This year, visiting American comedians have included Jim Gaffigan, who had a short but excellent stint at The Shaw Theatre, while the equally superb Marc Maron will play the Soho Theatre later this month. With the good must, inevitably, come the not-so-good – represented here by Rob Schneider, stand-up and star of knockabout movies such as Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo, Grown Ups and The Hot Chick and a former Saturday Night Live regular.
For a star of such high-pitched movie larking, Schneider's act is incredibly downbeat and lull-prone, something that may have arisen from the shock of hearing routines that may kill with whoops and cheers at home greeted with warm titters over here. What was not to like then? Perhaps it was his advice to Muslims that they urinate before they travel on planes so that they could avoid looking shifty during flights or implying that the Chinese are synonymous with take-away food or that blurred vision incurred from Viagra usage might be ok "depending on what your wife looks like."
Despite his, at times, somewhat unreconstructed outlook, there were passages of Schneider's low-energy and erratically themed act that were at least worth some of the aforementioned titters. Showing he had done some homework before coming over, Schneider acknowledged the World Cup and said that in the US "soccer was like botox; some people like it, but you don't know who." Later, among a section where he leans on tried and tested material and returns to some Brit-oriented routines, he muses on "the lying words", by which he means the protracted sounding of "honestly, actually, seriously..." by people whose intentions are not to be trusted.
Schneider has to work hard to get any warmth and momentum going and never really succeeds. A white gaffer-tape line is visible, marking off the stage area – and it is also, symbolically, the line he never manages to breach.