The Weasel is coming to Philadelphia, but Pauly Shore, now 50, says he is a different man from the one we were introduced to in the 1990s, when he was sporting frilled tops and decorative scarves in films like Bio-Dome and Encino Man, and as a VJ on MTV. Although he is more mature, he says, he still likes to "go crazy, just a different type of crazy."
Shore's new brand of craziness will be on display for three nights at Punch Line Philly in Fishtown, where he will perform Thursday, Aug. 16, to Saturday, Aug. 18.
Shore has been doing live comedy since he was 17. He grew up around it thanks to his parents, Mitzi and Sammy Shore, who co-owned the Comedy Store, a famed Los Angeles comedy club that helped produce such comics as Richard Pryor and Sam Kinison. Mitzi Shore ran the club from the 1970s, when she and Sammy divorced, until her death this year.
Shore says he developed a deep affinity for comedy and began opening for comics like Kinison as a teenager. From there, he began developing his Weasel character, and his star took off, landing him everything from movie deals and comedy specials to TV appearances and hosting duties on MTV.
Though he has pulled back from film and focused more on comedy, Shore still find work online and in TV series, most recently on Freeform's comedy Alone Together, where he appeared as himself. Last year, he appeared in a Funny or Die short as Trump administration adviser Stephen Miller.
We spoke with Shore ahead of his gig in Philly, talking about where his comedy is now, the legacy of his mom, and why operating the Comedy Store these days is like running a McDonald's.
Well, I'm 50 now, so I'm not who I was back in the MTV era, but there's definitely parts of who I am. It wasn't like it was an act. I always say I'm the crustier version of what I was. More laid-back, more real, more relatable. I'm still Pauly. It's not like all of a sudden I'm 50 and I've changed. My stand-up is who I really am.
It's almost like Mötley Crüe or whoever now. They're not who they were. I still go crazy, but it's just a different type of crazy.
My films are so big, dude. They're bigger than life. All of them were so big, so they kind of trump the internet. No matter how many videos I do that get a million views, or how many podcasts I'm on, my movies were classics. They're a part of the culture, everyone knows Pauly Shore — Bio-Dome, Son in Law, Encino Man. It's cool. And now, because of apps like Hulu and Netflix, and all these others, people are able to see me now.
It's hard to say. I loved In the Army Now, I loved Encino Man. I don't know, I can't.
I'm 50-50. I write jokes, and I also come up with them on stage. The process is like, 'OK, I have somewhere to go and I have new stuff I want to talk about.' For example, one is other ways to make supplemental income — I could be an Uber driver, or do AirBnB. How cool would it be if Pauly Shore was your Uber driver? Or if you got an AirBnB, and I came with the apartment? There are ideas I want to talk about, but you kind of do them half and half.
I'm kind of critic- and hater-proof. Critics have been bashing me for so long that it doesn't really affect me anymore. You obviously want people to say nice things about you, but you focus on the positive rather than the negative comments. The thing is, when you're in the entertainment business, you put yourself out there to entertain and have fun and do your thing, but you're also being opened to criticism. It's the good and the bad. You've got to take it all. I love my [stuff], I think it's funny. Thank god I'm not too computer savvy.
It's sad to me, the whole way she died. The whole experience was traumatic, like for anyone. Now I'm in that club of people whose parents have died. You can't explain it. She's my mom and she's Mitzi, but I look at her more as my mom.
She wasn't just my mom; she's a mom for all the comedians. We all remember our college years, our early years. Those are the most important years of our lives, that transition from high school into the real world. It's that window of people's lives like, 'What am I going to do?' You've got to understand, when Jim Carrey got off the bus from Canada, he was a kid. It just goes down the line. She was there to nurture them, give them money, give them stage time, and develop them.
It was pretty awesome. All these memories and comics — Richard Pryor and Sam Kinison and George Carlin. That's why when I watch comedy now on Netflix, or the comedians at the Store, I watch the best. I like Ali Wong, I think she's funny and all, but she's not Garry Shandling. It's almost like music the way I look at it. You look at Bruno Mars, but he's not Michael Jackson or Prince. For real, dude — these kids are like, 'Oh my god, Bruno!' Like what are you talking about? These are guys who did it on a whole other level. Eddie Murphy, are you kidding me? He was amazing.
He came into my life when I was pretty young, and he took me under his wing. I wouldn't say he babysat me, but I followed him around at the Comedy Store and would go hang out with him. I opened for him on the road. That's a whole other conversation that would last for hours. I don't have time for that.
It's like McDonald's. It kind of runs itself. I'm not doing day-to-day stuff, but I'm involved in the business. As long as there is a microphone, as long as there is alcohol, as long as the comics are calling in for spots, as long as the social media is going, it's like a flow. You just do what [Mitzi] set up.