Rob Schneider – stand-up comedian

May 30, 2017 by  
Filed under Interviews

For an actor who has starred in movies where his characters have to dress in a big diaper and baby bonnet (“Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo”) or try to hump a goat (“The Animal”), comedian Rob Schneider can be a pretty serious guy—especially if politics gets into the conversation.

While movie roles and voice work continue to be his go-to gigs (friend Adam Sandler still casts him in his projects), Schneider found a new voice on stage a few years after he returned to stand-up comedy in 2010. Instead of rehashing stories about his time on the set of “The Waterboy,” Schneider, who also stars in his own Netflix series “Real Rob,” started taking on some significant issues and has tried to give them his own humorous spin.

“I talk about what’s going on in the world,” Schneider, 53, told me in a phone interview. “The way I approach politics is very different. Half of the act is me talking about what is happening in America right now and what I think about it.”

Schneider will be performing at the Improv Comedy Club inside Rivercenter Mall from May 26-28, and will also be at the Alamo City Comic Con on those same days.

Away from the stage, Schneider has ventured into some polarizing topics. He is an outspoken critic of childhood vaccinations and during our interview called California governor Jerry Brown a “dipshit” for signing a new law that eliminates personal and religious belief exemptions on vaccinations.

“The Democrats are the party to make fun of right now,” Schneider said. “But I make fun of [Donald] Trump, too. I think you have to hit both sides.”

During his stand-up show, Schneider, who considers himself more of a conservative, promises to talk about everything from the attack on freedom of speech to the minimum wage hike to what’s going on in the White House.

“I don’t want to force my opinion on people, but I think you have to challenge them and get them to laugh at the same time,” Schneider said. “I don’t want to call myself a contrarian, but I like to swim against the tide. Hitting things that are closer to the bone is more interesting than avoiding it.”

Bonus Ep. 7 – Comedian Jerry Rocha

May 16, 2015 by  
Filed under Podcast

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Click here to download the episode!

In this week’s episode of The CineSnob Podcast, Cody speaks with friend and comedian Jerry Rocha. Fresh off of his late-night TV debut on “Conan,” Jerry speaks about unpleasant sports memories, building a late-night TV set, his comedic philosophy and much more. Jerry will be headlining Rivercenter Comedy Club on Saturday May 16th and Sunday May 17th.

Subscribe to The CineSnob Podcast via RSSiTunes or Stitcher.

To give your feedback, e-mail us at podcast [at] cinesnob [dot] net, or leave a voicemail at 920-FILM-210.

 

Steve-O – comedian

March 13, 2014 by  
Filed under Interviews

Although he might not be pulling his dick out of his pants nearly as much today as he did during his years as a star on the popular MTV’s series Jackass in the early aughts, comedian Steve-O is still putting himself out there more than he’s ever done before. Now a consistent presence on the stand-up circuit, the man best known for stapling things to his balls and shooting fireworks out of his ass, is expanding his repertoire, although he admits it’s still “every bit as shocking” as when he was horsing around with Johnny Knoxville and friends. San Antonio will get a chance to experience Steve-O’s comedy revolution when he hits the Rivercenter Comedy Club stage March 13-16. During an interview with me a few weeks ago, we talked about what audiences can expect from his stand-up performances, what he thinks of hecklers and how he’s changed since sobering up six years ago.

I saw you on stage in San Antonio about 12 years ago at the White Rabbit. You did a lot of your stunts from Jackass. When did you realize you wanted to expand into more of a stand-up act?

Well, my first time doing stand-up was about eight years ago. I wasn’t really planning on doing it. Someone asked me to go to a comedy club and do a crazy stunt. When I got to the comedy club I couldn’t think of anything crazier to do than try stand-up. So, I just got on stage and tried it. I thought I was pretty awful, but people were rooting for me. It was fun, so I decided I wanted to keep trying it. I dabbled in it for a while, and then I got real serious about it. I’ve been a headliner and touring consistently for three years now. I love it.

Are there any stand-up comedians – past or present – that you look up to?

I don’t know if it’s deliberate or not, but I’m really careful not to copy anybody. I just try and do my own thing. There are some comedians I work with who I really think are awesome. My favorite is this guy, Big Jay Oakerson. I also love Jim Jefferies.

As a stand-up comedian, is anything off limits? For example, some people think Daniel Tosh crossed the line when he made jokes about rape a couple years ago.

I don’t think anything is particularly off limits. But with that said, I don’t really try to attack people or make people feel bad. I tend to be my own biggest target with comedy. I don’t really run into any problems like that.

A lot of your Jackass stuff was shock value entertainment, but it doesn’t sound like you’re trying to do that with your stand-up.

No, I think my standup comedy is every bit as shocking as anything I’ve ever done. I just don’t try to target other people and make them feel bad. I don’t think my comedy is mean-spirited. Like in Jackass, we’re mean to ourselves and to each other. I craft my comedy in the same way.

I assumed you might be the type of comedian who would pick on someone from the audience.

Well, yeah, I guess I do. I absolutely involve the audience. I will ask a lot of very uncomfortable questions. But the intention is not to be mean. I definitely make people uncomfortable, but I don’t think it’s really in a mean way. But if someone in the audience starts acting drunk and being disruptive, I can get mean pretty quick. I can get things back in control if someone tries to ruin a show. You have to get that situation under control any way you can. Sometimes you have to be pretty mean to those people.

So, how do you specifically handle hecklers?

Well, the word “heckler” for me isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes people in the audience will say genuinely funny stuff and contribute to the show. What I’m thinking more about are drunk assholes – idiots that are yelling for the sake of yelling. There have been times when hecklers have been fucking hilarious. I loved it.

I’m sure you know there’s a specific young demographic that finds the stunts you used to do with Jackass hilarious. Now that you’re doing stand-up more consistently now, are you looking for that same audience or do you want to expand the fan base?

There’s certainly a similar sensibility and sense of humor to my stand-up compared to Jackass. It’s definitely for that kind of crowd. But I don’t know. I’ve found people from all walks of life like what I am doing. I’m doing pretty well with the stand-up. Everyone’s been enjoying it.

Sounds like you might be trying to steal Kathy Griffin’s audience after all.

You know what, I think Kathy Griffin would have a great time at my show and so would her audience.

Now, just because you’re doing more stand-up doesn’t mean you’ve stopped doing stunt work. Recently, you started your own YouTube channel. Why did it take so long to put your stunts on a website like Youtube that seemed custom made for what you’ve been doing throughout your career?

That’s a good question, man. I don’t know why it took me this long, but I’m having a really good time with it. I’m glad you asked. I still have a ton of footage I haven’t put out yet. I’m really enjoying that channel.

After you sobered up in 2008, did you feel like you had a second chance to do something with your career?

I wasn’t sure what was going on with my career at that time. I just knew I needed to take some time out and really just start learning how to live clean and sober. I did things like Dancing with the Stars and stuff like that, but my career wasn’t my priority back in 2008. Now, it’s really evident that I have a second chance. I’m really grateful for that.

I know in the third Jackass film, you did all your stunts sober. Was it more of a challenge to psyche yourself out to do some of those things since you weren’t inebriated?

Well, I don’t think I ever did stunts because I was drunk or high. I did stunts because I’m an attention whore. Now that I’m clean and sober, I’m still an attention whore.

You’ll be 40 years old this June. Just on a purely physical level, can your body sustain the same pain as it did when you first started Jackass 14 years ago?

It depends. My back sometimes is in better shape than others. But in a general sense, I think I’m still quite resilient to trauma. I think I can still take a pretty good beating.

With everything you’ve done to your dick in the course of your career, what do you think it would tell you if it could talk?

You know, my dick, I think, has gotten off pretty easy. My balls would have a lot more to say. They’d say, “Fucking leave us along, goddamnit!” Just the other night, I lit my nuts on fire and had Bam Margera kick me to put them out.

Your Jackass co-star Johnny Knoxville was on The Daily Show the other day talking about how people are always coming up and punching him. Do you get that, too?

I don’t get that too much, no. People won’t just come up and hit me out of nowhere, but what they will do is come up to me and say, “Dude, Steve-O! Is there any chance that I could get you to kick me in the nuts?” They’ll ask me to kick them in the nuts! Who am I to dash somebody’s hope and dreams? Of course, I’ll kick them in the nuts.

Steve-O
$22.50
8:30pm Mar 13-16; 10:30pm shows also Sat & Sun
Rivercenter Comedy Club
849 E Commece
(210) 229-1420
rivercentercomedyclub.com

 

Gabriel Iglesias – Planes

August 9, 2013 by  
Filed under Chaléwood, Interviews

In Walt Disney Animated Studio’s new film “Planes,” stand-up comedian Gabriel Iglesias (AKA Fluffy) works double duty to give voice to the characters Ned and Zed, two disruptive airplanes that fly alongside the film’s main antagonist Ripslinger in hopes of helping him win a big aerial competition. During our interview, Iglesias, 37, talked about how lucky he was to land a role in the film after missing the first audition, and shared his 15-year-old son’s sentiments when he told him he was starring in a summer movie for Disney.

What’s up, Kiko?!

Hey, Gabriel! What’s going on, man?

Ah, nothing. Just sitting here waiting for my bagel.

Ah, nice. What do you put on it? Cream cheese?

That or butter. I’m weird.

How did you get pitched this film and why did you say yes?

It was a no-brainer. If Disney calls and you don’t go, you’re kind of dumb. (Laughs) Originally, I had read for the character Chupacabra, but I did not make myself available for the table read. I was out of town doing stand-up. When I missed the table read, someone else filled in (Carlos Alazraqui). But you don’t send in Mike Tyson to fill in for some regular fighter. [Carlos] is amazing with voices. So, he came in and they liked him better for that part. Luckily for me they had two other characters in the film (Ned and Zed), so they called me up for it. I did not miss that table read.

It’s pretty unique you got to give voice to both characters.

Yeah, two characters, one check.

How did you differentiate between the two characters’ voices?

Well, for one character, they let me use my regular voice, so I sound just like this. The other one sounds like a 60s hippy guy.

What did you think when you first saw what Ned and Zed looked like?

I was excited. I was like, “I want the toy!” The movie hasn’t even come out yet and I already went and got the toy. It’s pretty cool.

Are you going to try and get your hands on everything that features Ned and Zed in the toy aisles?

I’m going to go get all that stuff. I’m going to stockpile it at my house and give it away as Christmas presents.

Who’s most excited about you being in this movie? Do you have any kids in your life that flipped out when you told them you were going to be in “Planes?”

I have a 15 year old at home. When I showed him the characters I was playing he said, “That’s nice. Wanna play Call of Duty?” (Laughs) “Are the planes going to be shooting anything?” was his question. I was like, “No, they’re not going to be shooting anything!”

What experience as a stand-up comedian do you take into a gig like this – doing voice work for a major animated film?

Well, I basically walk in there and do what I do on stage. The cool part was they let me ad-lib a little bit. I would tag up some of the lines. I’d add a sound effect or change the tone a little. They let me have fun with it. So, yeah, doing voice over work was a walk in the park. On stage you only have one shot to do it, but in the studio if you don’t get it right, you can do it again and again. I was able to knock out the whole movie – both characters – in about four hours.

That’s not even a full day’s work, come on!

I know. I walked in, they made me an omelet and I got to work.

We’ve been seeing a lot of Latino characters in animated films this summer. Michael Peña and Luis Guzman voiced taco vendors in “Turbo” and Benjamin Bratt and Moises Arias had roles in “Despicable Me 2.” Do you think studios are starting to realize they have to hit that demographic?

I think that’s part of it. But I also think that guys like me – and this is going to sound crazy – can go either way with it. I’m a Latino, but I don’t necessarily have to go into that vein. But I do think people see there are a lot of dollars in the Latino market. We go to the movies a lot. It’s nice to see there is something there that connects. I think more and more studios are going to start doing that. Having the Chupacabra character (voiced by Alazraqui) in [“Planes”] adds so much to the movie.

We’re around the same age. We didn’t grow up with computer generated cartoons on TV and movie screens where the planes are flying at you in 3D. Do you like cartoons like this or are you more old-school?

I love it. Back in the day we didn’t have high-quality televisions like we do now. The best movies I had at the time were “The Fox and the Hound” and “101 Dalmatians.” I love that a “Cars”-type movie or a “Turbo”-type movie or a “Shrek”-type movie looks so lifelike. It adds so much to the movie. Don’t get me wrong, I still like cartoon animations, but I definitely think this is what people want to see right now.

What cartoons or TV shows did you grow up watching?

Let’s see, “Dukes of Hazzard,” “Knight Rider” “A-Team,” and “Three’s Company. Those were the shows I watched.

Big John Ritter fan, huh?

Oh, man, he was the best. He was funny and very physical with his comedy. He was really good at slapstick and falling.

I think he’s one of the very few recent comedians that did slapstick right. He wasn’t just some fat dude falling over something for a cheap laugh.

I could not pull that off successfully. Well, maybe I could do it once. (Laughs)

I know your first love is still stand-up comedy, but have you started to keep your options open when film opportunities come up?

If it’s something like “Planes,” definitely. But for the most part, I’m not trying to chase a film career. If a great opportunity presents itself, I’ll go for it, but my love and my passion is stand-up. I don’t want to be one of those guys that just uses stand-up as a stepping stone. My goal was always to be a stand-up comedian. All the other stuff is frosting on the cake.

I heard you were going to start working with NUVOtv.

Yeah, there’s a potential project in the works right now – in animation as a matter of fact. We’re doing a pilot, that’s for sure. It’s an animated series called “Hey, it’s Fluffy.” It’s basically me as a kid.

The first thing I thought of when you mentioned the cartoon was Louie Anderson’s cartoon “Louie,” which I always thought was underrated.

That’s funny. I just had a conversation about that a few minutes ago. Yeah, [“Hey, it’s Fluffy” is] in that vein. It’s my voice. I’m not changing it up. It’s me surrounded by my friends and what life was like as a kid.

What was Gabriel Iglesias like as a kid in comparison to as an adult now?

Not a whole lot of difference, bro. I got a little more grey hairs now. (Laughs) But, actually, I was pretty quiet as a kid. I definitely talk a lot more as an adult. I listened a lot more when I was a kid. Everybody was always telling me to be quiet, so that was my childhood. I was real chill, but as soon as the curtains opened up, I was on. The first time I got on stage, I was 10 years old.

I would’ve guessed you were the class clown.

Nah, I was never that guy. There are some guys that are always on and never turn it off, but I need a break. I need to use the restroom, check my Twitter. I can’t be trying to entertain everybody all the time.

When was the first time you realized you could make someone laugh?

Probably when I was 9 or 10 years old. The first time I got a laugh on stage, it threw me off. I was a big fan – and still am – of impressionist Rich Little. When he would do some of his stuff, people would applaud. In my head I thought that’s what they were supposed to do. When they started laughing it was like, “Whoa, wait a minute!” But once I got the second and third laugh I was like, “OK, this is working!”

Now that you’re in “Planes,” are you going to try to get some kind of cross promotion deals with an airline and fly around for free for the rest of your life? I hear stand-up comedians travel a whole lot.

Man, if I could, that would be great. I fly so much! I fly SO much! I’m at an airport right now! That’s funny to me that we’re doing this interview and I’m at an airport. (Laughs) I’m in an airport at least 300 hours a year.

What’s the longest layover you’ve had?

About nine hours!

Oh, man. You’re like the Edward Snowden of stand-up comedians.

Yeah, like Tom Hanks in “The Terminal!”

What do you think Snowden does all day long in the airport?

I don’t know. You can only go to the gift shop and restroom so many times.

Kevin Nealon – comedian

February 22, 2013 by  
Filed under Interviews

Best known for his stint on “Saturday Night Live in the 80s and 90s and for his role on Showtime’s “Weeds,” comedian Kevin Nealon has been a staple in the comedy world for nearly 30 years. During a phone interview with me, Nealon, 59, talked about where a show like “SNL” fits into the current TV landscape and which of his former SNL cast members he thinks could make a comeback to the show today.

You’ve never really stopped doing stand-up comedy over the course of your career. What is it about the craft that has kept it part of your life for so long?

It’s just something I have a passion for. I did it during my years with “Saturday Night Live.” I did it while I was doing Weeds.  It’s what I did even before any kind of acting work.

Is stand-up still as fun as the first time you did it or have you managed to squeeze all the enjoyment out of it over the years and get it down to a science?

I’ll never have it down to a science. It’s a lot more fun in a different way because it’s not as angst ridden. I’m not pacing and sitting on the toilet an hour before I go on.

Will you be watching the Oscars this weekend?

Yeah, I will be. I love watching the Oscars. I’ll probably be Twittering during it.

You’ve starred in a couple of movies with Oscar winners – Jack Nicholson in “Anger Management,” Nicole Kidman in “Just Go With It.” Did you ever think Jonah Hill, the guy who sucked on a breast for the duration of his screen time in another of your movies “Grandma’s Boy,” would now be labeled an Oscar nominee for his role last year in Moneyball?

(Laughs)  You know, I never did. When he was in “Grandma’s Boy I had just met him. I had never heard of him before. He went on to do a lot of great work from there. It’s great to see that.

Since leaving “Saturday Night Live in 1999 the show has gone through a lot of changes. Do you still watch?

I watch it once in a while. I’ll DVR it and then fast forward through it, especially if I hear it was a good show.

I do the same thing. I rarely watch it live anymore. I’ll just get on Hulu and flip through the skits.

Yeah, I don’t think anybody watches it in real time anymore. It doesn’t have to be live.

Where do you think the show registers in today’s TV landscape now that cable is such a big player when it comes to original content?

The thing about “Saturday Night Live is that it’s such a unique show and has held up for so long. It’s had its peaks and valleys. Certainly now there is more competition with cable. But I think “Saturday Night Live is sort of a mainstay for certain people and generations. It has just about everything you need. It’s topical. It has music, comedy, and the hottest hosts. It still has a winning formula, I think.

In the entertainment industry, we are seeing a lot of actors who are getting older come back to what they know best. For example, Bruce Willis just did another “Die Hard movie. Arnold Schwarzenegger is back to doing action movies. From your class at “SNL,” who do you think could successfully make a comeback to the show today? Or has the comedy evolved too much?

I think from my original cast probably Dana Carvey or Adam Sandler or Mike Meyers or David Spade.

Is it interesting to see when people leave that show how some of them find success in the film industry and some just can’t seem to break through?

You never know who’s going to come out of that show with heat on them. It’s something that is still so unpredictable. But you know who the likeable people are and who is talented and who has a pretty good chance of going further.

The last “Saturday Night Live-based movie was “MacGruber in 2010, which didn’t do very well at the box office. Before that was in 2000 with “The Ladies Man.” Do you think “SNL-inspired movies are a thing of the past now?

It’s hard to know because they’re taking a sketch and trying to make a movie out of it. We had actually written a movie for Hanz and Franz called “The Girly Man Dilemma.” Arnold [Schwarzenegger] was co-producing it and co-staring in it. Sony paid us to write it. I wrote it with Conan O’Brien and Robert Smigel and Dana Carvey. It was a really funny movie. It was actually a musical. It never got made because Arnold got cold feet. He had just come out with “Last Action Hero,” which kind of parodied himself. He had six other movies on the docket he had to choose between. I think it could have done well.

Since it would’ve been Hanz and Franz’s first foray into feature films, were you and Dana willing to work out and give your characters some natural muscle mass or did you still plan to stuff your sweatshirts?

(Laughs) Oh, we would’ve totally stuffed.

Have you started to have any “Weeds withdrawals now that the show is over?

(Laughs) Not yet. I’ll probably show up at the studio later this spring and be like, “Oh, that’s right. It’s over.” It was a good run and really fun to hang out with all the people there. But I think it ran its course. You can only smoke so much pot.

Carlos Mencia – comedian

August 20, 2010 by  
Filed under Chaléwood, Interviews

To understand what Carlos Mencia’s professional life has been like over the last three years watch “Fishsticks,” a 2009 episode of “South Park” in which an animated version of Mencia is beaten and killed after taking credit for a joke that isn’t his.

While the episode features a cartoon Kanye West and his cronies swinging the baseball bats, it has been fellow comedians themselves who have come out in full force against the Latino funnyman and what they claim is blatant joke-stealing. True or not, the reputation has stuck, and although he’s denied the allegations, Mencia has quickly become the most hated comedian in the industry.

Currently on a stand-up tour to prepare for a TV special he will be shooting this fall, the 42-year-old Mencia, formerly of Comedy Central’s “Mind of Mencia,” spoke to me about where he is in his life and how he feels about his colleagues making him a villain in the comedy world.

Has life taken some time getting used to without your TV show?

What has been hard is thinking about why I decided to walk away in the first place. I come from a working family, bro. We don’t say no to work or money. I didn’t know if the next season would have been as good as I wanted it to be. I’d rather leave and have people say, “Hey, where’d you go?” than have people see it and say, “Ah, that last season sucked.”

Did you feel like you were at a crossroads?

I was in a place where I was just not ready to go there. You go through periods in your life where you begin to question yourself. That’s never been a part of my psyche. I took a bit of time off to look at my life. I never had that kind of time to see my situation as a human being, artist, and comedian. All of this hit me in the face. Up until “Mind of Mencia” I’d been doing comedy out of fear. Now, I’m back at that place again with no sense of doubt.

Even with the comedy world vilifying you so harshly?

I realized if somebody doesn’t want to like me they’re going to find an excuse not to like me. It’s like when you go on a date and you don’t like the way the other person looks, you’re going to find a reason not to go out with them again. I’m just not going to live in the negative anymore. As a human being, of course I’d like my peers to dig me, but it is what it is. I’m a happy person, and I probably have never been as good of a comedian as I am today.

You’ve denied allegations that you steal jokes, but do you think it happens with other comedians?

I know for a fact all comedians have people they want to be like. Eddie Murphy, all of his jokes were pretty much Richard Pryor’s. It’s where we all start as comedians. Within a few years you shed that and become your own human being. It seems to me the majority of comedians complaining about plagiarism are not successful comedians.

Intellectual-property laws don’t include copyright laws for stand-up comedians. Do you think we should go as far as making it illegal for comedians to steal ideas from one another?

I don’t know if you can do that. The problem with comedy is the same problem with music. We all interpret our own things in our own ways. What would happen if we said only Michael Bolton could do love songs because he was the first one to do it? No one would be able to sing about heartbreak ever again.