Bob Saget: The TV Dad Who “Taught” And Made Us Laugh

TV parents are special because they come across as the “perfect parents” ours will never be — with the right wit and wisdom to solve the craziest problems we create in the coolest ways possible and even laugh about it at the end — thanks to studio scripts and the telegenic actors who play them. And one TV dad who won the hearts of not just America but also the world was Bob Saget.

“I am basically just a nine-year-old boy that evolved,” Saget told Esquire Magazine when asked about his brand of comedy and how it helped form his universal appeal as a sitcom parent. That interview was in 2013 — some 18 years after the end of ABC’s original eight-season long “Full House” sitcom, which portrayed Saget as a widowed father to three girls, and three years before the start of its sequel called “Fuller House”, which ran ​​for five seasons of its own till 2020.

Full House, which co-starred John Stamos, Dave Coulier, Candace Cameron Bure, Jodie Sweetin and twins Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen in one role, turned the Tanner family — with “Dad” Danny (Saget) in the center — into one with a global following, thanks to ABC’s syndication.

The nostalgia created by the original was so strong that Netflix picked up the Fuller House spin-off in 2016, starring Bure but featuring frequent appearances from original stars, including Saget, Coulier and Stamos.

While starring in Full House, Saget also became the first host of “America’s Funniest Home Videos,” in 1989. It was a showcase for viewers’ homemade clips, many of which featured people getting hurt in unusual and farcical ways. Take it as your television form of TikTok.

Beside his squeaky-clean image as one of America’s most beloved TV fathers and as host of the home video show which came with his signature funny voices and groan-inducing puns, Saget was also known for nightclub-style, raunchy stand-up comedy that involved the kind of jokes you wouldn’t tell children. While some may cringe at those jokes, no one could fault the puppy-face, lovable Saget for telling them.

It was thus a shock and grief to the millions who learned that Saget was no more, after his death was announced at the age of 65 on January 10, 2022, from causes yet known.

“We are devastated to confirm that our beloved Bob passed away today,” the Saget family said in their statement. “He was everything to us and we want you to know how much he loved his fans, performing live and bringing people from all walks of life together with laughter. Though we ask for privacy at this time, we invite you to join us in remembering the love and laughter that Bob brought to the world.”

With the end of regular television work, Saget loved his live as touring comedian, evidenced by a tweet he sent out days before his passing. “Loved tonight’s show @PV_ConcertHall in Jacksonville. Appreciative audience,” he said in that message. “Thanks again to @RealTimWilkins for opening. I had no idea I did a 2 hr set tonight. I’m happily addicted again to this shit.”

His Full House co-stars paid emotional tributes on Twitter as well.

“I am broken. I am gutted,” Stamos wrote. “I am in complete and utter shock. I will never ever have another friend like him. I love you so much Bobby.”

Coulier also marked his former co-star’s death on social media, posting a photo of the two holding hands and writing, “I’ll never let go, brother. Love you.”

Saget himself told CNN’s Jake Tapper once that his television family was as real to him as his biological one.

“I’m close with all the kids. It doesn’t happen a lot in the world where you stay close with all the people,” Saget said. “We’re an unusual cast in that way that I have been able to remain close with everybody, because I don’t take eight years of my life lightly and then the other five or six years, six seasons.”

His “Full House” co-star Stamos expressed his grief over the loss of his friend and former colleague on Sunday.

“I am broken. I am gutted,” Stamos wrote on Twitter. “I am in complete and utter shock. I will never ever have another friend like him. I love you so much Bobby.”

Coulier also marked his former co-star’s death on social media, posting a photo of the two holding hands and writing, “I’ll never let go, brother. Love you.”

Robert Lane Saget was born on May 17, 1956, in Philadelphia. He graduated from Temple University in 1978 before finding his way into comedy clubs.

Saget said the track of his sitcom career was unexpected.

“‘Full House’ was an accident,” he told the CNN interview with Tapper. “I got fired on CBS and was asked to be in ‘Full House.'”

Following his first round of sitcom fame, Saget worked steadily in film and television roles but became known to a new generation of sitcom fans on CBS’s “How I Met Your Mother,” acting as narrator and the voice of future Ted Mosby. That show ran until 2014.

Throughout the years, Saget remained a fixture in stand-up comedy, releasing multiple specials over the years and taking his show on the road.

Saget’s reputation for reveling in a much edgier brand of comedy could be seen in movies like “The Aristocrats” — exploring the competition among comics to tell the filthiest version of the same joke — and his guest stint on HBO’s “Entourage” as a version of himself.

He seemed to relish pushing back against his success in squeaky-clean shows, telling dirty jokes at ABC events to make the executives squirm.

In 2020, he launched a podcast, titled “Bob Saget’s Here For You,” an interview show where he welcomed guests like Tiffany Haddish, Jason Sudeikis, Whoopi Goldberg and Norman Lear.

At the time of his death, Saget was on a tour that was set to take him to locations in New York, Canada and several other locations over months. According to his website, Saget often hosted comedy events to raise money for the Scleroderma Research Foundation, for which he served on the board of directors. He lost his sister to the chronic disease in 1994, his website said.

Adapted from CNN and New York Times

Saget with, from left, Jodie Sweetin, either Mary-Kate or Ashley Olsen, Candace Cameron, Lori Loughln and John Stamos in a 1994 episode of “Full House.” (ABC Photo Archives via Getty Images)

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