This can’t be right but comedian Rob Schneider is 50. That figure is not right. The veteran player from Saturday Night Live is actually 52.
He may not be the most successful, or the most popular, comic from SNL, but the man has worked and endured in a brutal field.
Schneider is the lead voice for the new animated movie, “Norm of the North,” which opens this week. He also has a role in the new Netflix movie, “The Ridiculous 6,” which stars a collection of familiar faces such as Adam Sandler and Will Forte.
Schneider was nice enough to give me about 10 minutes last week in a phone interview.
Mac Engel: Thanks for doing this; how are you doing?
Rob Schneider: Better than Tony Romo’s clavicle.
ME: Good one.
RS: Thank you. They shouldn’t have brought him back. How far were they going to go with a guy with a hurt shoulder?
ME: What is the hardest part about doing voice acting?
RS: Taking yourself out of the equation. Take the ego out and don’t try to sound cool. A lot of times with acting I get stuck. I was doing a submarine movie with Bruce Dern, and I was talking to my friend and said, ‘I don’t have a character yet.’ You do find the character. As soon as you get the drawing and the pictures you get the handle of the guy.
ME: Do you just talk into a mic’ when you do this or do you actually ‘act’ and get moving?
RS: You have to get up and move. You have to make it sound, about one-third of it is the physicalization part of it. You really want to give people the illusion that’s him. You get out and move around. The toughest part for me isn’t the vocal stuff.
ME: When did you feel like you made it in this business?
RS: Oh gosh, Dana Carvey and I talked about it. Stay hungry you can never feel that way. I remember when I had a conversation with Warren Beatty after Deuce Bigalow came out. He said, ‘You are a very silly young man.’ I was like, ‘Holy s***, he knows who I am!’ Bob Dylan called and wanted to know who I was. I wrote a sketch I wrote for SNL – it was George Bush and he referenced it the next day. If you make it long enough the press gives up trying to dismiss you or tear you down.
ME: Do you believe in doing some work that is just for you?
RS: Sure. Do it for the joy of doing and not the false concept of the journey. You are negating the place you are in. I’m against that. Every step of the way is just as vital. I enjoyed the making, the writing, the mixing of the music, all of it.
ME: What performer have you’ve worked with made you laugh?
RS: Gosh. Truthfully Adam Sandler in sketch comedy. Being in a scene with him is tough. Explosively funny guys like Robin Williams or Dana Carvey. Christopher Walken was tough to be in a sketch with because he made me laugh.
ME: Is there a performer today you are itching to work with?
RS: Louis CK, Dave Chappelle. Chris Rock is a genius. Adam Sandler is a genius. I’m surprised Judd Apatow hasn’t asked me to do something yet. He used to drive me to my gigs. He’s always talented. He found his root and he’s been a tremendous success.
ME: Thoughts on Bill Cosby?
RS: Well, I remember Quentin Tarantino, Rock, David Spade and I and Judd Apatow all flew out on Sandler’s jet to see Bill Cosby perform. We saw him and he was backstage with us. It was two hours of material and it was great, clean and witty. He was the Mark Twain of our era and he happens to the Jack the Ripper of rapists of our era. You have to know that people you admire can be capable of doing horrible things. Maybe historically people will be able to separate the two but that won’t be in our lifetime. I used to listen to his album as a kid and he talked about the Spanish fly. I asked my dad, ‘What is that?’ And he said it was a drug that knocked people out.
Cosby is not in the same category is the Woody Allen. That’s not for me to judge but this is repugnant. I remember someone said you can’t have any heroes. Simon Wiesenthal said you can’t have any heroes. There are no heroes only survivors.
ME: Do people know you more for your performance on Saturday Night Live, or for your memorable one-time appearance on the hit NBC show, 227?
RS: Holy crap. No one has brought that up to me ever before. At that time Sandler just got a movie. We were shocked we got hired for something. Who cares if it was a piece of crap. I was in it and it was, ‘Holy crap, I got hired!’