Rob Schneider owes the career he has to Saturday Night Live. He was on the show from 1988 through 1994, first as a writer, eventually as a cast member, breaking through primarily with one character: photocopier-loving office drone The Richmeister. His stint wasn’t always pretty, and in the decades since leaving he’s been openly critical of the show’s semi-recent politics, including Alec Baldwin’s Trump impersonation. But on a recent podcast appearance with, of all people, Glenn Beck, he went even further in criticizing his old home.
“I hate to crap on my own show,” Schneider told the former Fox News bloviator while talking about comedy shows he thinks “indoctrinate people,” presumably with left wing (or at least anti-Trump) ideology. In fact, he pinpointed the exact moment SNL lost it, at least for him: When Hillary Clinton lost in 2016. Even more specifically, it was the maiden sketch of the first episode after Trump’s win.
It featured Kate McKinnon, he recalled, “dressed as Hillary Clinton, and she started playing ‘Hallelujah,’” referring to the Leonard Cohen song. “I literally prayed, ‘please have a joke at the end. Don’t do this. Please don’t go down there.’ And there was no joke at the end, and I went, ‘It’s over. It’s over. It’s not gonna come back.’”
Mind you, there were lots of jokes in the following sketches. Dave Chappelle hosted! But Schneider felt something was gone forever, and not only with SNL. He felt it infected almost all late night comedy shows. “You can take the comedic indoctrination process happening with each of the late night hosts and you can exchange them with each other,” Schneider said. “That’s how you know they’re not interesting anymore.”
In one sense, he’s not wrong. Late night talk show hosts regularly drag Trump and his many cronies. At the same time, what does Schneider expect? Trump was and is such a polarizing figure that it was hard to make light of what he was doing, and he’s been so damaging that it inspired entertainers with big platforms to do something, anything to make things better. And yet his antics are often so absurd — including on the day this piece has been written — that he remains a comedy goldmine. Trump has probably been dragged on SNL more than any other president in the show’s lifetime, combined.
In any case, if Schneider’s sick of ditto-headed comics using their pulpit as a lectern, maybe he should hope Trump winds up in the slammer.
You can watch Schneider’s comments in the video below.