David Spade really wants you to know that he's not the snarky, narcissistic jerk that he plays in so many TV and movie roles.

"The real version of me is a little boring, mildly amusing and, truly, not so horrible," he insists.

Spade, who rose to fame on "Saturday Night Live" in the early 1990s, is in his seventh season as a cast member of "Rules of Engagement," a CBS sitcom that has spent much of its life on the proverbial "bubble." His role? Another jerk. A shallow, womanizing one.

Still, he promises to be on his best behavior -- or close to it -- when he serves as the headlining act at this week's fourth annual Hope for the Homeless benefit show at the Lesher Center in Walnut Creek. Spade recently took time out during another Bay Area stop -- at the San Jose Improv -- to talk about stand-up comedy, life on TV and baring his butt for the upcoming sequel to "Grown Ups."

Russell (David Spade) is angry when Timmy excludes him from dinner with his parents, on "Rules of Engagement." (Photo: Sonja Flemming/CBS ©2013
Russell (David Spade) is angry when Timmy excludes him from dinner with his parents, on "Rules of Engagement." (Photo: Sonja Flemming/CBS ©2013 CBS Broadcasting, Inc.) (Sonja Flemming)

Q You're busy doing television and movies. Does that leave you much time for stand-up?

A I try to do it here and there, just to keep from getting rusty. It's how I started, and I like to keep it alive. But it's still hard. I still get nervous before shows. You've just got to keep at it.

Q So what kind of tone do you take in your shows?

A Well, I don't know how far I can go in Walnut Creek. (The event) is for nice people. I have to be careful.

Q We see that you're an active participant on Twitter and Instagram. Are you a big fan of social media?

A Insta-brag is a little weird. You just watch a bunch of people showing how great their life is. It's pretty ridiculous. I sort of like Twitter, but it's hard to wind up and get jokes out that fast. If only I had 10 more characters to play with ...


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Q You've played a lot of scoundrels over the years. How close are they to your actual personality?

A Sort of close. ... No, not really. Those characters are just easy to play, and I clearly don't have a lot of acting range. It's kind of tricky. I don't hire me. I don't get to say whom I play. ... But I've pretty much come to grips with the fact that I'm never going to be the hero. I'm never going to be the super-sympathetic guy.

Q Your sitcom, "Rules of Engagement," has been repeatedly taken off the air by CBS and moved around the schedule, and mentioned as a candidate for cancellation. What's that like to constantly be under the TV radar and to be forever wondering what your fate will be?

A It's certainly not as much fun as being on "Modern Family." It does feel a bit like you're (the network's) overlooked girlfriend. You're put on hold. You're told to sit on the bench and wait. After a few years of that, you want to say, "Why don't you just marry us?"

But we've been on the air for seven years, so how mad can you get? There are really bigger problems in the world.

Q Well, someone is clearly watching the show. I presume your family does?

A My mom literally says every week that the episode is the funniest one she's ever seen.

Q And now we've got "Grown Ups 2" on the horizon. Do you think we were all in desperate need of a sequel?

A Lucky America. It's coming. I don't think they need it, but they want it. ... I've seen it twice, and it's a lot of good, upbeat and stupid fun.

Q We've seen a trailer during which you, along with Adam Sandler and the gang, jump naked from a steep cliff into a lake. The real you, or a body double?

A Both. A body double did the real jump, but I did a shorter one and had to strip down, so that was a bummer.

Q Sounds brutal.

A Yeah, but on the other hand, I'm 20 pounds lighter than the first movie, in which I showed my butt. So it was a little easier for the crew to take.

Read Chuck Barney's TV blog at http://blogs.mercurynews.com/aei/category/tv, and follow him at Twitter.com/chuckbarney.

An evening with
David Spade

What: Fourth annual Hope for the Homeless benefit show
When: 8 p.m., April 26
Where: Lesher Center
for the Arts, Walnut Creek
Tickets: $75-$125,
925-943-7469

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