John Stamos strides into a Los Angeles diner on a bright September morning looking nowhere near his 47 years, but he’s definitely feeling them. Currently appearing in a multi-episode arc on Glee, he’s keenly aware that he’s surrounded by a cast roughly the same age as the Olsen twins. ”I was the youngest guy on set always,” Stamos says ruefully, ”and all of a sudden I’m the elder statesman.” That’s right, the man known to millions as Uncle Jesse on Full House has been on your television for 28 years (since breaking out as Blackie Parrish on General Hospital in 1982), and even he admits with a laugh, ”I should’ve been long gone by now.” How has Stamos endured when so many other ’80s-sitcom dreamboats have been lost to either obscurity or celebreality shows on VH1? By following these five simple rules for surviving Hollywood.
Step1 : Laugh at yourself and others will laugh too
”They say it takes more certainty than talent to be a star. I mean, look at John Stamos.” Those words came courtesy of Glee guidance counselor Emma Pillsbury (Jayma Mays) in an episode of the Fox musical comedy last season. While most actors on the receiving end of such a dig would take offense, Stamos took a much different approach: He joined the cast! He’s now appearing (for at least seven episodes) as a dentist who rivals Will Schuester (Matthew Morrison) for the affections of — yep — Emma Pillsbury. ”I said, ‘They’re going to pay for that joke,”’ Stamos howls with mock outrage. ”’I’m going to add an extra fee!”’ In reality, Stamos has always had a great sense of humor about his place in pop culture. Like the time he showed off his…um, uniquely shaped belly button on Late Night With Conan O’Brien. Ask him about the fleshy nub (the product of a botched hernia surgery in childhood), and Stamos replies: ”It makes me happier if someone walks away saying ‘He’s funny,’ versus ‘He was good-looking.”’
Step 2: It’s all about the work…& working a lot
For his first musical number on Glee, Stamos booked time with private vocal and dancing coaches to prepare. ”Everybody says, ‘Oh, you seem so natural, so relaxed,”’ Stamos says. ”I really work hard at looking like I’m not working very hard.” That work ethic applied even during his eight-year tenure on Full House. While ”Dave [Coulier] and Bob [Saget] were more interested in making the crew laugh,” Stamos says, he and his Uncle Jesse mullet would hunker down in the writers’ room. ”I used to scream at [Coulier and Saget], ‘Put that energy into the script!”’ The actor has also found a way to keep busy in between TV gigs, headlining four Broadway revivals, including 2009’s Bye Bye Birdie. For Stamos, Broadway has been a safe haven, especially after the failure of star-vehicle TV shows like Thieves (2001) and Jake in Progress (2005). ”In the back of my mind,” he says of weathering those disappointments, ”I know that I’m going to keep working.”