Okay, first off, I’m not the kind of person to really give a shit about this kind of thing but, at the same time, I’m not a heartless asshole. We’re still trying to wrap our collective heads around the fact that our cultural grandmother, Betty White just passed away and now we’re faced with the news that America’s Dad, Bob fucking Saget has passed as well.
I don’t know the details, at the end of the day they really don’t matter, the loss is still felt. I can’t say that I could tell you the name of his last few albums, I didn’t follow him on social media but at the same time, we all knew who he was. When you thought of the all-American, white as mayo on wonder bread who could teach you to ride a bike before giving you a heart to heart talk about sex and drugs, he was the guy.
He was the very epitome of middle-class white America who made Simone and Garfunkel sound like banned Norwegian death metal and it wasn’t just with “Full House”, he carried the persona over into other shows as well. Growing up seeing him introduce clips on “America’s Funniest Home Videos” all I could think of is how lame the guy was.
Then we found out the truth.
His cameo in “Half Baked” was a punch to the gut. Unless you were one of the few who had seen his stand-up routine, you never saw it coming. Why the fuck was Danny Tanner in this movie? In the rehab scene? There’s no way he just said that, wait a second, rewind, no way,…. Holy shit boys, what just happened? While it’s a classic, the rest of the movie could have been trash and that one 9 second clip of him strung out, that one line, would have lived on in infamy for years.
I remember the first time I saw him make a guest appearance on a short-lived show called “Huff” playing a coked head comedian with a thing for dwarf sex workers and it left me shaking my head. How the hell could America’s dad act like this?!?!? Not only that but, given that I’ve worked in the restaurant industry for nearly three decades, the performance was scary real, not what someone who’s never done blow before would think someone high would act like. I’m not sure if he was high during filming but at the very least, he was pulling from first-hand experience.
Turns out, he fooled us all.
That’s what made him so amazing. This dude had all of mainstream America convinced that he was harmless and too scared to drink more than a lite beer who you’d see at the PTA meeting. Meanwhile, and I don’t know this for an absolute fact but would have a hard time believing it didn’t happen, he was doing lines of coke off of strippers’ asses and having origies. He was filthy as hell and it was epic.
You can go listen to his stuff without knowing it’s him and it’s funny as hell and notable. The guy had some great material by any standard and his timing and delivery were dead on, he had a sense of flow that’s hard to attain let alone maintain on a stage. But when you see him, when you see the source of the jokes, you can’t help but be thrown off and forced to pay attention.
I love Andrew Dice Clay but as soon as the guy walks on, you know what’s coming but at least he’s authentic. With Bob, you didn’t and the jokes just hit different coming from a middle-aged white guy in glasses. Some people in his position might try to write this stuff to sound cool or edgy but lack the actual substance to pull it off but Bob was talking from real experiences and observations of these situations.
While a lot of entertainers go to the extreme to prove to us how hardcore they are, while in reality being very boring people, he did the exact opposite. He was so committed to his act with mainstream America that he was able to fool all of us. He went out of his way to come off as lame and non-threatening and he was so good at it that, even after we grew up and saw his stand up, we still couldn’t shake the image.
The best part is that, for all intents and purposes, he wasn’t a bad dude. I didn’t know the guy personally and maybe I’m falling for the persona but even when he was alive, he was respected. Sure, he partied but you never heard about him being an asshole to work with or being demanding or violent. He wasn’t a feature in the tabloids because of the fact that he seemed to be pretty low-key despite his success.
Agreed, celebrity worship is a bad thing.
Ah but when you’re raised on TV and learn life lessons from sitcoms, it’s hard not to feel something when a guy like this dies. The older you get the more frequently things like this happen and yet it never gets easier when you get the news. He went from being super lame to super cool the older I got and that made me respect him even more since he knew there was a time and place for things while staying true to himself the entire time. It doesn’t matter if you’re a fan or not, the guy had a major cultural impact and I can only hope that he’s partying at a strip club in Heaven with Betty White right now looking down and having the last laugh.