Comedian Rob Schneider must think his life is incredibly fascinating. The failings of his 2012 CBS comedy “Rob” evidently weren’t enough to deter Schneider (“Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo”) from making a second attempt at documenting his celebrity life, as he produced a new series to showcase his crude humor and political incorrectness. Closely based on reality, “Real Rob” is a comedy so dull and stilted that the only one watching is himself.
The eight-episode Netflix series is a self-proclaimed “exaggeration” of Schneider’s real life in Hollywood, and a way for the actor-producer to unleash his creative expression free from the restrictions of network politics. According to Deadline.com, the low-budget production is mainly financed by Schneider as he “puts his money where his mouth is.” The rest of the crew is made up of family and friends, who are also working under their regular salaries. Co-producer and wife Patricia Schneider plays herself, but, instead of adding authenticity to the series, serves her purpose by allowing her husband to exploit her Mexican descent for comedic content. Their daughter Miranda makes a silent and unmemorable appearance on screen — yet another reason the production should be viewed solely for the Schneider family’s home-video purposes.
Along with a glimpse into Rob Schneider’s family life, “Real Rob” centers around an incompetent assistant, played by co-creator Jamie Lissow, and an ever-present stalker (whose creepy mustache could very well be the most entertaining factor of the entire show). The anecdotes that are presumably drawn from his real life experience are stilted and surprisingly mundane; further dumbed down to accommodate the lack of professionals on set. Apart from Schneider, the cast has minimal acting experience, forcing them to feed lines to the main star as he delivers the final punchline.
The single camera-style comedy is interrupted by scenes of stand-up, a potentially creative way to showcase the abilities that landed Schneider his job at “Saturday Night Live” in 1988. However, the stand-up scenes, sprinkled sporadically throughout, seem to come out of nowhere and only tangentially relate to the plot in the rest of the episode. More often than not, Schneider uses his wife’s antics as inspiration for his monologues, depicting her as a crazy Latina housewife that makes his simple life oh so hard. Naturally, Schneider uses a mildly offensive Mexican accent to drive his point home.
A trend of comedians starring in their own productions has been on the rise in the past few years. Aziz Ansari created “Master of None” and Mindy Kaling did the same in “The Mindy Project.” Such series allow the comedians to showcase their sense of humor and quirky charisma on screen, and they have all received a fairly positive response from viewers. Schneider’s personality, however, does not come off as relatable or intriguing in “Real Rob,” as he attempts to pull most of his laughs from deprecating himself or his fellow cast members. The lack of emotional attachment between the characters on-screen translates to a lack of connection with the viewers, further alienating Schneider’s life from a realm of genuine interest.
Filled with crude humor and uncomfortable jokes, “Real Rob” lacks wit, innovation and charm. Even in his fictionalized autobiography, Schneider can’t find a way to make his life’s story worth watching.