get a Catholic in the office now" and with this whole Ryan Paul thing, that gets a huge laugh now. Whatever is in the papers that day makes something get a laugh that may not have gotten one before.
ETonline: Do you consider yourself a political person? Stamos: I try to keep up with politics so I can be part of society and a good American to decide who I want to vote for, but I've always been very quiet about it. I'll never forget my father saying, "Never talk about politics or religion." And I never have. Sometimes I feel that it can make me look a little wishy-washy or not as smart or strong in the press, but I get tired of so many actors pushing their opinions down people's throats. It's a fine line.
ETonline: Given that, I'm sure you were more attracted to the complex moral issues these characters struggle with than the political satire? Stamos: 100 percent. It's all about how we treat one another – the "I" versus the "we." The thing that attracted me to all these characters is there's such a duality. My character believes in God and would never cheat on his wife and is this moral guy, but at the same time, he'll look you right in the face and lie straight into your eyes. How do you go to bed at night with that? Thinking about that intrigued me.
ETonline: Since the play is about investigating morality, how exciting has it been to find new layers to this character as you play him night after night, week after week? Stamos: That's the best part and why I say this is certainly one of my adult career highlights. How often do you get to play this kind of character, on Broadway, with this cast? Every night I find something new about my character or the show, and find that I could try something different because the writing supports it. After the curtain goes down, James [Earl Jones] and I have a 10 minute conversation about the show and talk about maybe trying some new things the next night. The other night, we were talking about a scene for so long, the curtain came back up while people will still leaving the theater. There we are, just talking on stage. And he's been in the show for over a year and is still finding new layers to his character. As an actor, that's exciting.
ETonline: Sounds like this experience has given you a renewed excitement for your career. Stamos: 100 percent. I'm on a buzz, I'm on a high I haven't felt in years. I don't remember feeling this clear after taking on this big a challenge before. I'm not a great singer or dancer, so physically a lot of times with the musicals I've done, if I pull them off, that in and of itself is an accomplishment. This is an intellectual piece and a deeply flawed complicated, layered character, so it's inspired me and I can't wait to put this energy into my next project. That would be the goal – you learn something in one job, apply it to the next and so on and so forth. But, the business is tough now – I could sit around for six months and do more yogurt commercials. You just never know. That might mean my next yogurt commercial will be very political [laughs].
ETonline: I've always been curious, when you're a spokesperson for a product, do you just get tons and tons of it sent to you? Stamos: Yes, they certainly give me whatever I want, but I'm always running out, and because of this, I feel like I should have it with me at all times [laughs]. They give me whatever I need.
ETonline: Does that fact play into the products you choose to endorse? Stamos: I should start endorsing cars! [laughs] Computers, Prada, Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana, The Apple Store…