Dave Coulier Says Dana Carvey Cost Him ‘Saturday Night Live’ Gig

Because of Dana Carvey, Dave Coulier lost out on a sweet ”SNL” job in the 1980s, and the course of U.S. culture was changed forever

Dave Coulier has ground a place for himself in the bedrock of pop culture as “Uncle” Joey Gladstone on Full House, as well as its 21st Century reanimation, Fuller House. But if not for a perceived resemblance between his comic stylings in the 1980s and those of one of Saturday Night Live‘s newest stars at the time, Dana Carvey, it is just possible Coulier would never have played the weird character on the weird sitcom at all.

Still hoping to bottle the lightning from hosting Nickelodeon’s kid sketch comedy show Out of Control from 1984 to 1985, Coulier found himself in contention to become one of SNL’s Not Ready for Primetime Players around the 1986-87 season.

“I guested on Newhart and Family Ties,” Coulier recalled Monday morning on SiriusXM’s Jim Norton & Sam Roberts satellite radio show. “I did a Cheech and Chong movie called Things Are Tough All Over, there were little jobs here and there, and then I auditioned for SNL and did my screen test at NBC and [TV producer] Brad Grey called me and he said, ‘I just talked to Lorne.'”

Although Grey had assured Coulier that SNL creator Lorne Michaels told him, “It’s going to be great having Dave with us in New York this year as a featured player,” that is not how things worked out.

“And so, I was going to New York, to be on Saturday Night Live,” Coulier continued, “and so I told everybody in my life, of course. All the comics knew it. They were like, ‘Wow, you’re going to New York? You’re gonna be on SNL?’ And I’m like, ‘Yeah, can you believe it?’ I told everyone I knew. My family. I boxed up everything in my apartment.”

But with a turn of events, no one could have reasonably predicted, the young comic’s dreams were dashed.

“And then, like ten days go by, and I don’t hear anything,” Coulier told Norton and Roberts. “And I’m trying to find an apartment in New York, and I’m ready to go, and then I get a call from Brad and he says, ‘Listen, I’ve got some bad news.’ I’m like, ‘What could be bad? I didn’t find an apartment?'”

“No,” Grey informed him. “You’re not going.”

“But why?” the gifted youngster asked.

“Because I just spoke to [then-NBC President] Brandon Tartikoff,” Grey replied. “And Brandon thinks that you and Dana Carvey are too similar.”

So, Alanis Morissette’s most speculated-about ex related, “I had to call everyone in my life and say, ‘I’m not going—I wasn’t lying! I really was going!'”

But, as history tells, that crisis was but an opportunity, because Coulier would soon become one of three single dudes living in an impossibly expensive San Francisco dream home with two tweens and a baby (Don’t count Michelle twice!).

“I luckily got my apartment back, unpacked everything, and then about a year later I got the Full House script,” Coulier said.

During the in-between year, Roberts asked Coulier, if the sight of Carvey on SNL didn’t have him “just grinding your teeth?”

Coulier dismissed such a concept, stating he “loves” the “Broccoli Song” artist.

Stay on top of the latest in L.A. food and culture. Sign up for our newsletters today.