By DAVID KLEINMAN
For 21st Century Media
If you want something done right you have to do it yourself.
That’s just what actor and stand-up comedian Rob Schneider came to realize when his eponymous sitcom was prematurely cancelled almost two years ago.
“I think we could’ve had a chance to grow into something, we only did eight episodes. It would’ve been nice if we could’ve done a second season but I appreciate the opportunity. Now I’m doing my own,” he said.
Once upon a time Schneider might have had to take the cancellation of “Rob’ lying down, forced to kowtow to the networks’ decisions, the almighty powers-that-be. In 2014, with a staggering variety of avenues for entertainment on television and online, a man as prolific as Schneider has his options. He boasted 40 countries already interested in buying the series he’s creating and starring in during a recent phone interview.
“I’d love to work with some other directors and people that will challenge me but I’m going to make sure it has the caveat of ‘It’s gonna be funny’ or I’m out of here. That’s going to be in every contract that I do from now on. It’s not funny? I’ve got a funny clause in there. I think this ‘Real Rob’ show is interesting because there are no censors to it besides the ones I create. I’m doing what I want to do.”
While CBS billed his former show “Rob” as “loosely based” on Schneider’s real life “Real Rob,” which is currently filming, hits closer to Schneider’s own front door. Bringing the “real” into “Real Rob,” the roles of his wife and daughter will be played by, well, his wife and daughter. Schneider relishes the chance to work with his off-screen newborn and love interest.
“Miranda’s like 13/14 months old and I keep looking at her thinking ‘I don’t want to miss anything’, just seeing her growing up,” Schneider said. “It’s the most beautiful thing that can happen any time in your life but when it happens later in life I think you can appreciate how special it is.”
Like any natural-born comedian, Schneider finds the funny in life wherever it may take him. Art will imitate life with the launch of “Real Rob” and a busy upcoming touring schedule of stand-up comedy dates, including a three-day stop at Helium in Philadelphia.
“I laugh now about being a young, horny guy and then being a guy at 50. It’s a different thing,” he chuckled. “I like that, I can relate and people laugh their (a…) off at this stuff. I don’t care how rich you are or if you get recognized, who gives a crap? I’m still going to have the same problems and get to people in a way that’s interesting. I find that to be a real accomplishment, to bring up a joke and the audience doesn’t know where it’s going to go and I get them some place.”
Schneider’s career roots lie in stand-up comedy, his full-time gig prior to getting plucked from countless up-and-comers to write for career kick-starter “Saturday Night Live.” A staff writing job soon lead to becoming a cast member and as they say, the rest is history. Schneider’s celebrating a 25-year milestone in film, with regular roles in buddy Adam Sandler’s movies and hilarious turns as “The Hot Chick,” “The Animal” and “Deuce Bigalow.”
“I still love the idea of making movies and having people make an appointment to come see something I made in the theater. That shared experience with other people sitting down — that I don’t take lightly. You get a babysitter and you have to park far away, get in line, buy some crappy popcorn and maybe the seats’ (are) not that great but when the lights come down there’s some potential for some good laughs, a good time.”
With no major studio financing “Real Rob” Schneider is hitting the road to personally connect with audiences he’s endeared himself to for over a quarter-century of his film and television career.
“I can’t say I’ll be doing this in five years, I want audiences to remember they came out to see me and had a really good laugh. I’m not curing cancer but I do think there’s a reason why if I can make people laugh they’ll never forget it. I feel grateful that somebody comes up to me and says ‘The first movie we saw was ‘Deuce Bigalow’ and now we have three kids’. I’ll remember something I did 25 years ago, a joke or something when I was doing a sketch on ‘Saturday Night Live’ and I remember laughing really hard and people remember it years later. It makes me feel good.”
IF YOU GO
WHAT: Rob Schneider
WHERE: Helium Comedy Club, 2031 Sansom St., Philadelphia.
WHEN: Thursday, May 1, 7:30 p.m.;Friday, May 2, 7:30 and 10 p.m.; Saturday, May 3, 7 and 9:30
TICKETS: $32 admission, $39 reserved
INFO.: Call (215) 496-9001 or check www.heliumcomedy.com.