The self-deprecating Rob Schneider

- Raymond de Asis Lo, L.A. Correspondent () - October 6, 2005 - 12:00am
LOS ANGELES, California – There’s one very hilarious scene towards the first half of Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo," which opens Oct. 12 in the Philippines. In that scene, Deuce finds himself stumbling into a porn set. When the picky porn actress sees him, she immediately stands up and complains to the director that she only agreed to one midget and not two.

"It’s a joke. Some audiences kind of wince because it was so mean. The porn actress gets up and she looks at me and she says, ‘I agreed to one midget not two!’ I think it was a fair joke," Rob Schneider says.

Rob returns as Deuce Bigalow, a part-time fish tank cleaner and part-time male gigolo. This time he takes his trade to Europe and joins the mysterious organization called "European Society of Man-Whores," which was being gripped with puzzling murders among its ranks.

Recently, the actor met with The Philippine STAR to talk about his latest movie. He wore a leather jacket and was joking about his orange juice, which was pale. "It’s my morning urine," he says. In our interview, we touched on his politics, humor and feud with an LA Times critic.

The comedian, who is part-Filipino, attributes his humor to his self-deprecating personality. "I enjoy the self-deprecation — maybe too much!" he says. "I had somebody bring me some astrology charts and they says, ‘you are too self-deprecating, you make so much fun of yourself!’ But, I say, that’s how I am. That’s how I make my living."

Although he wrote the original and the sequel, Rob says most of what is written about Deuce Bigalow did not come from real life. "A couple of things from the first movie is kind of more real-life, like kissing a woman’s feet. I do that. But in both movies, I was trying to be outrageous. The first was used to give us a platform to get us to the second movie — to take it to another level."

"It all started when I saw American Gigolo about five years ago and it seemed ridiculous that a supermodel like Lauren Hutton would need to hire a gigolo when she could go to any bar and get any guy she wants. So, I thought, ‘who are the women who would really need gigolos?’ I said, ‘they need to have gigantic feet or have uncontrollably swearing disorders.’ And if I was a guy living next door to Richard Gere and I see these beautiful women parade to his place, I’d say, ‘I’m gonna kill my guidance counselor from High School who never told me I could be a gigolo!’ It is sort of a male fantasy to have women pay you for sex. But Deuce doesn’t get those amazing women. He gets women who have problems," Rob explains.

Rob has been acting since he made his debut on the David Letterman Show in 1987. He was in the cast of Saturday Night Live for three seasons and has enjoyed success in the big screen appearing mostly in Adam Sandler’s comedies.

In 2001, he had his breakout hit in Deuce Bigalow: American Gigolo. He has since made a handful of movies, most notably he comedies The Animal and The Hot Chick. His choice of film roles have drawn wild criticism from American critics. Patrick Goldstein of the Los Angeles Times even took out a front page editorial criticizing the state of American comedy and sampled Rob’s movies in his scathing critique.

"I have no problem with taking on critics. I don’t fear them. I’ll go after them if I need to," the comedian says. "I paid for a full-page ad on Daily Variety to respond to the derogatory statements the LA Times wrote about me on the front page. That guy is not funny at all. And I am funny and I took a front page ad of my own and showed him how to be mean. I don’t really worry about what critics say about my movies. It’s not for them that I make my movies. In Europe and Asia, I think the criticism is more valid because they have a genuine love for American movies. In the US and in England, they are more entertainment journalists, they are not real critics."

Although Deuce Bigalow wasn’t designed to be a film series, the actor still spent almost one year writing the script. "What I wanted to do for the sequel was to make it funnier than the original and also have some international appeal to it. Even if you didn’t see the original, you will still enjoy the sequel. What was important to me was not to be outrageous for outrageousness’ sake but to really go for it. The worst form of censorship is self-censorship," Rob adds.

Filmed in Amsterdam, the movie also features anti-American sentiments prevalent in Europe these days. "There are a lot of anti-American sentiments in the world today, especially about the current administration. I thought we had to do that. It was funny because the Deuce character is not a smart guy, he’s an idiot! He says, ‘Hey, I’ll put on this American flag shirt and walk down the street of Amsterdam and every body will say ‘Hi’ because I am American.’ You know it’s kind of like a 1945 attitude, a post world-war thing," Rob says.

He adds, "Even if you are doing a gross-out comedy, you need to have that credibility. This film would lack credibility if we didn’t mention the anti-American sentiments in the world. I think the American people are ready for t. I think it’s valid. Americans deserve to be criticized because they voted for this administration. I liked the part when a woman thanks Deuce for bringing democracy to Iraq and she gets hit with a brick. It’s a crazy time in America."

For his next movie, politics will still be a minor back story. He will portray a "Moses-like" character in Herv, the Barbarian.

"I wrote a part for Michael Moore — I don’t really like him," Rob says. "It’s a slave story that’s basically a "Moses" story. My character is trying to free his people. It’s going to be your quintessential comedy inspired by Mel Brooks."

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