SPOILER ALERT: Do not read ahead if you have not watched “The Masked Singer” Season 6, Episode 6, “Time Warp,” which aired October 20 on Fox.
It’s been thirty years since he was making copies on “Saturday Night Live.” Now, Rob Schneider has been revealed as the Hamster — Hamming it up, the Ham-star, the Hamsterminator, Masked Over My Hammy, Hams-I-Am, M.C. Hamster — on Fox’s “The Masked Singer.” Schneider had been disguised as the Hamster, but was unmasked at the end of the sixth episode of Season 6, “Time Warp.”
“It’s the most fun I’ve ever had on television,” Schneider told Variety. “Without the pressure of being on ‘Saturday Night Live’ or carrying a sitcom, it was the most fun for TV. I think ten years ago, I would have done better at it, hold a note a little bit better. But they have a vocal coach, and it does help. They gave me weeks to rehearse ahead of time.”
Jenny McCarthy Wahlberg got it right with Schneider. Ken Jeong went with another former “Saturday Night Live” star, Will Ferrell. Nicole Scherzinger thought it was Gabriel “Fluffy” Iglesias. Robin Thicke said it was Cheech Marin.
Guest panelist Leslie Jordan, who opened the show by singing “This Little Light of Mine” dressed as Soft Serve, also thought it was Iglesias.
Schneider as Hamster sang the Spanish-language song “Sabor a Mí” by Luis Miguel. His previous songs were “Oh, Pretty Woman,” by Roy Orbison and “Crazy Little Thing Called Love,” by Queen.
“I thought for sure they wouldn’t kick me off after the Spanish song because I thought, ‘they can’t do that, that’d be racist!’” Schneider said. “I was wrong.”
Had he continued, next up, Schneider wanted to sing ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic’s ‘Amish Paradise.’ “I think they made a huge mistake, kicking me off,” he added.
Earlier clues from Schneider referenced “Saturday Night Live”: “You should have seen me in my 20s,” he said in one clue package. “I was living in a huge city, working with my best pals. The fun that we had when we were younger was our most fun ever. There’s nothing like not being famous and then the next day being famous. And that’s what happened to all of us. And the fact that we’re still friends all these years later is phenomenal.”
Previous panel guesses for Hamster included Bill Murray, Brendan Fraser, Albert Brooks, Tim Allen, Kelsey Grammer, Andy Richter, Jack Black, Will Ferrell, David Spade, Jim Breuer, John Leguizamo, Paul Rudd and Schneider himself.
“I think the hints were too obvious,” Schneider said. “I wish they would have disguised it more, but you can’t disguise your height. I think the judges after six seasons they kind of get good at it. They look at you and go, ‘OK: Comedian, athlete or professional singer.’ They narrow you down pretty quick. Halfway into it they go, ‘this guy’s definitely not a professional singer. He’s definitely not a professional athlete.’”
Schneider said he immediately jumped at doing “The Masked Singer” because his kids are fans.
“It never happens to me where I watch a show and go, ‘I’d be perfect for that.’ But ‘The Masked Singer’ is a perfect television show because it has the drama, it has performance, it has the comedy, and it draws you in,” he said. “Eventually they’re gonna call me. And they did.”
Schneider’s youngest daughter suspected her dad was the Hamster, but he kept it a secret. His oldest daughter, musician Elle King, was aware of his “Masked Singer” stint and offered him some performing advice.
“She said just to sing songs people know, don’t do something weird, and ‘don’t embarrass me.’”
Like most “Masked Singer” performers, Schneider said the toughest part was singing in the costume. “It was miserable,” he said. “The first time you put it on you go, ‘I can’t do this. I have to get out of the show. How am I gonna tell people I can’t do this?’ And then the next thing you go, well maybe I can do it one more take.”
Schneider said ultimately he stripped down to shorts and a t-shirt and doused himself with water before getting in the Hamster suit. “The costumes are fantastic,” he said. “They look beautiful. They’re complicated, but you can still move in them. And set design is great. It’s the number one show on TV for a reason. It was tough to do at first but it’s tough for everybody. You know the other guy in the next room is uncomfortable. The next thing you know you get into the competition of it, and you go, ‘I don’t want to get kicked off the first week!’”
Schneider chose the Hamster because he was told that the cuter costumes stay longer on “The Masked Singer.” “Toni Braxton got stuck as a dead fish,” he noted. “Larry the Cable Guy was dressed up like a toothless horror film, gigantic baby. I don’t know how they talked him into doing that. But then you think, maybe some people do want to get kicked off right away because it’s hot in there. But you get sucked into the competition and then you want to sing good, you want to do good. And then you start to be like, ‘hey maybe I’m good at this.’ But then you see real performers like whoever the Bull is, whether it’s Nelly or whatever. And then the girl who’s the [Pepper]. Just amazingly, incredible, beautiful performers.”
Schneider said he highly recommends the experience to any celebrity considering appearing on “The Masked Singer.”
“I hope that people enjoy the season as much as we performers did,” he said. “It is difficult and hot and sweaty, but it really is rewarding. The audience is great and people went home, loving the show and the crazy costumes and amazing dancers. Like I said, it’s the No. 1 show on television for a reason.”
Rob Schneider (Hamster) joined Ruth Pointer (Cupcake), Larry the Cable Guy (Baby), Tyga (Dalmatian), Toni Braxton (Pufferfish), Vivica A. Fox (Mother Nature) and Dwight Howard (Octopus) as the next celebrity to be unmasked on Season 6 of “The Masked Singer.”
“The Masked Singer” entered Season 6 with the return of a studio audience for the first time since the pandemic began. This season’s costumes include Baby, Banana Split, Beach Ball, Bull, Caterpillar, Cupcake, Dalmatian, Hamster, Jester, Mallard, Mother Nature, Octopus, Pepper, Pufferfish, Queen of Hearts and Skunk.
The Season 6 contestants boast a combined 85 Grammy Nominations and 27 wins, three Academy Award nominations, 12 Emmy Nominations, 12 Razzie Award Nominations, two Super Bowl appearances and two Lifetime Achievement Awards.
The show’s panelists will once again compete for a “Golden Ear” trophy based on their first impressions of each masked performer (which McCarthy has won the last two seasons). Jeong went into episode six with a point, ahead of everyone else.
As for Hamster, Thicke’s first impression was Cheech Marin; McCarthy Wahlberg’s choice was Andy Richter or Jason Alexander (she wrote two names). Jeong picked Bill Murray. Scherzinger named Jason Alexander for her first impression. No one gained a point.
Also new this season, a “Take It Off” buzzer will allow the show’s panelists to prematurely demand a celebrity remove their mask, if they’re convinced they know who it is. They’ll get two extra points toward the Golden Ear tally if they’re right. If they’re wrong, they’ll be “severely punished.”
Here were the other contestants and their performances on night six:
Song: “Make You Feel My Love,” by Bob Dylan
Previous songs: “Drops of Jupiter,” by Train; “What Hurts the Most,” by Rascal Flatts; “Circus,” by Britney Spears
Time machine clue: Circa 1990s iMac. “It made the most annoying sound ever. That sound will forever live rent-free in my head.”
Voice-over: “If I could revisit any time in my life, it might surprise you. It’s when I made one of the most risky moves and left my stable job to go and chase my dreams. And like the Fresh Prince, my life was suddenly turned upside down. I found myself alone in a strange new place, living in an apartment full of cockroaches. But when I look back on that moment I’m just unbelievably proud. Because the risk paid off. Here I am, chasing my dreams, singing on ‘The Masked Singer.’ The rumor on set is I ask more questions than the rest of the contestants combined. I’m just very, very nosy. It is killing me to not know who I’m up against. I’ve been running to the bathroom unexpectedly to hopefully catch someone. And I haven’t seen anything. I think the lesson here is only worry about things I can control, and that is a great life lesson for me to learn.”
Panel guesses: Taye Diggs, Cheyenne Jackson, Lil Nas X
Previous panel guesses: Hunter Hayes, Lance Bass, Brian Littrell, Sisqo, Dwayne Johnson, Darren Criss, Justin Timberlake, Brandon Flowers, Rufus Wainwright, Kevin Jonas, Zac Efron, Donald Glover, Anthony Ramos, Leslie Odom Jr.
Song: “No Tears Left to Cry,” by Ariana Grande
Previous song: “Jealous,” by Labrinth
Time machine clue: An iPod. “All you have to do is plug it in, and let’s get the party started!”
Voice-over: “If I could revisit any time in my life, it would be when I first hit big. I was suddenly pulled in a million different directions. There were interviews, awards shows, red carpets. But I think sometimes you can get so caught up in what’s next that you’re not living in the what’s now. And I wish that I had enjoyed that time for what it was: The beginning of an amazing career. I’m trying to remember that lesson here. I actually signed on for this a few days before it started. So it’s been that same sort of whirlwind. There’s costume fittings, music meetings, but it’s crazy because it all comes together. And when it does, it’s magic. I’ve always believed in magic, I’ve seen myself as a bit of a wizard. And I’m trying to stay calm, because the semi-finals are so close.”
Panel guesses: Pink, Idina Menzel, Elle Goulding
Previous panel guesses: Kesha, Hailee Steinfeld, Pink, Miley Cyrus
Song: “Square Biz,” by Teena Marie
Previous songs: “Diamonds,” by Sam Smith; “It’s a Man’s, Man’s, Man’s World,” by James Brown; “Midnight Train to Georgia,” by Gladys Knight & the Pips
Time machine clue: Pager with the number “607.” “If someone sent me these three digits, it would make me feel like a complete dream girl.”
Voice-over: “I’ve thought about what life would be like if I had a time machine. Probably more than the average person. To fix one of my biggest regrets. One night my pride prevented me from saying ‘hi’ to a loved one. Little did I know, I would never get a chance to do it again. If I could do it all over, all I’d want to do is give them a hug. But that one hug could have changed the course of history. Now all I have to do is to keep moving forward. Tonight, I’m moving around and sweating even more. Because I’ve chosen an upbeat song that celebrates love.”
Panel guesses: Jennifer Hudson, Cynthia Erivo, Faith Evans
Previous panel guesses: Faith Evans, Mary J. Blige, Toni Braxton, Janet Jackson, Sade, Lauryn Hill, Yolanda Adams, Jill Scott, Fantasia Barrino, Janelle Monae, Erykah Badu, Taraji P. Henson, Queen Latifah, Tamar Braxton
Song: “School’s Out,” by Alice Cooper
Time machine clue: Jacket, circa 1975. “This is pure style.”
Voice-over: “You want a wild card? Well, get ready for the wildest wild card yet. I’ve been called an icon. You could say I’ve changed the course of history. I’ve even been voted one of the 100 most influential people of all time. But I’ve also been called a scoundrel. I’ve offended heads of state, been banned from famous venues. Though in reality I’m not a bad guy. In fact, that’s why I’m here. To show the world I’m a lovable, sensitive, multi-faceted clown who just wants to make you laugh. I’ll do whatever it takes to entertain this court, and that’s no joke.”
Panel guesses: Dee Snider, Ricky Gervais, Roger Daltry