A version of this article first appeared in the “Reliable Sources” newsletter. You can sign up for free right here.
Bob Saget was “an ever-present figure in American living rooms,” as Phil Mattingly said on CNN Sunday night.
That’s why Saget’s sudden death at age 65 prompted breaking news bulletins, push alerts on phones, and special reports on television.
TMZ broke the news and the Orange County Sheriff’s Office in Florida subsequently confirmed the death. ABC cut into “America’s Funniest Home Videos” to report the passing of the show’s former host. On CNN, Chloe Melas said “this one cuts so deep” because multiple generations of fans connected to Saget through his character Danny Tanner on both “Full House” and “Fuller House.” Melas said she wanted to call her mom to talk through the news, the same way so many other people will be “processing this.”
Perhaps Saget’s co-star John Stamos said it most poignantly on Sunday night: “I am broken. I am gutted. I am in complete and utter shock. I will never ever have another friend like him. I love you so much Bobby.”
Bill Carter’s remembrance
CNN media analyst Bill Carter, who knew Saget and interviewed him several times, called the actor “accidentally enormously famous.” Carter said that “at his peak, he was starring in ‘Full House’ — and America’s children were watching that, avidly; my children were watching it avidly; we all watched it together, another phenomenon that doesn’t happen [anymore] — and at the same time, he was on ‘America’s Funniest Home Videos.'” That meant Saget was “in two top 10 shows… at the same time.”
“The thing about Bob was, he was not changed by it,” Carter added. “I think he appreciated how special, and, lucky it was… He just took the ride. He enjoyed the ride. He reveled in the ride.”
I also appreciated this point Carter made: “I’ve written a lot about comedians, late-night hosts, in my career,” he said. “And they can be a little difficult,” he chuckled. “They can have an edge, they can be hard to know, and you don’t usually come up with the adjective sweet to describe them. But Bob was a sweet guy. You could tell it in your exchanges with him. You could feel it. He was a warm guy. He was a a sweet guy who had a great career, and he deserved it.”
Saget in his own words
In a 2020 interview with Garin Pirnia for the website InsideHook, Saget talked about his three-dimensionality in a world where only two dimensions are sometimes expected. “How funny you are and how kind you are my biggest compliments,” he remarked. “But then I’ll look online and I’ve got ‘I hate you.’ So I’ll block them. If someone says ‘You’re not funny,’ they’re wrong. I block them; they’re gone. If someone says ‘You’re mean,’ I block them; they’re gone. I just don’t do negative. I guess the things that I’m proudest of are the traits my dad had, which are funny and kind.”
Funny and kind — the same traits that kept coming up during our Sunday night coverage on CNN.
The words “I just don’t do negative” also resonated with me. According to local media accounts, he sometimes sang a song on tour titled “I Don’t Do Negative.” And in this December tweet promoting his tour dates, he used that phrase as the name for his tour. “I Don’t Do Negative.” Maybe that’s a sentiment the rest of us should remember…
— Candace Cameron Bure, a/k/a Saget’s eldest daughter on “Full House,” tweeted: “I don’t know what to say 💔. I have no words. Bob was one of the best humans beings I’ve ever known in my life. I loved him so much.” (Twitter)
— Matt Grossman observed that “‘America’s Funniest Home Videos’ might surprisingly have been one of the most prescient media about how entertainment & social media would evolve…” (Twitter)
— Jake Tapper, who interviewed Saget last year, drew attention to Saget’s charitable endeavors: “If you’re feeling any sense of loss because of the sad news about Bob Saget, I know he would want you to consider donating to the Scleroderma Research Foundation in his sister’s memory…” (Twitter)
— Scott Feinberg called it a “terrible 10-day stretch,” noting the following deaths since New Year’s Eve: Betty White. Peter Bogdanovich. Sidney Poitier. Marilyn Bergman. Bob Saget… (Twitter)
™ & © 2022 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.