WIth a body of work that includes the likes of Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo, The Hot Chick and The Animal, there are no shortage of opinions when it comes to actor Rob Schneider. Yet regardless of how one feels about the comedian that has made a mint for himself over the course of a three decade career and counting, there’s absolutely no denying the fact that the soft-spoken comedian brings with him a unique perspective when it comes to this business we so affectionately refer to as show. Which is precisely why, when given the opportunity to chat with Schneider, who was recently doing rounds to promote his new CBS comedy ROB, we jumped at the chance. So just what did he have to say about how Hollywood has changed since he burst onto the scene, the controversy surrounding his new series and the proliferation of reality television throughout primetime? Find out for yourself, after the jump.
What brought you back to television after a career spent predominantly in movies?
Rob Schneider: I felt like we do something really funny and get into people’s living rooms, that felt like an interesting thing to me. I also liked the idea of doing something hispanic themed. There’s some really funny stuff with that culture that I think could be great for a fish out of water kind of guy and I’m enjoy it. Plus, my wife is from Mexico and I love the culture there, she’s hilarious and I think if we could just tap into some of that for the show we’ve got a goldmine here.
How do you respond to the heat the show has taken for its reliance on Mexican/Hispanic stereotypes?
The people who have problems with the show aren’t latino or hispanic. I just talked to latino.com and they really liked the show and have been very supportive of having hispanic people on TV. Some things can be misconstrued. The Chinese have a great expression that sums it up, ‘Perception, even wrong, has its consequences.’ In other words, it could be not true at all but it doesn’t matter if that’s what people think, so we do have to be cognisant and we don’t want to be disrespectful. We have a hispanic cast and there’s nobody on that cast that wants to do something disrespectful. The main thing are we writing about stuff that makes us laugh, that’s our guide.
You have quite a collection of famous friends. Can we expect the likes of an Adam Sandler to pop up anytime soon?
That would be fun, but I’m more interested in working with people that I haven’t worked with to be honest with you. I want to bring in some really funny comedians from South America, Mexico, Spain and the Dominican Republic. New people to introduce to America that they haven’t seen before. I mean there are some people who are famous here in America but I also want to introduce fun things. And that’s the one thing about the show that frankly I’m most excited about, is the ability to introduce this great comedian to America — Eugenio Derbez — they call him “The Genius” in Mexico and he’s just physically funny. Whether you understand him or not, and most of the time I don’t, one of the blessings of this show has been getting to work with him.
How has developing a show changed since you last did it with 1996’s MEN BEHAVING BDLY?
It’s so micro-managed and immediate. To give you an idea, I was just talking to the Producers of our show, and they were saying TWO AND A HALF MEN, by the time they filmed the season premiere [with Ashton Kutcher], it was out already what happened because of all the people tweeting and on Facebook. And it’s like ‘WOW!’ there can be a perception of something and it can live or die before it even has a chance to be seen. So that’s kind of odd and new, the real immediacy of it. That’s why reality TV works, because it’s about how people are feeling about that thing at that moment.
Do you watch much reality TV?
I watch quite a bit of it to be honest. I look at the bigger picture, you have to see where things are going and if people are watching there has to be a reason for that. But there seems to be this weird thing where people are suffering and we’re using that as entertainment. I don’t mind it, but it seems to be like whether it’s HOARDERS, INTERVENTION, THE BIGGEST LOSER, this idea of this person that has let themselves go to this horrible place and they’re dangerously on the abyss with their health and their life and all of a sudden it’s like ‘Hey, let’s show the world what this is like.’ There seems to be a voyeuristic thrill to it, like a car crash, you feel like you shouldn’t watch, but you can’t turn away.
ROB airs Thursdays at 8:30PM on CBS (GlobalTV in Canada)