Published Jul 25, 2015Rob Schneider seems to have reached the "punching the clock" stage of his career — perhaps a little early at age 51, perhaps not. His performance, clocking in at closer to 45 minutes than the traditional hour, was fun for some of his audience, but subpar in comparison to the Just For Laughs Festival's roster.
To call his performance lackluster in a negative fashion would not be entirely appropriate — that is, in fact, what he was going for, on a superficial level. Unfortunately it takes a comedian of more pluck and guile than Schneider to keep that facade within the superficial realm. While there were brief moments of comic prowess and some glimpses of him having a sincerely good time, his own humdrum image — facade or not — cast a long shadow over Schneider's performance.
His material often lacked originality. Twice he seemed to paraphrase jokes already made somewhat famous by other contemporary comedians. One joke regarding commitment-wary gay people losing their last ditch excuse not to get married due to its legalization in the States seemed to essentially paraphrase a joke that had been delivered by Michael Che on SNL last October.
The lion's share of Schneider's material rested on run of the mill "yes ma'am" marriage advice, and a token trip to crazy-things-women-do land. Schneider did manage to scrounge up a little originality and comic dexterity in his closing monologue. With music playing in the background, he espoused a spiritual diatribe on "oneness," being and belonging, interspersed with the dumbest bar jokes he could conjure up. For the first time during his set — perhaps it was the music, maybe it was acting — he came across as though he were doing something he thought was important.