‘Our sweet friend’: Stand-up comedians salute Bob Saget
There are few comedians in this world as irreplaceable as Bob Saget — just ask other comedians. Whether they knew him well or just met him, one thing all comics remember about Saget is how he treated everyone with a level of kindness that was unexpected for someone so widely known as both a foul-mouthed funnyman and America’s Dad from “Full House.”
Last Sunday, news of Saget’s death at age 65 shattered his friends and fans across the world. Saget’s death created a void in the world of stand-up where he was not only a legend, but a source of warmth, wisdom and dirty jokes. On Friday, Saget was laid to rest at a private funeral at Mount Sinai Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles.
For those who have shared stages with him across the country, they say it was a privilege that won’t be forgotten. Speaking to The Times, comedians and comedy club owners shared some personal memories of him.
Nikki Glaser (New York-based comedian)
The last time I saw Bob was in October. We were both performing in Milwaukee on the same night, which is a somewhat rare occurrence for two road comics. He invited me to meet up with him and his in-laws [who lived nearby] for a post-show dinner. I wanted to come, but I had my openers and local extended family with me. I told him it probably wouldn’t work out because I didn’t want to roll so deep, but I forgot who I was talking to because instantly he was like, “Bring them all! How many? I want to make sure I order enough food.” I showed up with four people, two of which I had just met that night. I can’t tell you how unheard of it is for a celebrity to be OK with you bringing people who you don’t even know to a dinner with their family. Bob couldn’t have cared less. He gave them as much attention as he gave me, and to my surprise and relief, he was the same exact Bob around his in-laws as he was around anyone. He told irreverent stories. ... We were all family that night. My biggest regret is only writing “haha” in response to his text the next day when he told me someone on his plane had just farted in his face and needed to have their butthole stapled shut. I wish I would’ve said, “Dammit, I love you, Bob Saget.”
Jamie Masada (founder of the Laugh Factory)
The night we found out Bob died, there were a bunch of comedians at the club. I went on stage [at the Laugh Factory in Hollywood] with them before the show to tell the crowd that we lost part of our family. Bob did tell me once, “If I die, I want you to go up on stage and tell people and I want them to laugh and give me applause.” So that night when I told the crowd the sad news, [the entire room] got up and gave him a standing ovation and that went on for — I’m not kidding — over eight minutes. There was so much applause, people crying. It was so touching and amazing how they all stood up and didn’t want to sit down. That really showed how people cared for him.
Gilbert Gottfried (NewYork-based comedian)
When I was young, you’d see an old man on a park bench with a long white beard on TV, his hand shaking and holding his cane, and going, “I’m 60 years old!” Back then that was ancient. This will never make sense. I talked to Bob just a few days ago and he was his usual self, a smart ass, very sarcastic and quick. The minute our conversations would get serious or sincere, it would turn totally dirty and perverted. And that’s the way we always liked it, whether it was on a podcast or just on the phone with each other. I remember one time on a show Bob was asked about being a “roastee” on a Comedy Central Roast, that I was also on, and he said, “It was great. I was surrounded by wonderful people, and Gilbert Gottfried.”
Jim Norton (New York-based comedian)
My favorite thing about Bob is that when we first started texting, I accidentally sent him a sexual text meant for a woman. I had sent her this dirty text, and I get a response from Bob like, “What??” I had to explain the whole situation and why what I wrote was sexual. Thank God it was him because he loved it. For years after that, every time I saw him, he would talk about it. A lot of guys would get creeped out, but not Bob. My first text to him was something sexual and he was awesome about it. He would always come on [my radio show] when he was in town, always stayed in touch, and was just the nicest guy. Everybody loved him because as famous as he was, he didn’t have to be as nice of a guy, but he was. He was very genuine. There was no bull— with him.
Richi Taylor (general manager of the Comedy Store)
We are still reeling from the loss of Bob. He was part of the family, one of Mitzi [Shore’s] comics. Even when he was busy touring or filming, he would take the time to write her and check in with her. He made sure to do the same with his fellow comedians and would send love, congratulations, and encouragement to the up-and-coming comedians that he came in contact with. No one was too small or too great for him to care about. It is impossible to explain what a great man he was and how much everyone at the Store will miss our sweet friend.
Mark Ridley (owner of Mark Ridley’s Comedy Castle in Royal Oak, Mich.)
I opened my club in January of 1979, and in 1980, Bob was one of my earlier headliners. He came in, he played his guitar on stage, and when he said goodnight, the people went crazy. Bob did three encores that night. He was a frequent visitor to Detroit for the first four or five years before “Full House” and he would come to my house, or we would have lunch― he just loved to socialize. He really cared about the people that he encountered. A few years ago, he called me when he was down the street to stop by and say hi. He asked about my sons, asked how my club was doing, and he gave me one of those big Bob Saget hugs. He wanted to make sure everyone was included, whether you were a celebrity or a customer paying admission. I think that just sums up how Bob was.
Stu Stone (Canada-based comedian)
You always hear people say how great someone is when they go, but with Bob, he really was the best. It didn’t matter if you met him one time or a hundred times, he always made you feel special. I feel so lucky that I got to make a rap song with him along with Jamie Kennedy called “Rollin’ With Bob Saget.” It kind of became his anthem, and that is surreal. Bob gave us street cred. He was just one of the filthiest comics ever, but it was done in such a genius way. Uncomfortable humor was his favorite, and that shows you how great he was because he was that guy but also, he was America’s dad. He raised an entire generation of people.
Lahna Turner (L.A.-based comedian)
The very first trip I took to L.A., I went to the Laugh Factory, and he was one of the first comedians I saw perform there. All I knew was that he was Danny Tanner. He was so damn funny. I didn’t know that he was a filthy guitar act, and that filled me with so much joy and encouragement, as a filthy guitar act. He was friends with [my late husband] Ralphie [May], so I saw him various times over the years, and he was always so kind. I was lucky enough to see him again last year to interview him for a documentary. It was just as wonderful as you could imagine. Afterwards, we spent some time talking and he was just lovely. Everyone loved him.
Brad Williams (Orange County-based comedian)
Last time I saw Bob was at the Comedy Store. He got offstage and I walked up to him and said, “Was that your first time back since the pandemic?” He said, “Yes! How could you tell?” I said, “Because you looked really happy onstage.” He said, “I was, I thought I lost it, but that was really fun.” Then we talked how happy he was to be back. Really inspiring to see someone that experienced, that loved, and that talented still surprised by all those things. Bob was the absolute best, and anyone who says different didn’t know him.
Anthony Cumia (radio host, formerly of “The Opie & Anthony Show” and currently of “The Anthony Cumia Show”)
I had the pleasure of working with so many great comics over the years on “The Opie & Anthony Show.” Bob was a big name and had multiple successful TV shows, but it was stand-up comedy this guy loved. He was incredibly funny live on stage. He really appreciated the instant response from the audience, even if it was a groan. As far as being a great guy? I haven’t read one negative thing about Bob. A sweetheart to everyone he met. Everyone seems to have a picture with him. He never denied fans a moment of his time. When people say he’ll genuinely be missed, they mean it.
Bobby Kelly (New York-based comedian)
I didn’t have Bob’s number and we didn’t talk regularly, but he was one of those guys that when you did see or talk to him, he would come up to you like you were great friends. As famous as he was, he never had that air of Hollywood show business horse—. When I first met him, he was on the Opie & Anthony Virus Tour. It was me, Patrice O’Neal, Jim Norton, Rich Vos, Bill Burr and Louis C.K. Then all of the sudden they added Bob Saget to the show, and I was like, what the hell? This is going to be a nightmare because these fans are animals! Bob went out and he was pleasantly dirty, which was so cute and unique because this was the guy from “Full House.” There was no weak spot on the show, and we all were so nervous about following each other. Bob was just like that too, and I thought, wow, yes, this guy is just like us. A regular comic. He was always funny and always trying to get a laugh. He wasn’t phony. He was a funny, sweet and nice guy. He was just so nice. I wish I had that quality.
Erin von Schonfeldt (executive vice president of talent at Levity Live)
My favorite thing about Bob Saget from a club booker perspective [at the Improv] is that he killed every single time. He absolutely destroyed the crowd. You didn’t have to worry, this is a man who knew how to just annihilate and it was so fun to watch the crowds. And as a person who was lucky enough to know him, I think his kindness and his generosity — whether it was like mentoring young comics, or just being so kind and easy to work with — there was no one that worked with him who didn’t feel like he was special. He was so kind and generous in spirit. So he’s 100% a legend in stand-up. It was so fun to watch him enjoy himself. Not every stand-up comic, believe it or not, is having a good time. But Bob was always having a good time and the crowd was having the best time.
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