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Bob Saget's Best TV And Movie Roles

Comedian and actor Bob Saget died on January 9, 2022. A lifelong standup comic, Saget got his start as a teenager, traveling to open mic nights in New York City from his native Philadelphia. After graduating from Temple University in 1978, Saget moved to Los Angeles and performed regularly at the famous club The Comedy Store, alongside such giants as Robin Williams and Richard Pryor, while booking small television appearances on such as "Bosom Buddies" and "The New Love, American Style."

In 1987, he caught his big break, landing the role of straight-laced clean freak Danny Tanner on the hit ABC family sitcom "Full House." In 1989, he became the first host of the long-running "America's Funniest Home Videos." The two roles would come to define Saget's public image as a wholesome sitcom dad for years to come, though his own comic sensibilities were considerably more raunchy.

In the years following the end of "Full House," Saget worked consistently on stage and screen, both in front of and behind the camera, with many of his roles either leaning into or subverting that "sitcom dad" persona. In honor of his life, let's take a look at some of Bob Saget's best film and television roles.

Rollin' with Saget

Like Dave Chappelle's "Training Day" parody with Wayne Brady from a few years before, or The Lonely Island's "Jack Sparrow" with Michael Bolton from a few years later, this 2006 comedy short gets its laughs from the distance between Bob Saget's wholesome, somewhat lame reputation and the nightclub debauchery he engages in.

Produced by comedians Stu Stone and Jamie Kennedy for their MTV mockumentary show "Blowin' Up," the song and accompanying video has Saget out with Stone and Kennedy for a night on the town. Rolling up to the club, things get off to a wild start as Saget punches out the bouncer in order to get inside. Later, Saget — AKA "the illest m*********** in a cardigan sweater" — pulls a table of models, gets into a fight with 50 Cent and DMX, and urinates on the street.

Featuring cameos by George Lucas, Tara Reid, Saget's "Full House" co-star John Stamos, and Terry Crews, "Rollin' with Saget" is a play for late-Gen X, elder millennial nostalgia. Saget, as always, is in on the joke.

Surviving Suburbia

In the years after the end of "Full House," Saget made a couple of tries at recapturing that family sitcom magic. In 2009, he starred in the short-lived "Surviving Suburbia" as a more sarcastic, slovenly take on the sitcom dad than Danny Tanner. Originally produced for the CW, the show was canceled by the network before a single episode made it to air; ABC eventually picked it up for a run in the Spring and Summer of 2009.

Saget plays Steve Patterson, a grumbling suburban dad with a wife (Cynthia Stevenson), two precocious kids, and a new neighbor (MTV's Dan Cortese) who is making his life hell. Before the show aired, Saget talked up the show's self-aware qualities, telling the New York Daily News that this was the kind of thing "that [he] would like to do in the sitcom genre." While that may all be true, the show itself drew terrible reviews for its bland setup, virtually nonexistent humor, and occasional creepiness — as with the younger daughter's (Genevieve Hannelius) obsession with Zac Efron. Saget is clearly the main appeal of the show and largely its reason for existing, but if he was looking for a project that might move his image beyond "Full House," this unfortunately was not it.

Raising Dad

Eight years before "Surviving Suburbia," Saget made a different attempt at growing past the Danny Tanner role. "Raising Dad" premiered on the WB in 2001 with a premise that echoed "Full House" in many ways. Once again, Saget was playing a recent widower trying to raise his daughters. Once again, he has a relative living with him to assist, in this case his elderly father. And once again, the show was structured to be mostly family-friendly laughs with a sincere heart-to-heart at the end of each episode.

But airing in 2001 and on the teen-oriented WB allowed the show to include more mature subject matter than "Full House" ever could. For example, an early episode has Saget's character — high school English teacher Matt — fill in for his daughter's Sex Ed class. "Raising Dad" also addressed the death of Matt's wife head-on, where "Full House" mostly ignored its similar premise.

Only lasting one season, "Raising Dad" is perhaps most notable today for its cast and crew, which included future Marvel stars Kat Dennings and Brie Larson as Saget's daughters — and in the writer's room, a pre-"The Office" B.J. Novak.

Law and Order: Special Victims Unit

For comedians looking to flex their dramatic acting muscles, "Law & Order" was often the place to go. The venerable NBC cop franchise has welcomed the likes of Martin Short and Stephen Colbert into its gallery of killers and sickos over the years. Bob Saget joined their ranks on a 2006 episode of "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," playing a jealous husband who poisons the wife of his wife's lover, and then inadvertently poisons his wife as well after inserting an RFID chip into her shoulder.

In many ways, his "SVU" villain turn works the same way as his raunchy stand-up comedy persona, relying on a certain bland normalcy in his looks and voice to hide a river of depravity lurking underneath. Saget was handsome, but no matinee idol, and that non-threatening normcore style would have been a good smokescreen ... if not for the fact that he was the biggest guest star on that episode of "SVU," and thus obvious as the killer from the very start.


Loosely based on Mark Wahlberg's experiences as a young man in Hollywood, the HBO series "Entourage" follows overnight movie star Vinnie Chase (Adrian Grenier) and his east coast childhood friends as they navigate the perks and perils of fame. Like its HBO stablemates "Curb Your Enthusiasm" and "Extras," the show mined much of its humor from celebrity guest stars playing shallow, depraved versions of themselves. Saget appeared on four episodes, plus the 2015 feature film adaptation, playing himself — or rather, playing "Bob Saget," a recently-divorced, hard-partying horndog who also happens to have starred on "Full House."

Like "Rollin' with Saget," his role on "Entourage" is built on the assumption that people still think of him as a sitcom dad from a bygone era. Saget clearly relishes the opportunity to play himself as such a dirtbag. In his first appearance, he arrives at Vinnie's house with a gift basket and a "Full House" DVD set, makes a smarmy play for Vinnie's friendship (who in the world of the show is a much bigger celebrity than he), and then leaving as quickly as he arrived. Vinnie responds, "who the f*** was that?"

America's Funniest Home Videos

Inspired by a home video segment on a popular Japanese variety show, producer Vin Di Bona brought "America's Funniest Home Videos" to the airwaves in 1989, first as a one-hour special, then as a weekly series that has aired off-and-on (but mostly on) for over 30 years, well past the time when smart phones and YouTube should have made the show obsolete. Much of its present-day appeal lies in its low-stakes structure, the perennial hilarity of watching someone else hurt themselves, and the gentle comfort of its host. There have been several hosts since, but the format was set by Bob Saget in the show's first eight-year run.

Saget was just two years into the run of "Full House" when he premiered as the first host of "AFV." Though he wasn't explicitly playing Danny Tanner when hosting, he channeled the character's same geniality and square humor, enough that — between the two shows — his reputation as a squeaky-clean TV dad was solidified. Saget hosted the show until 1998 and made occasional appearances afterwards, including the show's 30th anniversary special in 2019. Saget remained so associated with the "AFV" brand that ABC News interrupted the east coast broadcast of the show to announce his death.

Half Baked

If "Full House" and "AFV" had burnished Saget's image as a wholesome family actor, his role in the 1998 Dave Chappelle stoner comedy "Half Baked" was the first thing to shatter it. As Chappelle's character attempts to stop smoking marijuana, he checks into a rehab facility and attends a Narcotics Anonymous meeting ... only to have the meeting attendees loudly chastise him for having an insufficiently severe drug habit. One of the attendees is an uncredited Saget, who details the sexual act he used to have to do in order to score cocaine.

It's an uncredited, one-scene, four-line role, but it was enough to shatter any preconceived notions of what Saget's post-"Full House" career would look like. The sight of a disheveled Danny Tanner telling a room of rehab patients (hilariously depicted at a small theater with a sign over the podium reading "REHAB") what he used to do for coke is one of the most referenced, most memed moments of that highly memeable movie. Saget even has a strain of cannabis named in his honor, which likely would not have happened without "Half Baked."

How I Met Your Mother

The hit CBS sitcom "How I Met Your Mother" employed a unique story structure. The story of young New York architect Ted Mosby (Josh Radnor) and his friends, each episode is narrated by Ted's future self, looking back on his life from the year 2030 and telling his teenage children the story of how he met their mother. The device is an affectionate parody of "The Wonder Years," given a double dose of 1980s sitcom references by casting Bob Saget as Future Ted. (Or perhaps a triple dose, as one of the show's stars was "Doogie Hoswer, M.D." lead Neil Patrick Harris.)

While the conceit of Future Ted's narration at times wore out its welcome, Saget's performance was always great, fitting the tone of the show — whether that tone was snarky, earnest, romantic, or heartbroken. Future Ted's best moments were when the show used him as an unreliable narrator, such as when he's trying to remember a detail and the scene freezes, or the series-long running joke of Future Ted using "eating a sandwich" as a euphemism for smoking marijuana. 

Full House

Saget had only had a few small roles on television and in the Richard Pryor film "Critical Condition" before landing the role of Danny Tanner on ABC's "Full House" in 1987. A widowed father raising three daughters with the help of his brother-in-law and best friend, Danny was at the center of the series and often played straight man to everyone else. "I realized I was kind of the Rich Cunningham of the show ... I was the pure guy," Saget told the LA Times in a 2016 interview, referring to Ron Howard's role on "Happy Days." It was a role that didn't square with his persona when performing stand-up comedy, which often would bother unprepared audiences. "People are like, why aren't you Danny Tanner? And it's like, do you want Anthony Hopkins to eat people? I was acting, guys!"

Despite those frustrations, though, the role of TV dad was one that he took seriously, and valued the fact that "Full House" meant so much to people. He talked about the show extensively in his stand-up sets, and wrote a foul-mouthed Backstreet Boys parody song titled "Danny Tanner Was Not Gay." In 2016, Netflix premiered a sequel series, "Fuller House," that reunited most of the original cast. As always, Saget was grateful for the opportunity and humbled by the show's continued popularity. "They say you can't go home again," he told the Times, "but we got to."


Danny Tanner was a '90s sitcom dad, but Bob Saget was much more than that. In the 25 years since "Full House" ended, Saget remained a pop culture fixture — not just as a meme, but as a talented and in-demand comic, a director, a writer, a podcast host, and a font of comedy knowledge and history.

He directed Norm MacDonald's cult classic "Dirty Work," and in return MacDonald gave him perhaps the greatest comedy roast of all time. Saget told his version of the world's dirtiest joke in the 2005 documentary "The Aristocrats." He appeared in documentaries honoring his friends Garry Shandling and Sam Kinison, and lent his considerable experience and expertise to the histories of The Comedy Store and the discipline of stand-up comedy in general. Over the years he appeared on countless daytime and late night talk shows, vlogs and podcasts –always welcome, always funny, and always himself. In 2020, he started a podcast of his own, "Bob Saget's Here for You," which above all seemed to be just an excuse to talk shop with his comedy friends.

It's those friends who have been pouring forth with tributes, from peers like his "AFV" successor Tom Bergeron to his TV daughters Kat Dennings and Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. Bob Saget left behind an enviable body of work for any comedian and actor — but more than that, he did it with professionalism, respect, and love.