Comedian Pauly Shore is probably best known or his on-air MTV personality and his string of hit films in the ’90s, like Encino Man and Son in Law. These films feature his sleazy, goofy dude persona The Wiez. In recent years, he’s produced and directed quasi-autobiographical films like Pauly Shore is Dead and Adopted. He’ll be performing standup comedy at the Grand Sierra Resort on March 5 at 9 p.m.
Do you ever feel stereotyped by the Wiez persona?
Maybe 10 years ago I was feeling that, but now I’m OK with it. It’s kind of like Anthony Hopkins and the fava beans.
So the Wiez is your Hannibal Lecter?
Exactly. You know, it’s the entertainment business. People work hard to come up with their own thing, then they work hard to get away from their own thing, then they embrace their own thing, and then they come up with something else. I try to look at my life as the glass half full rather than half empty. Things are good for me. You compare me to Johnny Depp? Not so good. You compare me to Webster? Pretty good.
Your mom owns the Comedy Store in L.A.?
Yeah, she started it in ’72. … Yeah, Sam Kinison and Richard Pryor babysat me.
Who was the better babysitter?
Sam. He gave me the drugs.
No, I mean I had no parental supervision. I never got in trouble. I had a free-for-all around the club. It was a cool environment. At school, we were like the Addams Family—the weird kid with the weird mom. but I grew up on the Strip, the Sunset Strip, when the strip was cool, back in the ’70s and ’80s. I saw Black Flag. I saw The Clash. … I started doing standup at 17. Then I started getting some roles in movies and TV shows. From there, MTV get a hold of me, and then it went into films.
MTV’s a totally different thing now …
For me, those times on MTV were when MTV played music that meant something. Now, it’s shows about teens getting pregnant and fat Italian girls in Jacuzzis. At the end of the day, it’s about ratings, and if that’s what the kids want to watch, who am I to judge?
How do you feel about your time at MTV?
It was like Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, like I got the golden ticket. I was a 21, 22-year-old guy, right out of high school started doing standup and then got on MTV. I was pretty fortunate. … It was the heavy metal into the grunge times. The Axl Rose-slash-Nirvana era. That era was pretty extraordinary—look at those videos that Guns ’n’ Roses did. That’s when I was on MTV. … It was back when MTV was live and spontaneous, no censors. It was more like a cable channel, you know? That’s what I like about the internet in a way, even though you don’t get as many eyeballs, there’s a freedom on the internet with the web shorts that people do. I work a lot with the guys from Funny or Die.
You’ve got a couple of shows you’re working on, too.
I’m working on something for VH1 called The Shorez. And I just finished a show in Vegas called Vegas is my Oyster. … It’s for Showtime. It’s a variety show. It’s got music, the band Semi Precious Weapons. Andy Dick. …
When was the last time you were in Reno?
Shit, dude, it’s been a long time. … I hope people come out. I remember it being pretty cool. They better not stop prostitution, though.
Is that something you’re going to hit up while you’re here?
No, I’m not a prostitute kind of a guy. I’d rather save myself.