Looking to “shake up Hollywood” in the same way he shook up America’s views on race relations, Rob Schneider is rebounding from ¡Rob! with a TV series he’s financing and producing totally independently, and totally not just because no one else wants to make another Rob Schneider television show. Instead, Schneider tells Deadline he’s choosing to pay for his next series entirely out of pocket to avoid the hassles of pilot season, the demands of advertisers, the pressures of ratings, the creative suggestions of others, and all the other methods of control that ensure only popular, well-honed sitcoms succeed. “I feel like I’ve got a good handle on what’s funny,” says the man who starred in movies where he’s magically transformed into animals and cheerleaders.
Still, Schneider has historically been a good sport about such criticisms when they come from a satirical place, like South Park. (Everyone else gets an angry open letter.) And now even he’s joining in: His new series, Real Rob, will aim for redemption through self-awareness, with Schneider playing an “exaggerated” version of himself alongside his wife, in what he terms an edgier, “close to the bone” portrayal of his life and career. The single-camera, documentary-style show will take aim at Schneider’s career misfires—including a joke about ¡Rob! in the pilot—and intersperse scenes from his semi-fictionalized life with stand-up vignettes, should the parallels to Louie not already be obvious.
Schneider is similarly gearing Real Rob towards cable, hoping that FX, HBO, Showtime, or even Netflix may be interested in a Curb Your Enthusiasm or Louie, but with Rob Schneider. And if it turns out they are, Schneider believes this will be an “important step in artists controlling their own destiny,” as one day artists look back at the trails blazed by Rob Schneider, who once again took a stand for Rob Schneider when no one else would.
He also compares his strategy to that time Tyler Perry developed the “Tyler Perry model” of insisting on a 10-90 episode order—mostly because he was Tyler Perry, and was in the position to make demands—with Schneider saying of his self-financed gamble, “They’ll call this the Rob Schneider model.” Of course, that will be true whether it succeeds or not. And if it doesn't, Rob Schneider can just make a movie where he switches bodies with a model.