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Bob Saget’s death a reminder of his huge impact on comedy

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Bob Saget’s shocking death is a reminder of life’s fragility as we mourn the passing of a triple-threat talent who was cool enough to let us in on the joke: that beneath his nice-guy television demeanor lurked a wickedly funny, sometimes risque, stand-up comedian who viewed life through a prism of honesty and joy.

Saget, who died Sunday in a Florida hotel room at the too-young age of 65, not only co-starred as dad Danny Tanner in the iconic, family-friendly sitcom, “Full House,” and, 20 years later, its streaming revival, “Fuller House,” but spent eight years hosting the granddaddy of reality shows, “America’s Funniest Home Videos” and voiced Ted Mosby on “How I Met Your Mother.”

All this while never abandoning his first love, stand-up comedy, with a cutting act that countered his comfortable-shoe on-camera persona. He garnered a Grammy nomination in 2014 for Best Comedy Album (“That’s What I’m Talkin’ About”); Don Rickles, no slouch in the comedy department, was among his biggest fans. And how ironic that he died in the midst of a nationwide comedy tour – and on the day the Golden Globes were prepared to steal the entertainment headlines.

Somewhere, he’s gotta be laughing at his cosmic final joke.

Bob Saget on stage at the “Comedy Central Roast Of Bob Saget” in Aug. 2008 in Burbank, Calif.
The cast of "Full House" in an early shot: John Stamos, Mary Kate Olsen, Bob Saget and Dave Coulier.
The cast of “Full House” (left to right): John Stamos, Mary Kate Olsen, Bob Saget, Dave Coulier.
©Warner Bros/Courtesy Everett C

In retrospect, and with a hindsight obvious only after such a tragedy, comes the realization that the television industry never gave Bob Saget his due, at least in terms of critical validation. He garnered one nomination in his nearly-40-year-career, a TV Land Award in 2004 for “Full House” — and that was nine years after the series ended its original run on ABC.

Then again, as he would have told you himself, awards are just pieces of hardware or shlocky plastic; they don’t measure a performer’s popularity or their impact on a medium. When all was said and done, Saget did not need any statues to prove how much he meant to viewers and to his legion of fans, who would have watched him open an envelope if it meant the chance to see him in action. That’s how much they loved him. And he never took that for granted.

Bob Saget in a 1990 publicity photo for "Full House" and "America's Funniest Home Videos," both of which aired on ABC.
Bob Saget in a 1990 publicity photo for “Full House” and “America’s Funniest Home Videos,” both of which aired on ABC.
©ABC/Courtesy Everett Collectio

So now the world of television and stand-up comedy and everyone who knew Bob Saget personally or professionally will mourn his passing in equal measure. And while his death is a monumental loss, we will, after some time has passed, look back and think: how beautiful it was that, throughout the years and his various iterations on television and in the world of stand-up comedy, Bob Saget invited us into the different aspects of his professional life with a twinkle in his eye and an arch of the eyebrow that said, “Join the party and have a good time.”

We did. But it ended too soon.

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