Rob Schneider shows his political side in Breckenridge |

Rob Schneider shows his political side in Breckenridge

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Comedian and actor Rob Schneider is the first to recognize that audiences don’t expect his stand-up act to be so topical – about half his material revolves around politics and the state of the nation, a subject upon which he’s obviously passionate.

“There’s nothing more basic in a country than good food, clean air, clean water, education and health care,” Schneider said in a phone interview Wednesday that consistently turned back to politics. “We’ve managed to ruin all of those.”

After explaining why he returned to stand-up and began touring a year ago (like most comedians, it’s all about the immediacy), he begins pounding the Republican Congress, saying more cutbacks in social service is “terrible.” I have to interrupt:

“How do Republicans respond to your show?”

“I’m an equal-opportunity offender,” he answers. “I go after both sides.”

Nevertheless, for a Buddhist, he has very strong opinions. But even he sees the irony in that: While talking about the latest independent film he’s worked on, “The Chosen One” (available on DVD and coming to select theaters early next year), he eludes to the theme of the movie.

“People don’t realize how connected they are,” he said. “If you think your life is separate from everything around you, that’s just a concept … you’re missing out on the reality of what’s really going on.”

Then he closes with:

“(But Buddhists do) not cling onto any concept, even this one.”

After more talk about how deregulation has led Americans to lose well paying jobs and industry (“that’s what’s toppled this economy on its head,” he says), how the average American senior consumes 7.5 different prescription drugs daily (his 82-year-old mom doesn’t take any prescriptions, and “she’s doing great”), and how appalled he is that Americans are putting up with radiation (which he says preliminary studies show inhibit DNA replication) at airport security checks and accepting fluoride in their water and mercury in their fillings (meanwhile, he points out, “people are dropping dead like flies”), he still doesn’t directly answer a question basically aimed at asking:

“What happened to the superficial ‘Hot Chick?'”

“I do what I love,” he says, explaining that if he likes a story, he wants to play a part. And, he admits that while some films were “fun when I did it, I wouldn’t do it again.”

Though he still counts the two “Deuce Bigalow” flicks as some of his favorites, he won’t be making a third.

If he weren’t born on Halloween, he would’ve made a great Gemini; on one side of his public persona, his list of credits teems with silly movies intended for quick laughs. On the other, he’s fervent about his desire for Americans to figure out what kind of country they have, and what they want.

“(Most people) don’t have higher ideals than their own self-interest. … The country gets the leaders they deserve.” he said, adding that pure capitalism is not the answer to everything and specifically referencing President George Bush’s directive to “go shopping” after 911. “I believe the stuff I say.”

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