|Actor, Director, Producer, Writer, Music|
|May 17, 1956|
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Saget was born in Philadelphia, PA on May 17, 1956 and raised in of Norfolk, VA, followed by a move to sunny Encino, CA. His father, Ben - affectionately known as Meathead - was a meat executive, and his mother, Dolly, worked at a children's hospital. Growing up, Saget - a rather nerdy and overweight lad - began making Super 8 movies with his friends, including such memorable titles as "Hitler on the Roof" and "Past Gas." By the time he was 17, Saget was interested in doing stand-up and took a train to New York City, where he waited over 10 hours in line to perform at the famed Improv's open mic night. Meanwhile, he graduated from Abington Senior High School, before attending Temple University. It was at this institution that he won a student Oscar for "Through Adam's Eyes" (1978), an 11-minute documentary he made about his nephew's facial reconstructive surgery to ease the effects of Treacher Collins Syndrome. The Academy flew him out to Los Angeles where he stayed to begin his career in earnest.
Saget enrolled in the University of California's film program, but soon quit when famed Comedy Store owner Mitzi Shore (mother of comic, Pauly Shore) offered him stage time. Soon the filmmaker-turned-comedian began touring the states, performing his lewd act in clubs and on campuses. After one gig in Buffalo, NY, Saget met up-and-comer Brad Grey, who became his manager and started booking gigs for the comic that included an appearance on "The Merv Griffin Show" (Syndicated, 1972-1985). Saget began getting bit parts in movies, playing a sportscaster in the obscure horror comedy, "Full Moon High" (1981). He also began serving as the house MC at the Comedy Store, where Rodney Dangerfield took a shine to the young comedian and asked him to be on his "9th Annual Young Comedians Special" (HBO, 1985). From there, Saget's stand-up career took off, landing the first of several appearances on "The Tonight Show" (NBC, 1962- ). In 1987, he landed on "The Morning Program" (CBS, 1987-1988), a short-lived rival of "Good Morning America" and "The Today Show" that allowed Saget to serve as co-anchor and contributor of comic videos. After six months, the producers phased him off the show, but he was ready to move on to bigger and better things anyway. He had no idea just how "big" his next job would become.
Saget was hired right away onto "Full House" following his departure from "The Morning Program." Light-hearted to the point of mushy, "Full House" centered on Danny Tanner (Saget), a single father struggling to raise his three daughters (Candace Cameron, Jodie Sweetin and Mary-Kate/Ashley Olsen) after the death of his wife in a car accident. Rounding out the Tanner family was Uncle Jesse (John Stamos) and Danny's best friend (Dave Coulier), both of whom move into the house to help raise the kids. Right from the start, the show was savaged by critics, but for some reason pulled good numbers, making "Full House" a surprise hit during its eight season run. Mining Saget's popularity, ABC hired him to host their long-running, but mind-numbingly unfunny blooper show, "America's Funniest Home Videos" (1989- ), a series that showed homemade amateur videos depicting people captured in funny - and often embarrassing - moments. As was the case with "Full House," Saget received brutal critical reviews, but found his show was a hit with easy amused audiences.
Once "Full House" ran its course in 1995, Saget continued with "America's Funniest Home Videos" for another season before finally departing. He then disappeared from America's television screens, unable to land himself another regular series role despite being a veteran of a hit show. It seemed the cheesy sitcom carried with it a bit of a career hex, with all major cast members too associated with it to land work major work for years. On a serious note, he directed the ABC movie-of-the-week "For Hope" (1996) - a tribute to his sister Gay, who died from the auto-immune disease scleroderma three years earlier. Returning to his bread and butter - stand-up comedy - Saget surprised many with his coarse and vulgar act. Little old ladies who had enjoyed him as the sweet natured Danny Tanner were shocked to hear the comedian tell jokes about fornicating with his daughter. But he gained an entirely new audience - mainly collegiate males, thanks to his crude brand of humor. Meanwhile, Saget made the occasional guest spot on television, usually as himself. Most memorable was his appearance on "Entourage" (HBO, 2004- ), in which he portrayed a pot-smoking, prostitute-indulging caricature of himself.
Saget further cemented his credentials as one of the filthiest comics around with his version of an old vaudevillian joke in "The Aristocrats" - a documentary from Penn Jillette and Paul Provenza that depicted over a hundred takes on the joke from a wide array of comics, including George Carlin, Paul Reiser, Sarah Silverman and Whoopi Goldberg. But it was Saget's raunchy telling that gained the most recognition and notoriety, thanks to his unhindered ability to be horrifically funny.
Saget next returned to hosting duties on network television with "1 vs. 100" - a trivia-style game show that pitted a lone contestant against the so-called "mob," a group of 100 people whose numbers dwindle the more wrong answers they give and the longer the contestant answers correctly. The show utilized to great success a format used by like games shows airing in 12 other countries, including Germany, Argentina and Vietnam. Meanwhile, Saget wrote, directed and produced the straight-to-video mockumentary "Farce of the Penguins" (2007), a send-up of "March of the Penguins" (2005) and other wildlife documentaries, proving once again that his bawdy comic gifts were still being utilized while he played it safe with his popular primetime "day job."