BOSTON HERALD: Schneider’s night live – ‘SNL’ alum returns to stand-up roots

BOSTON HERALD: Schneider’s night live – ‘SNL’ alum returns to stand-up roots

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The Robmeister is coming to town.

But when “Saturday Night Live” alum Rob Schneider takes the Wilbur Theatre stage Saturday, he’ll be leaving his TV characters behind and returning to his stand-up roots.

“A lot of people don’t even know that I did stand-up,” the 46-year-old said by phone from his home in Pasadena, Calif. “Then when I was making the (Adam Sandler) movie ‘Grown Ups’ in Boston last summer, Chris Rock was telling me, ‘You’ve gotta get back up there and do it.’ 

“Boston was a really special place for me when I was a stand-up comic,” Schneider said. “It was around 1985-’86. It was a hotbed. You had the Comedy Connection, and then you had Nick’s, which was a tougher room. There were lots of one-nighters where you could get good. And there were colleges where there were usually really smart audiences. But then you had places where you had to earn it. I remember being in the pit of a bowling alley somewhere.”He hadn’t done stand-up in 17 years, but hearing Rock’s advice was a right time, right place moment.

Schneider first considered a comedy career when he was going to junior high school in the San Francisco Bay area.

“I went with my brother to see George Carlin,” he said. “Seeing him live made me realize it’s possible to do it. Because when you’re a kid and you see people on TV, they don’t seem real to you. But here was a person that was in the same room with me, so it was possible.”

In the late ’80s, Schneider landed a spot on David Letterman’s show. Then “SNL” producer Lorne Michaels caught his act on an HBO special and hired him as a writer. Goodbye stand-up.

“I never really got to a place with my stand-up career where I felt I was satisfied with it,” Schneider said. “By the time I started to get good at it, I got on ‘Saturday Night Live.’ ”

Schneider had a few hit movies (“Deuce Bigalow,” “The Animal”) and a few he’d like to forget (“Surf Ninjas,” “Judge Dredd”).

Two years ago he got the chance to direct a martial arts comedy, “Big Stan.” It was released in a number of countries around the world – but not in the United States.

“It was depressing that I couldn’t get it in theaters in the States,” he said. “But the blessing is that it’s a movie that people will discover on DVD.”

Schneider’s since co-written and directed the almost-finished “The Chosen One.”

“We literally ran out of money making that movie,” he said. “We have to raise more money. I star in it and I took over directing it from another director. We still have a few scenes we need to redo.”

But right now Schneider is concentrating on his stand-up show.

“I actually started writing jokes for it when I was doing the movie in Boston,” he said. “I’m spending time now to work on and craft the act. I’ve already done it in a few clubs, but Boston will be my first theater. It’s the first big show I’m doing so I’m really excited.”

Rob Schneider, at the Wilbur Theatre, Saturday. Tickets: $35 and $42; 617-248-9700.

 

  By Ed Symkus / Comedy

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