Pauly Shore: more than just The Weasel

Lifelong comedian Pauly Shore has never stopped working

Pauly Shore is not dead.

Pauly Shore is not dead.

JMax Productions presents Pauly Shore tonight, March 3, 8:30 p.m., at the El Rey Theatre. Tickets: $22,
El Rey Theatre
230 W. Second St.

While considering Pauly Shore’s performance in Chico (tonight, March 3, at the El Rey Theatre), it occurred to me that the way I’ve presented myself to the world over the past couple of decades is in part informed by … Pauly Shore.

Yeah, dude. Seriously.

I’m fairly certain it was Fast Times’ Jeff Spicoli who started me down my linguistic path, but it was probably the succession of Bill & Ted and Wayne & Garth and the omnipresent Pauly that eventually burned “dude” into my being.

Over the course of five years during the early ’90s, Shore fed America’s youth the exaggerated surfer speak of his signature standup character The Weasel on his man-on-the-street MTV reality-comedy series Totally Pauly (on weekday afternoons right after school). He then cemented his stoney-eyed persona playing a succession of similarly faded characters in films like Encino Man, In the Army Now and Bio-Dome.

With 15 years having passed since the MTV show and the last of those films, the casual Shore fan could be forgiven for thinking, “Why is Pauly Shore coming to town? I didn’t know he was still around.” Turns out, he never went away.

Shore grew up in Hollywood; his father was a comedian and his mom founded and still owns the world-famous stand-up club The Comedy Store on the Sunset Strip. He was born into comedy, and he has kept working every day, continually doing standup and working on dozens of television, film and Internet creations.

His latest slate of projects includes 2010’s faux-documentary Adopted (about a lonely, clueless celebrity who goes to Africa to adopt a child); Vegas Is My Oyster (an upcoming Showtime comedy variety show); and Meet the In-laws, a new reality show debuting in 2011 on Country Music Television.

Shore talked to me from the road about his work during a recent telephone interview.

How’s the tour been so far?

It’s good. I’m fortunate. I’ve been doing this for 20 years, and I got fans out there that come to see me. Y’know, people know me and they like my stuff. I’m lucky.

Is standup your main gig at this point?

I’d have to say it’s my bread and butter, and it’s my passion. It’s kind of what I’ve done even when I was doing all my films. I’m doing it now more. I like it. It keeps me sharp and it keeps me connected with the people.

On your site you mention a desire to get into college towns. What is it that appeals to you about performing at colleges?

Youth, I think. You know. I was just in NACA [National Association of Collegiate Activities], which is the big college association where the kids purchase acts, y’know. Kids are hysterical, and what’s weird is they all know me. I’m like, “You guys are like 20, or some shit.” I’m like, “All right.” But I guess [it’s] the stuff that I did—Encino Man and all the different films.

Even today, I was going through the airport here in Iowa, and I said something to this girl—she was with her parents—and then she looked at her mom and her mom says, “Are you …?” And I said, “Yep, that’s me.” And then the little girl said, “No weezin’ the juice!” She was 16. I was like, “All right.”

Tell me about Meet the In-laws.

It’s basically Wife Swap, but for in-laws. So, like, if you’re about to get married … Before you guys get married, you go to live with her in-laws and she goes live with your in-laws. And, I kind of host it and kind of bring some commentary to it. … They pre-tape, and then they play it and then I comment on it and bring comic relief to it.

We’re just in the middle of filming those episodes now. It’s cool.

I watched the trailer for Adopted where you’re being interviewed by Anderson Cooper, and I laughed when he asked if you were affected by your time in a third-world country and you said “No,” but you were affected by seeing Lamar Odom’s penis during a visit to the Lakers’ locker room.

That was funny, because when that first came out I actually sent it to Khloe Kardashian—she’s a friend of mine—and she sent it to Lamar [and] they thought it was hysterical.

When you embark upon new artistic projects, is it a challenge to contend with perceptions based on your past work?

Did you ever see the film I did Pauly Shore Is Dead [2003 mockumentary in which Shore fakes his own death to reboot his career]? You should see that, it’s pretty much gonna answer the question that you just said.

I think it’s important that you don’t bite the hand that feeds you, but then you also kind of look beyond a bigger audience. You wanna appeal to people who like your stuff, but then also try to appeal to people that … You know what I mean?

So there are probably different levels of The Weez that come out?

Yeah. Exactly.

What can people expect from your standup?

I’d say stripped-down Pauly. Y’know, less Weasel, more kind of relatable, but still a little bit of The Weez. I talk about everything, y’know. The stuff that I do is very spontaneous … and that’s what keeps me going, I’d have to say.