McGinnis: Rob Schneider to play ConnxtionsWritten by Jeff McGinnis | | firstname.lastname@example.org
A talk with Rob Schneider stands in contrast to all the characters he has played during his nearly 25-year career in comedy. While he has made a career out of playing over-the-top, cartoonish caricatures, the man himself is a very engaging, intelligent realist, especially about the business he makes his living in.
“It’s always been mean, but now it’s ruthless. It’s a tough thing for people,” Schneider told Toledo Free Press Star. “There were a lot more comedy clubs when I first started, and if you were funny, people found out about you. It’s harder to break through. I’ll put it this way: A lot of people are making the same money, a lot of the little acts are making the same money they were 25 years ago.”
It seems a little late in the game for the 47-year-old comedian to go back on the road and work clubs, especially when most audiences know him, first and foremost, as a screen actor. But Schneider, who started in stand-up, said he was inspired by having the chance to see the great George Carlin’s last concert live.
“I thought, God, I really want to do that. And while I’m still young enough to do it, to go out on the road and to write an act, because honestly, by the time I got a good half-hour, I became famous. And I never got to have that killer hour, hour-and-a-half of stand-up, to put on a good show.
“It took me a year to write it. I’m still working on it,” Schneider said of his current act, which he will perform at Connxtions Comedy Club on Nov. 5 and 6.
Schneider’s early career in clubs was halted by sudden national attention, thanks to joining the cast of “Saturday Night Live” in 1988. When asked if the cast he was involved with — which included Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, Chris Farley, Phil Hartman and more — was one of the best ever, Schneider said that along with the legendary first cast and the Eddie Murphy years, “I think we were one of the top three,” though he admitted he hasn’t seen many of the recent casts.
His success on the show led to film, which was what Schneider had always wanted to achieve, though he had never really wanted to be in starring roles. The choice to become a featured player was a calculated one, he said.
“The basic things are, it’s a heartless business, it’s just about money. I just always wanted to be a character actor, but I realized pretty quickly that in Hollywood, we don’t wanna pay character actors. So, if you want to make any money, you have to be a star in a movie. So, I started writing my own, because that’s what Adam Sandler told me to do. And I’ve been pretty lucky.”
There is no doubt that Schneider’s film career has been helped and influenced by his work with friend and fellow “SNL” alum Sandler. Schneider said their collaborations have been successful because of the easy way the two work together.
“There’s a real trust there. If something’s not working, we can change it quickly without any ego to stroke. He’ll just say, ‘Hey, let’s do something different,’ and I’ll slide right with him, the way he’s going, and vice versa.”
Schneider’s solo projects in recent years have included the 2009 film “Big Stan,” which marked his directorial debut.
“Most of the movies that I have done, I had a hand in the directing of it anyway. And I got tired of the filter of, like, ‘Let me do this,’ and the director would say, ‘Oh, I want it this way,’ and I said, ‘Well, we’ll do it both ways.’ And I said, I don’t want to do that anymore. I wrote it, I know what the vision is, I want to do that.”
And though his stage act and film work seem to be his main focus, Schneider also gave a hint as to where his future may lie.
“It seems you can do more interesting stuff on television than you can in films right now, for comedies. And I may be inching back to do a television show.”