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Rob Schneider

Robert Michael "Rob" Schneider (born October 31, 1963) is an American actor, comedian, screenwriter and director. A stand-up comic and veteran of the NBC sketch-comedy series Saturday Night Live, Schneider went on to a career in feature films, including starring roles in the comedies Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo and The Hot Chick.

Early life

Schneider was born in San Francisco, California and grew up in the nearby suburb of Pacifica. He is the son of Pilar (née Monroe) Schneider, a former kindergarten teacher and ex-school board president, and Marvin Schneider, a real estate broker. Schneider's father was a secular Jew, while his maternal grandmother was a Filipina who met and married Schneider's maternal grandfather, an American army private, while he was stationed in the Philippines. Schneider graduated from Terra Nova High School in 1982.

Career

Schneider started his stand-up comedy career shortly after high school. The Pacifica, California native played Bay Area nightclubs such as the Holy City Zoo and the Other Cafe, and was a regular guest on local radio programs. After opening a show by comedian Dennis Miller in 1987, Schneider won a slot on HBO's 13th Annual Young Comedians special, which was hosted by Miller. Schneider's appearance on the HBO special led to a position as a writer for the late night NBC sketch comedy series Saturday Night Live.

Saturday Night Live

Schneider was hired at Saturday Night Live in 1988, and was the first Asian-American to be a cast member on the show. Schneider swiftly graduated from writer and featured player to full cast member. 1990-1995, he played such roles as "Tiny Elvis" and "Orgasm Guy." His best known recurring character was "Richard Laymer" - an office worker whose desk was stuck beside the photocopier, and who addressed each of his fellow employees with an endless stream of annoying nicknames. Schneider is featured in the video release The Bad Boys of Saturday Night Live, along with colleagues Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, David Spade and Chris Farley.

Recurring SNL characters

  • Richard Laymer ("The Richmeister"), an office worker who annoys people by giving them nicknames
  • Carlo, from the Il Cantore Restaurant sketches
  • The Sensitive Naked Man, a nude man who gives advice to other characters

Celebrity impersonations

Feature films, sitcoms, and other work

After leaving SNL, Schneider played supporting roles in a series of movies including Surf Ninjas, Judge Dredd, The Beverly Hillbillies, Demolition Man and Down Periscope. He also appeared in a recurring part on the TV series Coach. In 1996, he co-starred in the NBC sit-com Men Behaving Badly, an American take on the hit British series of the same name. The U.S. version ran for two seasons.

Schneider starred in the 1999 feature film Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo, a tale of a fish-tank cleaner who incurs a massive debt and is forced to become a "man-whore". This was followed by The Animal, about a nebbish who is given animal powers by a mad scientist; The Hot Chick, wherein the mind of a petty thief played by Schneider is mystically switched into the body of a pretty, but mean-spirited high school cheerleader (Rachel McAdams); and the sequel Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo. The latter movie was not well-received by critics or moviegoers, and as a result, Schneider won a 2005 Worst Actor Razzie Award for his role in the film.

In 2006, Schneider co-starred in the baseball-themed family comedy The Benchwarmers, along with his fellow SNL alumnus David Spade as well as Jon Heder.

Other film roles include Schneider's appearance with Jim Henson's Muppets in the 1999 film Muppets from Space, and his role as a San Francisco hobo in the 2004 remake of Around the World in 80 Days.

Schneider's directorial debut, the comedy Big Stan, is scheduled to be released in 2008. In the film, he stars as a con artist who is arrested for perpetrating real-estate scams. He's sentenced to prison, so he takes a crash-course in martial arts to survive incarceration.

Schneider has also appeared in numerous comedies starring his SNL comrade Adam Sandler. The comedic characters Schneider plays in these films include an overly enthusiastic Cajun man who proclaims the catch-phrase, "You can do it!"; an amiable Middle Eastern delivery boy; a prison inmate; and Sandler’s one-eyed Hawaiian sidekick, Ula. Schneider has uttered the line "You can do it!" as a running gag in Sandler's films The Waterboy, Little Nicky, 50 First Dates and The Longest Yard, as well as in a deleted scene from Click. (A sample of Schneider saying the phrase also turns up in the song "Original Prankster" by The Offspring.) Returning the favor, Sandler appeared in a cameo to spout the same line in Schneider's The Animal, and showed up briefly in Schneider's The Hot Chick. Schneider narrated Sandler's 2002 animated movie Eight Crazy Nights, and voiced the part of a Chinese waiter. Schneider also had an uncredited cameo as a Canadian-Japanese wedding-chapel minister in the 2007 Sandler-Kevin James comedy I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry, and played a Palestinian cab driver who serves as the title character's nemesis in the 2008 Sandler film You Don't Mess with the Zohan.

Schneider played a variety of roles in the 2005 TV special Back to Norm, starring another former SNL player Norm Macdonald, and appeared on episodes of the popular TV shows Seinfeld and Ally McBeal. Schneider hosted the Sports Illustrated: Swimsuit '97 TV special, and the 2005 Teen Choice Awards, and is a frequent guest on NBC’s late-night variety program The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. (Schneider's most recent appearance with Leno was on the July 24, 2007 episode of The Tonight Show ; he showed up in drag as actress Lindsay Lohan after Lohan cancelled following a controversial arrest for driving under the influence.

Besides his efforts in movies and television, Schneider appeared in the music video for country singer Neil McCoy's "Billy's Got His Beer Goggles On", as the song's title character. Schneider met McCoy while the two went on a USO tour in support of U.S. troops two months after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Satire and parody

In Schneider's movies, the main character often undergoes some type of transformation, be it an unlikely career change, or a supernatural or science-fictional transformation. This formula was spoofed on the satirical animated television series South Park, in the episode "The Biggest Douche in the Universe." (The title refers to television psychic John Edward, and not to Schneider.) In the show, trailers are shown for a series of movies that feature Schneider undergoing absurd transformations: a stapler, a carrot, and even the South Park character Kenny. Asked about being parodied on South Park, Schneider responded in an About.com interview: "I loved it. That was genius. I thought the only thing, they were too nice to me...When you’re spoofed by the best people in the business, that’s an honor."

Controversy and criticism

Schneider has engaged in a number of high-profile disputes with public figures.

In January 2005, film critic Patrick Goldstein of the Los Angeles Times said in an article that Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo was overlooked for an Academy Award because "nobody had the foresight to invent a category for Best Running Penis Joke Delivered by a Third-Rate Comic." Schneider responded two weeks later with full-page ads in Daily Variety and The Hollywood Reporter, saying he had done research and found that Mr. Goldstein had never won any journalistic awards, commenting, "Maybe you didn't win a Pulitzer Prize because they haven't invented a category for Best Third-Rate, Unfunny Pompous Reporter Who's Never Been Acknowledged by His Peers." Schneider also wrote, "Patrick, I can honestly say that if I sat with you and your colleagues at a luncheon, afterwards, they'd say 'You know, that Rob Schneider is a pretty intelligent guy, I hope we can do that again.' Whereas, if you sat with my colleagues, after lunch, you would just be beaten beyond recognition. He also called Goldstein a "real scumbag" in an appearance on internet-based show, Tom Green's House Tonight when referring to his criticisms of the film, and stated that "He probably never even got laid in High School" as well as stating that Goldstein's criticism was unimaginative.

In August 2005, film critic Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times responded to the Schneider-Goldstein conflict in his review for Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo. While noting that an online search showed that Goldstein had won a National Headliner Award, a Los Angeles Press Club Award, a RockCritics.com award, and the Publicists' Guild award for lifetime achievement, Ebert said, "As chance would have it, I have won the Pulitzer Prize, and so I am qualified. Speaking in my official capacity as a Pulitzer Prize winner, Mr. Schneider, your movie sucks. (Ebert's 2007 collection of reviews of movies for which he gave negative reviews was titled Your Movie Sucks, a reference to his review of Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo.)

In a later interview with Stuff magazine, Schneider called Ebert an "ass", saying that Ebert "irks" him and that he had been told that Ebert is "not nice to the people he works with." Ebert rejected the accusation, and reaffirmed his opinion of the film, stating, "...if he's going to persist in making bad movies, he's going to have to grow accustomed to reading bad reviews.

On May 7, 2007, Roger Ebert reported via his website that he had received a beautiful bouquet of flowers with a note stating it was from "Your least favorite actor, Rob Schneider." Ebert had recently undergone a very serious surgery to remove a cancerous salivary gland, and spent months recovering. Ebert saw the flowers as a kind gesture and publicly thanked Schneider, and said that Schneider may have made a bad film, but he was not a bad man. Ebert also expressed hope that Schneider would make a film that Ebert finds wonderful.

Following anti-Semitic remarks made by Mel Gibson during his arrest for a DUI in late July 2006, Schneider took out a full-page ad in Variety to send an open letter to the Hollywood community, pledging as "a 1/2 Jew" to "never work with Mel Gibson-actor-director-producer-and anti-Semite." He further wrote that "even if Mr. Gibson offered me a lead role in 'Passion of the Christ 2', I, like Bernie Brillstein, would have to say 'No!'" Schneider also used the ad to make reference to his upcoming directorial debut, Big Stan. In 2008, Schneider described this ad as "a comedic, satirical view of how I saw the situation with Mel Gibson, and also the hypocrisy of show business when they're all standing in line to say what a bad person he is when they're all a bunch of hypocritical assholes.

In early July 2007, film reviewers in Australia noted the similiarites between the 2007 American movie I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry and the 2004 Australian feature Strange Bedfellows. On July 18, 2007, the Sydney Morning Herald published an online article in which Strange Bedfellows director and co-writer Dean Murphy aired his concerns that Chuck and Larry may infringe on his copyright. The article reported that Michael Caton had stated he had passed a DVD of Strange Bedfellows to Rob Schneider when the two actors were working on The Animal. Caton was then quoted as saying, "I'm going to have to get onto Rob Schneider and say you owe me one pal … or Adam Sandler owes me one. They're really good mates and it's obvious [Schneider] said 'Hey, have a look at this'." In August 2007, Schneider took out a full-page ad on Page 10 of the Sydney Morning Herald in the form of an open letter, in which he repudiated the charges. Caton replied through the Herald that he was disappointed with Schneider for not understanding his earlier criticisms were "obviously tongue in cheek.

Accusations of ethnic stereotyping

Schneider has been criticized for what some believe to be his offensive caricatures of Asians and Pacific Islanders.

A 2005 New York Times editorial admonished, "Watch Rob Schneider play Ula, a leering Hawaiian in the Adam Sandler movie 50 First Dates, with a pidgin accent by way of Cheech and Chong, and you get the sense that Hollywood still believes that there is no ethnic caricature a white actor can't improve upon." In a letter to the editor, Schneider defended himself by asserting his Filipino heritage, adding that he believes that "Hollywood should give roles to the most talented person irrespective of ethnicity, race or in my case ‘looks.’

In 2007, The Media Action Network for Asian Americans (MANAA) criticized Schneider for donning prosthetic make up to play a Japanese minister in I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry by likening it to “yellow face.” Richard Roeper said in his review that “Rob Schneider’s Filipino background hardly excuses his portrayal of an Asian minister in perhaps the most egregious stereotype of its kind since Mickey Rooney in Breakfast at Tiffany's.”

MANAA also criticized Schneider for an Asian character’s dialogue in 2005's Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo, which he co-wrote. The organization stated that the portrayal of the character “perpetuated the tired stereotype that Asian men have small penises.”

Personal life

In 1996, Schneider established the "Rob Schneider Music Foundation." The foundation returned music education to Pacifica's elementary schools by paying the teachers' salaries and providing funds for instruments and other equipment. Prior to Schneider's efforts, the school system had done without music education programs for many years.

In keep with his keen interest in music, Schneider once owned a San Francisco nightclub, DNA Lounge.

Schneider's mother has made cameo appearances in her son's films, playing a cheerleading contest judge in The Hot Chick, a restaurant patron in Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo, and a nosy neighbor in The Animal.

Schneider is an environmentalist. He drives a Toyota Prius hybrid automobile, and served as host for the 13th annual Environmental Media Awards in 2004.

Filmography

Year Film Role Director Notes
1990 Martians Go Home Voyeur Martian David O'Dell
1991 Necessary Roughness Chuck Neiderman Stan Dragoti
1992 Home Alone 2: Lost in New York Cedric the Bellhop Chris Columbus
1993 Surf Ninjas Iggy Neal Israel
Demolition Man Erwin Marco Brambilla Uncredited.
The Beverly Hillbillies Woodrow Tyler Penelope Spheeris
1995 Judge Dredd Fergie, Herman Ferguson Danny Cannon
1996 Down Periscope Lt. Martin Pascal David S. Ward
The Adventures of Pinocchio Volpe Steven Barron
1998 Knock Off Tommy Hendricks Tsui Hark
The Waterboy Townie Frank Coraci
1999 Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo Deuce Bigalow Mike Mitchell
Big Daddy Nazo, the Italian Delivery guy Dennis Dugan
Muppets from Space TV Producer Tim Hill
2000 Little Nicky The Townie Steven Brill
2001 The Animal Marvin Mange Luke Greenfield
2002 Mr. Deeds Nazo, the Italian Delivery Man Steven Brill, Jared Harris
Eight Crazy Nights Chinese Waiter & Narrator Seth Kearsley
The Hot Chick Clive Tom Brady
2004 50 First Dates Ula Peter Segal
Around the World in 80 Days Hobo Frank Coraci
2005 The Longest Yard Punky Peter Segal
Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo Deuce Bigalow Mike Bigelow
2006 Grandma's Boy Yuri Nicholaus Goossen
The Benchwarmers Gus Dennis Dugan
Click Prince Habeeboo Frank Coraci
Shark Bait Nerissa Howard Baker, Howard E. Baker, John Fox, Kyung Ho Lee Voice-only.
Little Man Dinosaur Rex Keenen Ivory Wayans
2007 I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry Asian Minister Dennis Dugan
2008 You Don't Mess with the Zohan Salim Dennis Dugan
Big Stan Stan Minton Rob Schneider

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