A Monkey on Set?! John Stamos Reflects on 'Full House' — and How It Prepared Him for Fatherhood

John Stamos opens up about his career, engagement and baby on the way

Uncle Jesse is going to be a dad! The beloved Fuller House star opens up about expecting a baby with fiancée Caitlin McHugh. Subscribe now for the EXCLUSIVE baby news — only in PEOPLE!

John Stamos shot to fame as a teenager on General Hospital before landing his now-iconic role as Uncle Jesse on Full House.

After a 35-year career on TV and on Broadway, he’s returned to his roots, producing and appearing in Netflix’s reboot Fuller House, which finds the characters he helped raise back in San Francisco, living in the iconic gray Victorian home with their own kids.

Fuller House is now in its third season — and Stamos, 54, wasn’t entirely shocked by the revival’s success.

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“I was surprised, but you can feel it,” he tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue, on stands now. “For years I was really trying to distance myself from [Full House]. Then I realized, it ain’t going away, so I better embrace it. It provided a really beautiful, great life for me and my family. My parents were at every show. I started [playing] with the Beach Boys.”

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Plus, playing Uncle Jesse has prepared him for fatherhood. (He’s expecting his first child with fiancée Caitlin McHugh, 31.)

“I’ll be a fun dad,” he says. “I’ve been practicing for a long time. I’ve done every shtick thing you can do with a baby, on TV. I’ve sang every slow Elvis song, I’ve done all the bits and jokes and diaper gags.”

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Reminiscing about Full House‘s original run from 1987-95, Stamos joked about costar Dave Coulier farting for laughs on set (“He was a gassy guy,” he quipped) and getting “welts on my butt” after filming a scene in bed with a monkey.

“I think when they ran out of ideas they would say, ‘Let’s put Stamos with monkey. Bring a ferret. Do you have a ferret?'” he says. “It was a different animal every week.”

  • For more on John and Caitlin’s happy news, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on stands Friday

Though he has more projects in the works, Stamos says, “I don’t have that fire for my career as much anymore.”

“I can put that fire into my family,” he adds. “I want to become a better actor, producer, I want to do more, but I’ve done a lot for me. I had that list when I was a kid: Get on TV, a show like Happy Days; play a character like Fonzie. I’m not kidding. I’ve done it all except have a kid, so now I scratch that off.”

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