Why John Stamos Once Tried to Quit Full House

John Stamos, who played Jesse Katsopolis on Full House, recently revealed on an episode of Hot Ones that he almost didn't want to do the sitcom and recalled one of the early table reads.

By Elyse Dupre Jul 24, 2023 3:59 PMTags
Watch: Why John Stamos Says He "Hated" Full House & Almost Quit

Have mercy! John Stamos just dropped a bombshell on how he initially felt about Full House.

"I hated that show," the actor, who played Uncle Jesse on the sitcom in the '80s and '90s, said on the July 20 episode of First We Feast's Hot Ones. "Obviously, I ended up loving it." 

As Stamos—who filmed the episode before the SAG-AFTRA strike began—explained, the show had originally been pitched to him as a series similar to Tom Hanks' and the late Peter Scolari's '80s sitcom Bosom Buddies "with a couple kids in the background." But as casting continued, he realized, "They're spending a lot of time casting these kids that are going to be in the background."

Of course, the show ended up being about a widower named Danny Tanner (played by the late Bob Saget) whose brother-in-law Jesse Katsopolis (Stamos) and best friend Joey Gladstone (Dave Coulier) move into his San Francisco home to help him raise his three daughters D.J. (Candace Cameron Bure), Stephanie (Jodie Sweetin) and Michelle Tanner (Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen).

Patrick Dempsey, John Stamos, George Clooney and More TV Doctors Turned Family Men

And Stamos—who had already gained fame for his role on General Hospital—will never forget one of the early table reads. 

"We sit down, and we start reading, and Jodie Sweetin, who plays Stephanie, reads her lines and people are dying laughing. I mean, screaming," he recalled. "I was like, ‘What's happening here?'"

Michael Kovac/Getty Images for the Critics Choice Real TV Awards

In fact, the 59-year-old said, "They couldn't even hear my lines they were laughing so hard at her," leading him to slink down in his seat. Stamos recalled how he then called his agent to, "Get me the f--k off this show." However, he soon had a change of heart.

"We were like, 'Well, we'll give it a try.' And then Bob came in," he said. "I fought it for a long time. And then I finally said, 'What am I doing? It's a beautiful show we built with sweetness and kindness.' There was no central character on that show is what I realized. The central character was love. We were the best representation of a loving family, not a normal family. The new normal was now an unconventional family. So, I guess that was it. I don't know."

Needless to say, the show was a huge success—running for eight seasons and later leading to the spinoff Fuller House that ran from 2016 to 2020.

Want more Full House secrets? You got it, dude. Just keep reading.

Funny Business

While it's hard to imagine the show as anything but the wholesome family sitcom it was, Full House creator Jeff Franklin originally intended for there to be more stand-up comics in the mix than just Dave Coulier's Joey Gladstone. His original concept was for House of Comics, a comedy about three comedians living under one roof. When it became clear that ABC was looking for something more in line with Family Ties and The Cosby Show, he changed course a bit.

Bizarro Danny

Though comedian Bob Saget was Franklin's first choice for widowed father-of-three Danny Tanner, he was stuck in a contract as an on-air contributor over at CBS' The Morning Program. So, when the original pilot filmed, John Posey assumed the role. Once Saget got fired from his gig, however, Franklin let Posey go and brought him aboard. Posey would go on to appear on shows like Seinfeld, ER, NCIS and, more recently, Teen Wolf and How to Get Away With Murder, but there's an alternate timeline out there where he was able to live comfortably off Full House checks for the rest of his life.

Meet Uncle...Adam Cochran?!

In the original pilot script, Danny's brother-in-law was named Adam Cochran. But John Stamos didn't like the name, so it was changed to Jesse Cochran. After season one, he exerted even more influence and had the last name changed to Kastopolis to bring his own Greek heritage to the character. The sudden surname switcheroo was explained away as Jesse using a stage name to make himself sound more rock-and-roll. Because, sure, nothing is cooler than Cochran.

Twin Temperment

Of the dozens of sets of twin babies who "auditioned" for the role of Michelle Tanner, what earned Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen the role that would turn them into icons for the rest of their lives was the fact that they were the only ones who didn't cry once. After all, you need to make sure that fussy babies aren't going to ruin your takes while filming.

No Love From Uncle Jesse

In the beginning, though, Stamos wasn't exactly a fan of the Olsens. Turns out that their placid auditioning was something of a fluke. "They cried a lot in the beginning," he told reporters in 2015, confirming the rumor that they were even briefly replaced by another pair of twinning red-heads who didn't fare much better, allowing for the Olsens to return. "So, yes, that was true."

A Strange Secret

For some reason, the producers decided that they didn't want the world to know there were two babies playing Michelle Tanner, so for seasons two through seven, they employed a bit of trickery in the opening title sequence and credited them as "Mary-Kate Ashley Olsen." It wasn't until the eighth and final season, after they'd exploded in popularity and the charade was no longer even remotely believable, that the credit evolved to Mary-Kate & Ashley Olsen."

A Near-Separation

As the fraternal twins grew older and it became easier to tell them apart, the producers also considered letting one go, reportedly aiming to just keep Mary-Kate as the sole actor playing Michelle. Ironically, it was Stamos who put his foot down and said that he didn't want one to have to be fired. What a difference a few seasons makes.

It wasn't just the twins who had found a place in his heart. Their younger sister Elizabeth Olsen also became close with the cast after frequent set visits. She even made a special appearance as "Girl with Flowers" in a 1995 episode.

The Other Full House Twins

If you pay very close attention throughout the show's first season, you'll notice that any time the audience can see the mannequin in Joey's room, its wearing the exact same shirt that Joey is wearing in the scene. The gag only lasted one season, but it's a pretty involved one and begs the question: Why was Joey constantly dressing his mannequin?

A Catchphrase Thief

Lest you think Coulier came up with his "Cut. It. Out" catchphrase by himself, or had it written for him in the Full House writer's room, the comedian has admitted that he lifted it wholesale from a pal. During his time as a comedy duo with friend Mark Cendrowski prior to the show, it was Cendrowski who, while playing a suave character, would tell women in the audience, "You're in love with me, now cut. It. Out." As Coulier revealed to Buzzfeed back in 2014, "I told him, 'I'm going to steal that. I'm going to use that someday.' And he said, 'Ah, you can't steal that.' So I starred on a show on Nickelodeon called Out of Control and it became my hook on the show. And when Full House started, I just brought it over and it stuck."

A Love Connection

After a season three dream sequence in which the girls were all grown up, Coulier found his first wife in actress Jayne Modean (aka the adult Michelle). They tied the knot in 1990, welcomed son Luc that same year, and then split in 1992. 

The Original Becky Plan

Before she was spending time in prison for federal crimes, Lori Loughlin was best known as Aunt Becky. But that almost never happened. When she was originally cast as Jesse's love interest, it was only intended to be for six episodes in season two. But the producers liked her chemistry with Stamos so much, they expanded the role and she never left.

Same Goes for Steve

As Scott Weinger told Huffington Post in 2012, he was only supposed to appear in one episode and not become the late seasons mainstay his Steve became. "They had cast me just for this one episode where I think D.J. was supposed to be babysitting, but she really wanted to go out with this guy so she took the kids with her or something," he recalled. "But it was just supposed to be that one episode and then, they wanted to add a character for the following season as D.J.'s permanent boyfriend, a regular character, and they asked me to play him. Of course, I was very excited."

Nothing Rude About This

The only actor who didn't have to audition for Full House? That would be Jodie Sweetin. After she impressed with a guest spot on Valerie, another sitcom produced by Miller-Boyett, Franklin offered her the role, sensing it would be a perfect fit.

Art Imitating Life

When it came to Joey moving into Danny's house, both Coulier and Saget had real-life experience to draw on. And that's because, six months after meeting in 1979, Coulier took up Saget's offer to crash on his couch while passing through Los Angeles. The only difference? Coulier actually left after three weeks, while Joey and his many voices never left the Tanner residence.

In Trouble

While it's no secret that Saget's comic sensibilities ran a little bluer than anything ever aired on Full House, it turns out that the comic often got into trouble on set even when cameras weren't rolling thanks to his, Stamos and Coulier's antics solely meant to entertain one another. "The three of us—me, Bob and John—we got in trouble a lot. From the moms," Coulier said on Oprah: Where Are They Now in 2015. "What we didn't realize is that the kids are backstage and they have monitors in their rooms..."

A Bromance

With the chemistry between the three male leads a bit shaky during season one, a road trip to Las Vegas was planned during their hiatus to help them all bond. However, when push came to shove, a married Saget stayed home, leaving then-single Stamos and Coulier to go it alone. The bond built was so strong that the writers began pairing Jesse and Joey off regularly, allowing the two to share scenes as frequently as possible.

Perfect Attendance

Only three actors appeared in each and every of the series' 193 episodes: Stamos, Coulier and Sweetin. Saget only misses the count because of the original pilot.

The San Francisco Treat

Although the series was set in the Bay Area, aside from shots for the opening credits, Full House only ever filmed one episode on location in San Francisco: Season eight's "Comet's Excellent Adventure," in which the family dog got loose and everyone went looking throughout the city for him. The locations written into the script would've been too hard to fake on the show's Burbank stage, so the cast headed north for a few days.

Where's Abu?

When the show traveled to Walt Disney World to film a very special episode. D.J. imagines Steve as Aladdin, with Weinger actually appearing in costume. The fun of the sight gag, of course, is that the actor played the street rat in the 1992 animated film.

Not So Tidy

If you know one thing about Danny Tanner, it's that he loves a clean house. But if you go all the way back to season one, you'll see that that particular personality trait didn't develop until season two. There's even one episode in that first year where all three guys have to turn to their mothers for help to get their lives together. So much for continuity.

Life Imitating Art

Just like D.J. and Steve did on the show, Candace Cameron Bure took Weinger to her real-life prom, too.

The Comet Rumor

To set the record straight, the dog who played Air Bud did not play Comet. That dog appeared in one episode when his basketball skills were needed, but it was a different dog who played that Tanner family pup otherwise.

From the Screen to the Page

Stephanie and Michelle each got their own book series at the height of the show's popularity, with Full House Stephanie getting 33 books and Full House Michelle a total of 40. A 14-book series entitled Full House Sisters, centered on the shared relationship between the two, came next, followed by the four-part Full House: Dear Michelle, based around an advice column the youngest Tanner girl wrote for her third grade class.

From Russia, With Love

How do you say "you got it, dude" in Russian? In 2006, Full House was one of a group of Warner Bros. properties licensed to the Moscow-based network STS for adaptation to Russian. Topsy-Turvy House, which followed the American story closely while allowing for cultural differences, premiered in 2009 and ran for two seasons.

What Almost Was

When ABC abruptly canceled Full House after its eighth season, an attempt was made to continue the show over on the then-fledgling WB network. The deal fell apart, though, when both Stamos and Cameron Bure decided they didn't want to be involved. 

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