Bob Saget, star of Full House, host of America’s Funniest Home Videos, and a veteran stand-up comic who took great glee in skewering his own family-friendly image, has died. Variety reports that Saget was found dead today in the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Orlando, Florida; no cause of death has been revealed. Saget was 65.
Born in Philadelphia in the 1950s, Saget originally pursued a career in film-making before transitioning into comedy. A job doing comedy segments on CBS’s The Morning Program gave him his first national exposure, but he was still a relative unknown when he landed the role that’d make him synonymous with sitcom dads for an entire generation: Neurotic neat-freak widower Danny Tanner on ABC’s Full House.
Although he’d spend much of his later career poking fun at the job that made him famous, the foul-mouthed Saget was a surprisingly good fit for the central figure of the show’s triptych of dads; his comedic timing was already sharp, and he found a genuine gift for projecting warmth when working with his various young co-stars. (Even if their parents occasionally complained about the language he used in front of them when the cameras weren’t rolling.)
Meanwhile, Saget’s success on Full House also helped him score the other gig that would make him a household institution throughout the 1990s: Hosting home-footage-gone-wrong mainstay America’s Funniest Home Videos from 1989 to 1997. Saget eventually hosted nearly 200 episodes of the series, introducing clips and reciting commentary over various birthday cake mishaps and inadvertent nut hits; it’s not wholly surprising to learn that he quickly grew bored with the format, though, staying on for only exactly as long as his contract demanded.
By 1998, Saget was done with both Full House and AFHV, and was ready to show a more, let’s say, authentic part of himself to fans. That same year saw him direct his first feature film, Dirty Work, teaming up with Norm Macdonald and Artie Lange for a film that made movie stars of none of them. (By all accounts, the studio’s decision to cut a raunchy R-rated comedy down to PG-13 did no one any favors.) Dirty Work later achieved cult status, though, as later viewers became better attuned to the comedic rhythms of both its stars and its director.
A weirdly important moment in Saget’s career came that same year, though, when another initially ignored, later celebrated cult comedy arrived in (and then swiftly departed from) theaters: Half-Baked. Saget is only in the Dave Chappelle stoner vehicle for about 20 seconds, but they’re memorable ones: Standing up in front of a cheering support group to ridicule Chappelle’s pot addict, and declare to a cheering support group that “I used to suck dick for coke. Now that’s an addiction, man.” The systematic destruction of the Danny Tanner image, and the emergence of uber-vulgar stand-up comic Bob Saget, had fully begun.
Saget spent the next 2o-plus years of his career bouncing between the two sides of his public persona, performing raucous stand-up shows in which he cracked crude Full House jokes one night, and then lending a voice to Casper’s Scare School the next. (This is also the period where he got a pair of the standard “comedy guy plays someone scary and suspicious” roles on Law & Order, a rite of passage for any famous funny man.)
For the rest of his life, Saget was never far from TV screens (or speakers); he reprised his role as Danny Tanner for Netflix’s Fuller House, and provided the voice of the older Ted Mosby in CBS’s long-running How I Met Your Mother. The only difference, now, was that all those kids who’d grown up with Daddy Tanner’s wisdom were cheerfully aware of what a filthy mind was lurking behind the sage advice, a dichotomy that seemed to delight Saget to no end.
Saget made one of his last television appearances on a 2020 episode of The Masked Singer. (He was “Squiggly Monster.”) He recently kicked off a nationwide stand-up tour that started last year, and was set to continue through summer of 2022.