Relentlessly raw, rip-roaring Rob Schneider
“This is my practice show—I got a big show coming up,” Filipino-American comic Rob Schneider joked a few minutes into his one-night comedy gig at Solaire Resort’s Grand Ballroom last Monday.
Schneider’s much-anticipated set was preceded by three Filipino comics, who offered “alternative” comedy—instead of the usual comedy bar humor. TV writer Alex Calleja stood out with his accessible set of comedic scenarios, told mainly in Filipino. A few jokes were about sex, heralding more adult-aimed thigh-slappers from the main act to come.
At 9:15 p.m., Schneider finally appeared onstage, getting startled by the sudden activation of two large screens at the sides of the stage a couple of minutes after starting his spiel. Those seated at less-advantageous sections got closer views of his expressions, which ranged from seemingly blasé, to just looking genuinely relaxed and enjoying himself.
He joked about his Filipino mother, who reprimanded him a lot when he was a kid. “See what happens?” Rob said in a recognizably Pinoy accent, after presenting situations where he got in trouble because of rowdy behavior. He recalled getting a hurt ankle in a ball game, three miles from his house. He lowered his mic and whispered, “See what happens?” Schneider looked around, puzzled, as if being watched.
The audience erupted in laughter, giving him enough space to segue to another topic. An omniscient mom was just one of different characters he wryly shared with the audience.
Schneider is a surprisingly adept storyteller; while most of the audience members were presumably only familiar with Schneider’s silly, perhaps endearingly goofy film roles, it was pleasantly shocking to see him gab, almost nonstop, and practically let them view life from his perspective.
He actually started as a stand-up comic in the late 1980s before snagging a place in “Saturday Night Live” and various film roles. Now back in his element, his no-holds-barred approach allowed him to openly talk about sex and relationships. He was unapologetically crude and politically incorrect, but also surprisingly insightful.
He wittily compared guys in their 20s (“testosterone messes”) to the laid-back guys in their 40s. The set of comparisons was quite enlightening, as if Schneider was speaking from experience.
Shortly after, he mimicked a complaining woman: “Look at him. He’s 40; he’s in good shape.” Returning to his normal voice, he responded, “Yeah, he’s in good shape. He’s probably bakla.”
“Yes, I said it,” he added unabashedly, and transitioned to talking about gay marriage. Gay people, he said, just wanted to have “the same rights as those who aren’t going to hell.”
Message to Paul
Switching gears, he poked fun at Paul McCartney, who performed recently Beatles hits as well as new songs as part of an album launch. Schneider said he wanted to tell him: “Paul, just the hits. You’re 71. What if you don’t make it? Go out on a hit!”
His routine diverged into different topics: He mocked unnamed celebrities with bad plastic surgery. He made an Obama impression while making fun of gun ownership issues. And while talking about bad traffic, he said somewhat carefully, “I think stop signs are just a suggestion here.”
Guffaws, of course, ensued.
Schneider also talked about the different lies told by men and women—a number of jokes were about the complicated communication between spouses—and it was pretty clear that he knew what he was talking about.
Self-deprecating but shameless, Schneider had the crowd in stitches early on. His timing was impeccable; his storytelling made his audience receptive to his cultural observations. It was about an hour and 15 minutes of relentless, revelatory Rob Schneider, showing the depth that people never knew, easily disassociating him from his slew of simple, shallow onscreen personas.