Pauly Shore was destined to work in the family business: comedy

Comedian Pauly Shore of “Encino Man” and “Totally Pauly.”
Comedian Pauly Shore of “Encino Man” and “Totally Pauly.” Invision/AP

Some may raise an eyebrow upon discovering that Pauly Shore is working on a documentary of his life. However, the star of such critically drubbed films as “Bio-Dome” and “Encino Man” has had a fascinating existence.

The comic-actor, who turned 50 earlier this month, grew up in a surreal environment in Los Angeles. His mother, Mitzi Shore, was the owner of the legendary Comedy Store. During the ’70s, a who’s who of comedy not only played Shore’s club but hung out at her house.

“What would be surreal for you was normal for me,” Shore says while calling from his Los Angeles home. “I would have comics like Richard Pryor and Richard Belzer over. That was just the way it was for me. It would be like if your mother had her friends over, that was your normal. It was just that my mom had these legendary figures come by but they weren’t legends to me as a kid.”

Such late iconic comics as Pryor and Sam Kinison had a huge impact on Pauly Shore. Kinison mentored Shore and allowed him to open for him.

“Sam was incredible,” Shore said. “I can’t say enough about him. He would be great today if he was around. I don’t want to say Dave Chappelle is the new Sam Kinison, but like Sam he says what he wants and won’t do anything he doesn’t want to do. But when I was growing up, you knew that there was something different about Sam and Richard Pryor.”

When Shore hit as an MTV VJ during the early ’90s, he hosted the unpredictable show “Totally Pauly.” He interviewed an ailing Pryor, which was a rare poignant MTV episode. “It was so cool since I grew up with Richard,” Shore recalled. “There was never anyone quite like him. I remember the response when he came into the Comedy Store, and then there was what he did onstage.”

Shore knew as a teen that he would work in the family business. “I was always funny with friends and at school,” Shore says. “It was a natural thing for me. I would joke around. I would breakdance. I just liked to entertain.”

When Shore appears Feb. 19, at Goodnights, he’ll go back to some of the wilder and funny moments during his 30-plus year career. “I talk a lot about the white elephant in the room, which is my older films,” Shore says. “It’s difficult not to mention them. I talk about being 50. A lot of my stuff is relatable. It’s fun talking about sex, relationships and a little politics.”

Shore, who was also know as “The Weasel” during his salad days, is arguably at his best when he’s in the moment. “I love to mess with the audience,” Shore said. “That’s when I have the most fun. I also just like to flow up there.”

When Shore looks at the comedic landscape, he says two figures tower above the rest, the aforementioned Chappelle and Chris Rock.

“It’s good for the millennials to have someone who is as brilliant as Chappelle and Chris Rock,” Shore says. “Other comics are good but they’re not at the level of Chappelle and Chris Rock. They’re really good at what they do.”

Shore can’t believe what MTV, which is far different than his VJ days, has become. “It’s like night and day from when I was part of it,” Shore said. “I’m not in charge of programming but it would be different if I had a say.”

Shore has changed as well over the years. “I think I’ve matured,” Shore says. “But I still like to have fun. Right now I’m having fun with stand-up and I’m enjoying looking back at this career. I’m enjoying working on this (documentary). I want to share with the world all that I’ve experienced. You have to see it to believe it.”


Who: Pauly Shore

When: 7 p.m. Feb. 19

Where: Goodnights, 861 W. Morgan St., Raleigh

Cost: $25

Info: goodnightscomedy.com or 919-828-5233