When stand-up comic and actor Bob Saget died Jan. 9 at 65, stunned friends and family responded with an outpouring of tributes — among them, John Stamos, Saget’s co-star on “Full House” and the Netflix sequel “Fuller House,” and his longtime friend. In a video interview Monday from his home in Los Angeles, Stamos reminisced about how what began as a sometimes fractious working relationship developed into a love for the ages. These are edited excerpts.
At Bob’s memorial, his ex-wife (Sherri Kramer), who is the mother of his three kids, came to me. She was crying. “He loved you so much. He loved you so much. But in the beginning, he hated you.” What? (Laughs.) “He would come home and he was so jealous of you. He would just complain about you so much.”
My junior high school drama teacher emailed me the other day with condolences, and he said, “Do you remember I came to Hawaii? Bob was so nice to me, but man, you were really unhappy with him.”
And that’s the truth.
Our styles completely clashed. He was a comic. If there was even one person on the set, he had to make them laugh. And I was, “Where is the drama?” I think we met in the middle. But we both went in kicking and screaming, not wanting to bend what we do.
He could be painfully distracting — disruptive — because you’re here, let’s get this scene, let’s find out what works, what doesn’t. And he’s like (punching the air as if for each joke), “Boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom.” I’d go, “Bob.” He couldn’t stop it. I think, if I may say, that it could have been a detriment sometimes to him.
But here’s the deal with him: He found a balance like nobody I’ve ever seen. He would make up for all of that with just as much love or more. I had so many people call me, saying what Bob meant to them and how he helped them. He was maniacally of service at all times.
At his memorial, people started in with the jokes, and it was needed. Dave Chappelle did (two long sets). I said, “You’re the GOAT. You’re the greatest of all time.” And the respect that he gave Bob the last five, 10 years of his life, I said, “That was so important to Bob, and I really appreciate it.” He goes, “Are you kidding me? When I was a young comic, I looked up to him and he took me under his wing. He helped me.” Which I didn’t know.
Bob was bombastic with his love and his friendship. If you were a friend or even an acquaintance, he was like this (mashes hands together) on you all the time.
I looked at this video of us of the last episode of “Full House,” the final bows. We all gathered around, and Bob eventually walked over and he hugged me, kissed me. But I don’t know how close I was to him at the end there. I didn’t think I needed a Bob in my life. I had my parents. I had my faith. I had whatever.
But then my dad dies, and this guy steps up like nobody in my life because everybody else was busted up. My sisters, my mom. But Bob wasn’t, and he just stepped in and took care of me, even to the point of “Can I host your dad’s funeral?” Two hours of dirty jokes that I think my dad would’ve liked. But he gave people what they needed at that moment. Everybody needed a laugh, and he did it.
I think that one really cemented our friendship. And then it just got closer and closer from there, to the point of we just were there through all the most important moments. Now I have to get through them without him, you know?
His divorce was first, and I think that’s when maybe he would say I was around for him. I was his Cyrano through a lot of stuff. I remember being on a text on a first date with him, telling him what to say, what to do. And then when he broke up with that girl, he was practically living on my couch. I mean, we were as close as anyone could be. But everybody said that about him.
Bob was a great listener, but sometimes you had to tell him to listen. Here’s the truth, too: There was a point in our life and our friendship, about 10 or 11 years ago, when we were like a married couple. We were both single and around each other a lot, and I said, “You’ve got to go to a therapist if we’re going to stay friends.” I had this great guy. Bob started going to him, and it really helped. Bob would be talking about himself, talking about himself, and then you’d see something in his eyes go, “Oh. Now I’ve got to ask about John. ‘How are you?’ “
But next to my mom, he was my biggest cheerleader, my biggest fan. He would brag about me to people. When I brought “Fuller House” back and it was a success, at first you could see he was like, “Why didn’t I think of that?” And then almost every interview it was, “John did this. He’s the one who got us together. We owe it to him.”
He was the most egotistical humble guy on the planet. He was the most insecure person I’ve met in my life. He did this thing where he would inflate himself. Every girl that came onto “Full House” — “She loves me. She’s got a crush on me.”
“I don’t know, Bob. Cindy Crawford, really?” I think he overcompensated sometimes.
My job for many, many years was to help him to understand how good he was and how smart he was, how funny he was and how much people loved him. I guarantee you he went into that grave not knowing the love that this world has for him, and that saddens me so much because he wanted that so bad. He craved being accepted and loved and appreciated, and people knowing how damn good he was. And they did know it, but they didn’t get it to him in time.
Bob was always worried about everyone else, but he talked about death a lot. His wife, Kelly Rizzo, said she had a premonition. I didn’t see it. The last time we were all together, we went on a double date to Nobu, maybe a month before he passed away. He didn’t look like a guy who was going to die, but he was very calm, which was odd for Bob. He was at peace somehow. And he listened and he was thoughtful and didn’t interrupt; he cared about what we were saying.
I hate to say it, but it was the Bob that I always wanted to see. And it was the last time I saw him.
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.