Saturday Night Live alum Rob Schneider headlines at the Tampa Improv Comedy Club this weekend, part of the comedian's return to standup that began a couple of years ago after a 20-year absence.
Schneider broke out of the club circuit in 1990 when SNL's Lorne Michaels warmed to the comedian's oddball, self-deprecating schtick. He stayed on as a cast member for four years, earning a recent Rolling Stone ranking of No. 44 out of SNL's all-time cast of 141.
Some of Schneider's most memorable skits center on the socially challenged "Richard," who assails co-workers with nicknames from his perch next to the copy machine ("the Tomster!," "the Richmeister!") yet cannot carry on the most basic conversation.
He appeared in several forgettable movies before success with two hits with former SNL alum Adam Sandler, The Waterboy (1998) and Big Daddy (1999). He followed up in 1999 as the lead in Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo. A 2005 sequel, Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo, was panned by critics but grossed $22 million.
A San Francisco native, Schneider is the son of a Jewish real estate broker and a Filipina woman who taught kindergarten.
"The jokes were better on my dad's side of the family, and the food was more interesting and a lot spicier on my mom's side of the family," Schneider told SF Weekly in June.
See Schneider at 8 and 10:30 p.m. Friday and 7:30 and 10 p.m. Saturday at the Tampa Improv Comedy Club, 1600 E Eighth Ave. $27 to $30.(813) 864-4000. improvtampa.com.
Tickets are on sale for National Theatre Live, three broadcasts in 2016 from London to more than 1,100 venues around the world, including a trio of Sunday afternoon screenings at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts.
The experience attempts to create the effect of having great seats to top-shelf productions at a low price ($21.50 at the Straz). Most events are streamed live from the National Theatre (or sometimes other theaters in the United Kingdom). National Theatre Live positions cameras throughout the house, compensating cinema patrons with multiple viewing angles for what they may lack in immediacy.
The program launched ambitiously in 2009 with Helen Mirren in Phedre, about a queen's attraction to her stepson, and has since reached millions.
This year's playbill starts Jan. 17 with Carey Mulligan and Bill Nighy in David Hare's Skylight, about a schoolteacher's unexpected visit from a former lover, a successful restaurateur whose wife has recently died. As the one-time couple moves in the direction of rekindling their romance, each struggles with pre-existing biases toward the other's lifestyle.
The next screening, The Audience on March 20, stars Helen Mirren, above, as Queen Elizabeth II, a performance that won her a 2013 Laurence Olivier Award for best actress. Tony-winning director Stephen Daldry directs Peter Morgan's play about the queen's private and confidential meetings with 12 prime ministers over 60 years, from Winston Churchill to incumbent David Cameron. Mirren won a Tony in June for the Broadway production of The Audience.
National Theatre Live at the Straz finishes May 15 with Hamlet, featuring Benedict Cumberbatch in the title role.
All showings are at 2 p.m. at the Straz Center's Ferguson Hall, 1010 N MacInnes Place, Tampa. $21.50. (813) 229-7827. strazcenter.org.
When families and hospitals run out of resources to help the dying, they turn to hospice organizations. On Tuesday, a cast of seven will lead the Studio@620's effort to return the favor with a benefit for Suncoast Hospice.
Flights of Angels, a melange of theatrical excerpts, testimonial and music about departed loved ones, aims to provoke thought and induce laughter. The production, assembled by @620 associate artist Roxanne Fay, features Bonnie Agan, Becca McCoy, Natalie Symons, Heather Jones, Susan Mills, Rick Stutzel and Betty Jane Parks. It will be followed by a discussion on how we handle death today, including end-stage medical care and ethical issues.
The show starts at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Studio@620, 620 First Ave. S, St. Petersburg. Suggested donation is $10. (727) 895-6620. studio620.org.