Comedian Pauly Shore has been in and out of the public eye throughout the past couple decades, first "wiezing" his way into our lives in the late 80s as a quirky, wild MTV VJ, hosting Totally Pauly and a slew of spring break parties. He made a handful of popular (and a couple not-so-popular) movies in the 90s and then left the scene until the release of his 2003 star-studded comeback movie, the "mockumentary" Pauly Shore is Dead.
Shore will be performing his stand-up act at Comedy, TN December 12th and 13th, two shows each night, at 8:15 and 10:30 p.m.
The Flyer recently spoke with Shore via telephone, and heres what we talked about.
-- by Shara Clark
Flyer: What was it like growing up in your mom's club, the Comedy Store?
Shore: It was like Boogie Nights. I was just like any other kid, you know. I think the fact that I haven't been in and out of rehab and the fact that I still have my brain in my head is a pretty good testament to myself and the choices I've made since.
What comedians were you inspired by?
Richard Pryor and Sam Kinison.
When did you first realize that you wanted to be a comedian?
Probably when I went downstairs to a smoke-filled room around 3 a.m. and told my mom to shut up because I had school in the morning, and everyone laughed. They didn't take me seriously.
With all the ups and downs in your career, was there any point in time when you considered a different career path?
No. Comedy is one of those things -- you don't choose it; it chooses you. I think the true artists are the ones who do it no matter what.
A while ago I talked to John Travolta, and I basically asked him, "When things weren't happening for you, what did you do?" He says, "I just kept doing the same thing. Whether you're in front of a camera or not, you still act and do comedy."
With Pauly Shore is Dead, what essentially were you aiming to accomplish?
First of all, it was therapy. It was kind of letting go of the past and opening up to the future. Also, every time someone in this business is predominantly out there and they're big and then they're not, people immediately think something bad happened to them. So to poke fun at that, I wanted to do a make-believe story of what I wanted people to think happened to me.
I know that Pauly Shore is Dead was satirical, but do you really regret the fact that youre known as the 'Wiezel'? Ultimately, it made you a household name all over the world.
It's definitely good and bad. It's good because people know me, and they smile when they see me, but it's bad because I'm typecast. But I'm not giving up. Before MTV and before any of my movies, I was just acting. And I think I'm a really good actor, too.
What else have you been working on?
I have Adopted. It's an 80-minute "mockumentary," sort of like Borat, where I go to South Africa looking for a child to adopt. That should be out next year.
I read that you're interested in playing a dramatic character. What sort of film are you thinking?
I think a romantic comedy would be good; kind of like a mature version of my other movies. Also I'd like to play a bad guy, like an asshole boss or something.
You're on a stand-up tour now. Do you prefer stand-up or film?
I like it all.
What sort of material is in your act?
I talk about my career, my movies, and everything that's going on in the world. I mean, the economy -- obviously, you've got to talk about that. That's the funniest subject of them all. It's all about relating to the people, and then after that you can take them on a ride.
I heard you were a vegetarian. Is that true?
No. I love steak once in a while, just very rarely. I need my protein. Ive got to stock up, you know.
So are you going to munch on some Memphis barbecue while you're here?
Oh, I don't know. I'm kind of sketchy on barbecue right now. Like, the whole ribs and shit, it's kind of hardcore.
Anything else I need to know?
No. Just tell people to come see me. I don't make it to Memphis very often.