Gilbert Gottfried's Friendship With Bob Saget Explained

"I thought it was a sick joke," comedian Gilbert Gottfried told ET about the moment he was told that his dear friend and colleague Bob Saget had died. "I'm holding the phone and then I'm still waiting for the punch line," he continued, but unlike the moments he spent with Saget, no punch line ever came. The comedian and actor who played one of the sitcom dads who helped raise an entire generation of TV-addicted kids was found dead in an Orlando, Florida, hotel room on January 9, 2022.

According to Page Six, Gottfried was such good friends with Saget that the two spoke just days before the latter's still unexplained death, and he saw no signs that his pal would be gone soon. He heard nothing out of the ordinary from Saget. He was the "same guy" he had known for years. "Always cracking jokes. The minute any of us started talking seriously, we'd come in with a totally bad taste joke." To Gottfried, their last chat was just their "typical" banter filled with crude jokes and nothing taken seriously.

Gilbert Gottfried knew the real Bob Saget

Most of the world got to know Bob Saget via his role as the warm-hearted widower Danny Tanner of the wildly popular sitcom "Full House," or the affable longtime host of "America's Funniest Home Videos." So when Saget told his absolutely raunchy version of a classic comedian's joke (via YouTube — be warned: it is not for the faint of heart) for the documentary film "The Aristocrats," most of us were appalled that such filth could flow from his mouth.

But people like Gottfried, Norm Macdonald, and other comedians who knew Saget personally were well aware that his jokes often pushed the boundaries of propriety — and even made some people uncomfortable. "No one who knew him was the least bit surprised," he told ET. "In fact, for the people who knew him, 'Full House' was something they laugh at because it's like they say, 'No, he's not this wholesome guy. ... It was hard to explain, because it was like, very easygoing, and yet outrageous stuff." 

According to Page Six, shortly after Saget's death, Gottfried appeared on the Hollywood Raw podcast and was asked what sort of send-off he thought his friend would've liked. "I think he would want it not too sensitive. I think he would have wanted stuff kept at a lighter level and maybe a little sick," Gottfried answered.

Gilbert Gottfried died after battling a long illness

On April 12, 2022 it was announced via a message from his family posted to his Twitter account that Gilbert Gottfried had died at age 67. "We are heartbroken to announce the passing of our beloved Gilbert Gottfried after a long illness. In addition to being the most iconic voice in comedy, Gilbert was a wonderful husband, brother, friend and father to his two young children. Although today is a sad day for all of us, please keep laughing as loud as possible in Gilbert's honor," the tweet read. Gottfried's publicist, Glenn Schwartz, revealed to People, that the comedian's cause of death was recurrent ventricular tachycardia due to myotonic dystrophy type II.

The legendary comedian's death shocked friends, fans, and acquaintances alike. Actor and Seinfeld start Jason Alexander tweeted his sympathies, saying, "Gilbert Gottfried made me laugh at times when laughter did not come easily. What a gift. I did not know him well but I loved what he shared with me. My best wishes and sympathy to his family."

Gilbert Gottfried and Bob Saget died just a few months apart

Just a few months before his own death, Gottfried tweeted a photo of himself with his late friends and comedians Bob Saget and Louie Anderson, both of whom died in January 2022. The photo was posted in reaction to Anderson's death and the accompanying message read, "This photo is very sad now. RIP Bob Saget and RIP Louie Anderson. Both good friends that will be missed." 

Saget, Gottfried, and Anderson were all in their 60s when they died and their relatively young ages at the time of their deaths was a shock to their fans. It seemed as though there had been a string of comedians dying around the same age within a year of each other. Another close friend of both Saget and Gottfried, comedian Norm Macdonald, died from cancer in 2021 (via The New York Times). Anderson also died from cancer, specifically diffuse large B cell lymphoma, a kind of blood cancer, per The New York Times. The initial reports were that Gottfried had died after an illness; however, Saget's death is still shrouded in some degree of mystery. According to Rolling Stone, his cause of death was head trauma, though how he received it is unknown.