Even though Rob Schneider emerged from the thriving San Francisco comedy scene during the early '80s, stand-up has been an afterthought for much of the actor-humorist's career.
Thanks to considerable television and film success, Schneider has had the luxury to put stand-up on the backburner.
The former "Saturday Night Live" star has appeared in a number of films, including "Demolition Man," "Judge Dredd" and "The Beverly Hillbillies." He also starred in a pair of "Deuce Bigalow" films.
"I've been fortunate that I've had so many opportunities in front of the camera," Schneider said while calling from his Los Angeles home. "I've always enjoyed working in film and television. But I can't deny how much I love stand-up. I've just been so busy over the years that I couldn't focus on it."
Schneider, who will perform Tuesday and Wednesday at the Loony Bin, is back on the stand-up trail after a 17-year hiatus.
"This is something I needed to do because I never felt like I had that killer hour as a comic," he said. "You look at George Carlin and Chris Rock, and they have had those hours. I want to have that hour, too."
Rock, as well as Schneider's close friend Adam Sandler, suggested that he try his luck as a stand-up comic while the three performers were working on the set of the film "Grown Ups," which will hit screens in late June.
"They really encouraged me to go back to stand-up," Schneider said. "And they were so right. To do stand-up right, you need to really focus on it, and that's what I've been doing the last few months."
Unlike most of the characters he's played, Schneider has proved to be a fairly deep and cerebral comedian. He's at his best when he gets personal.
"I can't help but talk about how overly medicated senior citizens are," Schneider said. "Forget about getting kids off drugs. How about getting seniors off drugs? When my dad died, he was on 10 different medications. My mother was on five different drugs. I think the drugs are what makes older people so cranky."
The Prius-driving, environmentally conscious performer is hardly like some of the egocentric characters he has played on screen. "Sometimes people forget that I'm just performing," he said. "I'm totally different than most of the characters I've played."
Schneider admits that it bugs him that he's been slammed by a number of critics. "Not everybody has a sense of humor, even though they think they do," he said. "Some people might think that some of the things I've done aren't funny, but some people lack a sense of humor. It's just like not everyone is a good cook."
Expect Schneider to continue to act, but for the time being, he will spend lots of energy on stand-up. "I think I can do both well," he said. "But I want to really nail stand-up right now. I want that killer hour so bad, and I'm going to get it."
If you go>
What: Comic, actor and "Saturday Night Live" alum
Where: Loony Bin, 6140 E. 21st St.
When: 8 and 10:30 p.m. Tuesday and 8 p.m. Wednesday
How much: Tickets are $22.
For more information, call 316-618-HAHA.