David Schneider – In Conversation

In a career spanning three decades, David Schneider’s contribution to British comedy is difficult to overlook. Beginning his career as a Stand Up comedian during the Alternatives Comedy hiatus of the 1980’s, Schneider quickly realised that he might not be cut out for a life on the road following a number of occasions when his hecklers managed to get bigger laughs than him even before he got to the mic. His act centered around a physical routine including pulling funny faces interspersed with physical gags. Unfortunately, just three years later, David realised the act wasn’t as successful as he once thought. Yet still recognising his passion for comedy, he went about finding another outlet for his talent.

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In 1991 Schneider was cast in Chris Morris’s cult Radio 4 series On The Hour alongside Steve Coogan and Rebecca Front. Just a year and two series later, On The Hour made a successful transition from radio to television in 1994 under the new title The Day Today and became one of the most influential comedy series of the 1990’s. Although just one series, The Day Today set the benchmark for future attempts at political satire and influenced a whole generation of writer/performers. Over two decades later, Schneider remains in full admiration for Chris Morris’s work and is extremely proud of the iconic show.


Being in a successful comedy group is highly advantageous for an actor as you are never out of work. To work with a writer/director such as Armando Ianucci is a sure sign that David Schneider is at the very top of his game and life all celebrated comedy repertory companies, there is forever talk of reunions. As David explains, to work among friends is probably the best thing in the world. This “pally” group has since been responsible for popular shows such as Knowing Me, Knowing You and I’m Alan Partridge; thus being involved in some of the most iconic comedy moments of the last twenty years. Who can forget the disgruntled Alan Partridge thrusting cheese in BBC executive Tony Hayes’s face with the immortal line “Smell my cheese, you Mother?”


David Schneider was now a familiar face in British comedy and his role as a junior cashier in the mid nineties sitcom The Peter Principal cemented this. This was a refreshing contrast with the satirical wit of Armando Ianucci’s work and offered David an insight into the art of a studio based sitcom. Beyond this, the show gave David the opportunity to work alongside the great Jim Broadbent – surely a sign of his own pedigree as an actor.


Like Broadbent, David has dabbled with the big screen, most notably significant roles in Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later and Churchill: The Hollywood Years.  Yet while his acting earns him public acclaim, he is also a highly successful and respected director and in 2010 directed the semi autobiographical sitcom Josh written by and starring the comedian Josh Widdicombe. Directing Josh Widdicombe through his own words was a challenging task for David as he was forced to separate the character of Josh in the series from the writer and comedian Josh. You would think this to be a relatively basic principle until you realise that the character of Josh in the show is a Devonshire comic! Despite this, the sitcom has become an online hit since BBC Three’s move to a streaming service and more episodes are not out of the question.


Heading into his third decade in comedy, David Schneider shows no sign of slowing down and his newly formed Social Media company epitomises his desire to remain on the forefront of emerging entertainment. It was a great pleasure to spend time with David Schneider and wish him all the very best for the next era of what is already an extremely accomplished career in British comedy.