By David J. Criblez


NEW YORK — From making copies on “Saturday Night Live” to prostitution in “Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo,” comedian Rob Schneider has always thrown himself into every crazy situation possible to make us laugh. Now the Schneidmeister is focusing on his stand-up career.

Calling from Orlando, Fla., the of his upcoming TV show, “Real Rob,” Schneider shares what drew him back to the stage.

Q. You returned to stand-up after a long break. What brought you back?

A. Doing stand-up again was a challenge that got me out of bed in the morning and sweating a little bit. Because 50 movies in, what challenges you anymore? Going onstage scared me, and, as an artist, you have to do what scares you sometimes.

Q. How did you get into the groove?

A. I realized that I had to hit the small clubs five nights a week and really earn it. As I dug deeper, I found myself getting into good areas with my material. There’s a fine line as to what is interesting to me and what is interesting to the crowd. You always have to be there to entertain. If you are only entertaining yourself, then you are no longer an entertainer.

Q. What is your material like now?

A. I’m doing some political material because we live in such interesting times, which is why I think stand-up is such a vital art form again. I don’t think it was in the ’90s, to be honest. With the financial decline in America and the disintegration of the middle class, people are looking for something. Great art always comes from cultures in decline.