What is reality? This is a question I found myself asking while binge-watching all eight episodes of Netflix's Real Rob, Rob Schneider's autobiographical sitcom in the mode of Louis C.K.’s Louie, Marc Maron’s Maron, and Aziz Ansari’s recent Netflix hit Master of None. Like C.K., Schneider directs and co-writes every episode, mining personal stories from his family, comedy career, and various neuroses. The only difference is that Louie is an often poignant reflection on modern life while Real Rob is a synapse-shattering doorway into another dimension that will cause you to question the very meaning of existence.
Dumped the same week as the Netflix-produced Adam Sandler vehicle The Ridiculous 6, which Schneider has a supporting role in, Real Rob has all of the familiar traits of celebrity vanity projects. The SNL vet plays himself, aka the man who starred in The Animal, The Hot Chick, two Deuce Bigalow movies, and, as he points out at one point, “17 movies with Adam Sandler.” His real wife (Patricia Schneider, also a co-writer on every episode) plays his show-wife. His real baby plays his show-baby. As Schneider’s own website boasts, “Schneider is the first actor to have written, produced, starred, directed and self-financed an entire season of a television show.” When the show was first announced, he told the press, "I want to do my own Fawlty Towers."