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Saying Goodbye to Both Bob Sagets

The comedian's fascinating legacy is also a legacy of an era that no longer exists

Bob Saget
Bob Saget, photos by Jason Kirk/Getty Images; Michael Yarish/Netflix
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    In the public eye, for a few decades there, there were two Bob Sagets. There was the Saget known and beloved by an entire generation of kids as Danny Tanner of Full House, the kind and cleaning-obsessed widower raising his three daughters with some help from his closest male friends. And then there was Saget on stage — the real Saget, it could be argued — known for filthy jokes and, at a later point in his career, making fun of his literally squeaky-clean image.

    This is the sort of dichotomy that frankly doesn’t exist too much these days, and Saget deliberately played with these expectations over the years. Three years after Full House ended (and only a year after his eight-year stint hosting America’s Funniest Home Videos came to a close) came his film-stealing delivery of the line “You ever suck some dick for marijuana?” in 1998’s Half Baked.

    He also made four appearances on Entourage as “himself” — specifically, a robe-wearing drug fiend spending his syndication cash on hookers, while simultaneously narrating eight seasons of the CBS sitcom How I Met Your Mother. And then, of course, there was his appearance in The Aristocrats, a documentary about the dirtiest joke of all time that featured numerous comedians telling their version of it.

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    Saget’s rendition was considered by many to be the pinnacle of all of them — something he claimed in an interview came about because he was egged on, though as Aristocrats director Paul Provenza put it, “egging a comedian on is saying, ‘Okay, we’re rolling.'”

    In saying goodbye to Saget, we’re also saying goodbye to a memory of when the concept of a personal brand was a very different thing, and it was much easier to shake up pop culture by revealing a darker side. All comedians play with persona, with crafting a character who may or may not actively resemble themselves, but in an age of social media where Twitter and Instagram and Tiktok and podcasts are now established mediums for artists to work in, the idea of a public face that doesn’t match up with a person’s true nature seems pretty non-existent.

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