In Appreciation of Bob Saget
Let me begin by saying I was never a fan of Bob Saget. I didn’t like Full House (although John Stamos was a boss), I hated America’s Funniest Home Videos, and I thought his raunchy side seemed like overcompensation. Even now with him gone nearly two months, I don’t particularly care for his work.
But I will say this:
He had a very unique talent. He strattled the line between being family friendly, and being raunchy like The Diceman. (Maybe not, but you see me working.) And he made them BOTH work. You just NEVER see that. It’s one or the other. Jackie Mason was a Borscht Belt comic. Andrew Dice Clay is just out and out rude. George ‘Dirty Bird’ Goebel split the middle but was neither one or the other. But Saget did both and was equally good at both.
The best comparison I can think of is Gene Wilder and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Like Saget, this strattled the line between wholesome kids movie they could enjoy on one level, and sarcastic wise ass Wilder that could be enjoyed by adults. This is EXTREMELY hard to do. Some do it: Despicable Me is close, Inside Out, Up (which actually had a very poignant story line) The Electric Company is a TV show that, most assuredly, is for kids and adults. Bugs Bunny, although those too were intended for adults. A lot though fall short. I’m glad they try, but the outcome is basically a C-. Try too hard to appeal to one or the other and you miss on both.
Back to Saget. I don’t know of any comic who could do what he did. There are actors that have range — Tom Hanks has done raunch comedies, rom-coms, adventure, and unique pieces like Forrest Gump and Philadelphia, his finest hour. Meryl Streep also has range, as does DeNiro and the late Leslie Nielsen, who after Airplane never disappointed.
Oh and by the way comics who write kids books don’t count. I do think it takes talent to write kids books but it’s an easier skill than what Saget did. Jamie Lee Curtis wrote a wonderful book about the night her daughter was born; but it doesn’t carry over into her act. Saget’s did.
These however are different roles. Saget did two different types of comedy. And it’s not even like a Steve Martin, who’s excellent at standup and acting but is the same at both.
Even now I’m still not a huge Saget fan. 65 is too young to die and he seemed like a pretty good dude who aged quite well. But I do appreciate what he did and hopefully someday we’ll see someone else top it.
Godspeed, Danny Tanner. Here’s to setting the bar high and a life well lived.