Comedy, even the lowbrow variety, requires a lot of forethought.
“Shakespearean actors will tell you the hardest thing to do is comedy,” said “Saturday Night Live” alum, actor, stand-up comedian, screenwriter and director Rob Schneider, whose body of work includes “Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo,” just about every Adam Sandler movie you can think of, “Norm of the North,” and most recently the Netflix sitcom “Real Rob.”
“I’m influenced by (British comedian and actor) John Cleese a lot. ‘Silly is king,’ he told me,” he said.
Loosely based on Schneider’s life and co-starring his wife, Patricia Azarcoya, and daughter, Miranda, “Real Rob”’s second season became available for streaming in September. So far George Lopez, David Spade and Norm McDonald have made guest appearances.
According to Schneider, his wife and Jamie Lissow, who plays Rob’s incompetent assistant on the show, do the bulk of the writing, and he does most of the rewrites and directs the episodes. He said producing a season of eight episodes for Netflix is “like doing four movies. These aren’t 20 minutes and 30 seconds in front of a live audience.”
“I want the show to be something that in 50 years people will laugh at it; not: ‘Who was that person you were making fun of?’,” Schneider said, explaining why he stays away from interjecting current events humor.
However, the opposite is true when it comes to his stand-up, which has sold out one March 3 show at Sellersville Theater (tickets are still available for the late show). “You get to expose yourself (as a person) and help shape and subvert the audience to your point of view. I think it’s hopeful belligerence. I try to defend the undefendable,” said Schneider, a self-described “equal opportunity offender” whose political views lean moderate to conservative.
When asked his thoughts on why his SNL Richmeister office character and “you can do eet” line from 1998’s “The Waterboy” persist in popular culture, he said: “Like music, comedy has an emotional memory attached to it.” Nominated for an Emmy Award as one of SNL’s writers, Schneider credited lead writer Jim Downey as that show’s “real genius” responsible for rhythmic comedy and “lightning in a jar” funny moments.
For the last two years Schneider has been working on a memoir that sounds like it’ll be in a format of a series of essays, inspired by the style of Mark Twain and Henry Miller. He’s given it the deliberately comic snobbish title “The Complete Works” and hopes to release it next year.
“To me survival is the real revenge in show biz,” said Schneider, noting that this is the 30th anniversary of the moment his stand-up comedy led to him getting hired at SNL.
DID YOU KNOW
Rob Schneider is the father of “Ex’s & Oh’s” and “Different for Girls” singer Elle King. “Her new album (which drops this summer) is so ... openly creative. It’s gonna be Album of the Year,” said Schneider. “She’s a perfectionist. Sorry, she gets that from me.”