Show business has a tendency to pigeonhole people. If there’s something that you do, and you do it well, that is what you do. It’s very hard to break free of that and show that you can do a variety of things well. But there are those who can break free from those restraints. And Bob Saget is one of those rare cases.
Saget first came to prominence in the late 70’s and 80’s on the stand-up circuit. As everyone now knows, Saget’s act could feature some more sophomoric or dirtier material. But there was a childlike innocence to the way he approached stand-up, in a stream-of-consciousness sort of way – usually utilizing hilarious one-liners – when he was onstage. You got the sense that he didn’t even know he was going to go to certain places, and yet, there he was. He was also pretty damn good on the guitar, which he would break out during his act.
Of course, Saget eventually became a household name in the mid-80’s as Danny Tanner on Full House. This was a much tamer side of Bob Saget, playing the neat-freak fun-loving widower to three girls in a family friendly sitcom. He followed this up by hosting the equally-family friendly show, America’s Funniest Home Videos. But if you didn’t know Saget’s work as a comic, you would never guess any different. That’s how effortless he made it all look as an actor. And probably why audiences were so surprised when they would eventually see the other sides to Bob Saget.
After leaving ABC and the squeaky clean roles behind, Saget gave us a better feeling for just what sort of range he has. He made his directorial debut with the dramatic TV film For Hope, which follows a woman who battles scleroderma. It was something close to his own life, as he lost his sister to the disease. Following that, he made his first theatrical comedy, Dirty Work, which has become a cult classic over time. He followed that up with the March of the Penguins parody, Farce of the Penguins.
One of his best known post-Full House gigs was his memorable and funny cameo appearance in Half Baked. Between that and his run on Entourage, fans got to see a different side of Bob on camera as well as off. And not to mention, his hysterical telling of The Aristrocrats joke in the documentary film of the same name. Next to only Gilbert Gottfried, Saget runs off with the entire movie with his interpretation that gets dirtier and dirtier the more descriptive he gets.
In 2005, he got another bite at the sitcom apple as the voice of the narrator in the very successful How I Met Your Mother. In another surprising turn, he even took to the Broadway stage, appearing in the productions of Drowsy Chaperone and Hand to God. And speaking of the stage, one thing that remained consistent to him was stand-up. He was always on the road or working out a new special. His last special in 2017 was Zero to Sixty. And at the time of his death, he was prepping material to film his next one, that will unfortunately now go unseen. But as someone who saw him perform in October 2021, take it from us. His act was as sharp and funny as always.
When it came to Bob Saget, it didn’t matter what he was doing. Comedy, acting, directing, being dirty or squeaky clean. He was mistakenly labeled as a shock or dirty comic. He could be that at times, certainly. But he could also be so much more. There were many facets and layers to his comedy. He was so good at all of it. Like the loss of his good friend Norm MacDonald, his loss is definitely one that will hit the comedy community hard. And with good reason. May he Rest In Peace.