Coming to town

Rob Schneider still funny, more mellow


Rob Schneider is not as he seems, at least on the screen. The comic actor, known for manically puerile roles in The Hot Chick, Deuce Bigalow and The Animal, is a yoga practicing, doting new father. At 49, Adam Sandler’s sidekick seems to be mellowing out.

These days, the San Francisco native prefers to kick it old school with his career, going back to his standup roots. He plays the Magic City Casino 9 p.m Saturday.

So what is a typical day like for you?

My wife [TV producer Patricia Azarcoya] and I are working on a movie entirely in Spanish. It’s a nice little project, we’ll see what happens. I have my office, I do writing. We have this little girl. She’s such a sweet baby. She’s been really great. I really only do what I enjoy. It probably is the best time of my life. Freedom for me is doing standup again. It offers me the chance to do what I want to do without too much hubbub.

So does that mean no more “Deuce Bigalow” gigolo sequels?

[Laughs]. It’s a weird time in show business. They’re making movies to sell toys. Some good ones will sneak in there — Ben Affleck’s [ Argo] was good and interesting, but for the most part, 14-year-old boys are deciding what this business is. When you’re in your late 40s, you think, ‘Do I really want to be in a business like that?’ Do I wanna play the dad in Twilight?

You may be near 50, but you look pretty young.

Yoga keeps me toned. Stretching and sustaining that stretch is the best workout. When you get older, you get stiffer, and you don’t want to end up all hunched over. I did a movie called Big Stan and tore both my shoulders and broke my ankle. I was 42 at the time and thought, Holy crap! I talk about being in my 40s in my act. It’s actually a really liberating time because you have less to prove.

You used to be vegetarian, but still eat pretty well, right?

I’m a Zen Buddhist. I met a guru once that said he ate whatever is prepared for him. He said, ‘It does more harm to your body to insult the host.’ So I agree with that. But if you never eat bread again, I think that’s the key.

You’ve worked with so many comedic geniuses. Any dream costars?

I love John Cleese, that guy’s so funny. The English guys I like the most. Dudley Moore, Peter Cook. Mel Brooks movies still kill me.

Who was a big inspiration to you?

Rodney Dangerfield was one of the first really big, famous guys I ever met. He saw my act and said, ‘Hey,dude, you’re really original. Wanna hang out? I got some girls and some blow.’ He was joking about the blow part, but not the girls.

When did you decide to become a comedian?

As a kid I didn’t think there was a possibility of getting into the business. My dad was in real estate, my mom was a Filipino schoolteacher. I didn’t know anyone. I never saw anybody. These days you’re a celebrity if you’re on a reality show or kill somebody. It wasn’t until I saw George Carlin perform live in the ’70s that I started thinking, ‘He’s a person just like me, and in the same room as me.’ I remember that kind of thinking. I put it together mathematically. ‘Woh, I could do this. Technically, this is possible.’

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