Stamos on Stamos: Star Reviews John Stamos Art Show - Rolling Stone
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Stamos on Stamos: ‘Full House’ Star Reviews John Stamos Art Show

Riot Fest is putting on a John Stamos art show this fall. Who better to comment on the best entries than the man himself?

John Stamos Reviews John Stamos Art Show

John Stamos is a busy man, but not too busy to review John Stamos-themed artwork.

Cliff Lipson/Getty

John Stamos is used to being a pervasive pop-culture reference. He recalls a screening of 2008’s Step Brothers when everyone in the theater turned to stare at him when the titular characters simultaneously blurted out his name as the man they’d both sleep with if they were women; how he got used to having his name dropped in movies like Mean Girls and Guardians of the Galaxy; how he even played along by doing all those Greek yogurt commercials. “If you’re not in on the joke, then you’re a joke,” Stamos tells Rolling Stone from his Fuller House office in Los Angeles. “You can’t fight it.”

But Riot Fest’s obsession with John Stamos started to cross over into a different realm.

It began about four years ago, when the Chicago-based festival first tried to get Stamos to re-form his Full House band. “It started out with a fun tweet joking about getting Jesse and the Rippers back together,” says a rep for the festival, who goes by Riot Fest Twitter Guy. “And our fans just seem to latch onto that.”

There was only one problem: Jesse and the Rippers was never an actual band. “The Rippers were like whatever friend was nicest to me that week, I put them in that band,” Stamos says. “If you watch, it’s 30 different guys. Some of them weren’t even musicians.”

So Stamos ignored the tweet – and that’s when things got weird. When Riot Fest didn’t hear back from the former Tiger Beat cover star, the team hired an artist to carve Stamos’ image into butter, a temporary statue that came to be known as “Butter Stamos.” (His initial reaction? “What the hell are these people doing,” Stamos recalls.)

But for the festival, the obsession only grew. “The year after the butter sculpture, a chainsaw sculptor came out and sculpted John Stamos out of a big block of tree stump,” recalls the rep, noting that their festival-themed restaurant also has his likeness stamped in their butter pats. “This all just sounds so ridiculous when you say it out loud.” But it didn’t stop them from pursuing the erstwhile Uncle Jesse. “It’s John Stamos,” says the rep. “Everyone loves John Stamos.”

The fest has never given up hope that he might grace them with his presence – “I put his name on my personal guest list every year, and he’s never taken us up on the offer,” says the rep – but this year, they decided to give others the chance to interpret his likeness. They put out a call for entries to the John Stamos art show, and ended up receiving about 50 pieces. At a bar event last month, a panel of judges narrowed that number down to 10, which will be displayed at the Riot Fest restaurant until the festival in September. The 10 finalists will eventually go on display and head to auction, with all proceeds going to a charity of John Stamos’ choosing.

To further implicate Stamos in this meta-celebrity mess, Rolling Stone reached out for his opinions on the portraits that made the cut. As he says, “You can’t fight it.” Here, John Stamos reviews the John Stamos Art Show. 

Photograph by Anthony Nguyen

“… And John Stamos,” by Paris Petersen

That looks like some skill. But who needlepoints these days? Maybe it would have been better to spend the time doing a blanket or something. As for the picture – it’s got a smirk, that works. I’m sitting in my office right now and I’m looking – it looks like the eyes are following me no matter where I go. That’s what’s weird about this one. Now I’m on the other side of my office and I’m still staring at myself. 

Photograph by Anthony Nguyen

“Riot Fest Sucks, Have Mercy,” by Amy Belonio

Well, this is pretty cool. It looks like someone maybe threw a crayon on a canvas, but it’s very colorful. Do you like this one? It’s very pastel-y. It has an eighties – it’s eighties all around. There’s more Tiger Beat – it’s got a Cindy Lauper vibe about it too. Those colors, it’s fun. I like it. The hair looks like little colorful snakes. 

Photograph by Anthony Nguyen

“Stylin’ Stamos!” by Joshua Wysocki

Now this Stylin’ Stamos thing – this has got it. I dig this. Do you remember these toys? They used to have a bald guy and you would use a magnet to put the hair the way you wanted? I want one of these. I need it and I want it. 

Photograph by Anthony Nguyen

“Summer Stamos Pt. 1; Butter Stamos; Summer Stamos Pt. 2,” by Monique Duron

Going down to the triptych. So that’s summer Stamos, OK. Me and an ice cream. Blue ice cream. Butter Stamos, and then Summer Stamos Part Two. Hey, by the way, getting back to this butter thing, I saw [David] Hasselhoff this morning doing a commercial where he was sculpting his face in butter. Did you see that? 

These are fine. Ice cream, cool. Butter Stamos, that looks good. Blowing a bubble. Cause those are the two things I do in the summer. I eat blue ice cream and I blow bubbles. 

Photograph by Anthony Nguyen

“General Stamotopoulus,” by Chris Gallevo

Interesting. It does look like they made me – they gave me a face of a short man. You know what I mean? I look a little squattier or something. I’m about six foot, but if I was, you know, 4’11” or whatever, I guess my face would be a little – well it’s actually kind of stretched out, too. Damn. This is… interesting. And I have that outfit. The thing is, they don’t show the bottoms. I only have the top. If you saw this full picture, I’m completely bottomless. 

Photograph by Anthony Nguyen

“Mercy,” by Tracy Buchman

I like this one. I like this one because everybody already says like, “Oh, you should play a superhero or something in one of those Marvel movies.” This looks like sort of an evil villain Stamos clown. But he seems very like – I’m gonna kill you, but I’m sort of optimistic about it? I don’t know. I like it. You know what the truth is? I’m gonna keep this and I’m gonna have someone do that to my face for Halloween next year. 

Photograph by Anthony Nguyen

“Tasty,” by Mary Rodriguez

Now we’ve got more yogurt. I thought the yogurt commercial was gonna be more detrimental. Maybe it was, I don’t know. But I was handling a pretty heavy dramatic part there, for a lot of this yogurt business. To go do a yogurt commercial and then get onstage on Broadway [in Gore Vidal’s The Best Man] with arguably one of the greatest living actors, James Earl Jones. So that always calms me in those things. 

Photograph by Anthony Nguyen

“Spread of the Year,” by Ben Perlstein

At least this one’s more authentic than Trump’s Time magazine! [laughs] I stay out of politics, by the way. That’s a non-partisan joke but it’s funny. 

Photograph by Anthony Nguyen

“Uncle Jesse and the Baby Michelle,” by Angela Librizzi

That looks like I’m holding a straight razor, like I’m going to cut her head off or something, doesn’t it? 

Photograph by Anthony Nguyen

“The Vulture,” by Alex Rosas

That looks like if Eddie Munster and John Travolta had a baby. And Mel Gibson, with a little bit of Karate Kid. This is… this is all very flattering. It’s all really interesting. I don’t know – I can’t think of any other show that has done what Full House did. You know, like come back 30 years later, still very successful. So I guess that has something to do with all of this. It’s like – I guess it’s something to be proud of. I don’t know. Would I rather have Ryan Gosling’s career? Probably. 

In This Article: John Stamos

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