John Stamos Says He Tried to Quit "Full House": "I Hated That Show"
He went on to play Uncle Jesse for years, but the actor asked his agent to get him out early on.
Today, the '80s and '90s family sitcom Full House is remembered for its ensemble cast of both adult and child stars. Bob Saget had as big of a role as his TV daughter Candace Cameron Bure, and Dave Coulier shared memorable scenes with Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. But, back when the show was still in its early stages, one of the adult actors was so concerned about the kids stealing the spotlight that he tried to quit. In a new interview, John Stamos revealed that he called his agent and tried to quit Full House after an early table read. Read on to find out why and what changed his mind.
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Stamos "hated" the show at first.
Warning: Explicit language in the video above.
Stamos was the guest on the July 20 episode of the YouTube talk show Hot Ones, and he admitted that he was initially unhappy on Full House. "I hated that show," the actor said. "Obviously, I ended up loving it."
He said that the show was pitched to him as being like the early '80s series Bosom Buddies but with a "couple of kids in the background." He also thought that he would be one of the leads, because he saw himself as a "big shot" following his stint on the soap opera General Hospital.
"As we're casting it," Stamos said he thought, "They're spending a lot of time casting these kids that are going to be in the background."
One cast member got a lot more laughs than him at the table read.
Stamos said that at an early table read, he was taken aback by the room's reaction to co-star Jodie Sweetin, who was only around five years old at the time.
"We sit down and we start reading and Jodie Sweetin, who plays Stephanie, reads her lines, and people are dying laughing. I mean, screaming. I was like, 'What's happening here?'" he said. "You couldn't even hear my lines, they were laughing so hard at her. And I'm, like, slinking down in my seat."
Stamos said that he ran outside of the hotel where they were working and called his agent. "Get me the [expletive] off this show!" he exclaimed.
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He decided to stick it out.
Stamos said that his agent told him to give the show a chance, and obviously, that worked out for him. Stamos played Uncle Jesse for all of the show's eight seasons and returned for the revival series Fuller House.
"I fought it for a long time, and then I finally said, 'What am I doing?'" the 59-year-old actor recalled. "It's a beautiful show we built with sweetness and kindness. There was no central character on that show, I realized. The central character was love. We were the best representation of a loving family—not a normal family. And it was the new normal was now an unconventional family."
Stamos confessed to trying to get his co-stars fired.
It wasn't just Sweetin intimidating Stamos that initially frustrated him about working with child actors. The 2015 Lifetime movie The Unauthorized Full House Story features a scene in which Stamos' character tries to get Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen fired for crying on set. The twins, who were cast when they were babies, split the role of Michelle Tanner.
Stamos confirmed that there was truth to that.
"It's sort of true that the Olsen twins cried a lot," Stamos said at a Television Critics Association event, according to Entertainment Weekly. "It was very difficult to get the shot. So I [gesturing], 'Get them out…!' That is actually 100 percent accurate."
He continued, "They brought in a couple of unattractive redheaded kids. We tried that for a while and that didn't work. [Producers] were like, all right, get the Olsen twins back. And that's the story."
He later thanked Sweetin for saving his life.
During his years on Full House, Stamos became close with his co-stars—including the child actors he initially wasn't sure about. The entire cast—save the Olsens—also went on to appear in the sequel series Fuller House from 2016 to 2020.
Stamos and Sweetin have a particularly significant relationship, because Stamos credits her with helping him become sober. As reported by Variety, in 2019, Stamos presented Sweetin with Writers in Treatment's Experience, Strength and Hope Award. Sweetin had become an advocate for others in recovery after becoming sober herself.
"I hit rock bottom," Stamos said at the event. "Jodie lovingly allowed me to walk my own path and when I finally humbled myself to ask for your help, I realized that the perky little blabbermouth had become the master of wisdom and was right by my side during some of the most difficult days of my life." He added, "Thank god, my wife and my new son will only know me as a sober husband and father. This is Jodie's legacy in my life."
Sweetin then said of her TV uncle, "John, I'm so proud of you and it's been the greatest thing to watch someone that you love have the light come back on again."