Rob Schneider got his start as one of the bad boys of Saturday Night Live. The Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo star says he barely recognizes the show that made him famous anymore. Here’s the exact time Schneider thinks SNL jumped the shark.
How Did Rob Schneider Get Popular?
Like so many comedians, Schneider got his start in stand-up comedy. He became a regular at various clubs in San Francisco when he happened to open a show for Dennis Miller, who was at the peak of his time on Saturday Night Live hosting Weekend Update. Miller hosted HBO’s 13th Annual Young Comedians special, which featured Schneider. That appearance quickly led to Schneider earning a writing job on SNL.
Alongside David Spade, Chris Rock, Chris Farley, and Adam Sandler, Schneider became one of the “Bad Boys of Saturday Night Live.” When Rolling Stone ranked every cast member for the show’s 45th anniversary, Schneider came in 44th, somehow ranking above Kenan Thompson. Schneider ultimately left the show in 1994.
He Doesn’t Like What He Sees
In an interview with Glenn Beck, Schneider recently spilled the moment he thought SNL was over. He cited the first show after the 2016 election when Kate McKinnon, impersonating Hillary Clinton, performed “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen. Cohen died the night before Donald Trump won, so it served as a tribute to both him and the Clinton campaign.
Schneider says, “I literally prayed, ‘Please have a joke at the end. Don’t do this. Please don’t go down there.’” When there wasn’t a joke, Schneider reacted, “It’s over. It’s over. It’s not going to come back.’” He apparently feels like SNL is forcing its comedic sensibilities on to its writers and viewers. “You can take the comedic indoctrination process happening with each of the late-night hosts, and you could exchange them with each other. That’s how you know it’s not interesting anymore,” he says.
Schneider Hasn’t Been Shy
It’s worth noting that in 2013, Rob Schneider announced he was switching allegiances from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party. He’s admitted to his politics shifting progressively more conservative, and he’s an outspoken critic of childhood vaccination. All of this is to say he may not have liked the “Hallelujah” segment more for political reasons than comedic ones.
It’s strange looking back on the night after the election, and the segment serves as a litmus test. Was Kate McKinnon earnestly singing a bit cringe? Perhaps. Was it what millions of Americans were feeling? Perhaps. Is Rob Schneider the arbiter of taste? Well, that’s for you to decide.