For those of you who don’t know, Shore is a comedian who has been surrounded by comedy his whole life. His mother, Mitzi Shore, founded The Comedy Store and his father, Sammy Shore, was also a comedian. Pauly too decided to follow the comedic path and create a career out of making others laugh.
He was the host of his own television show on MTV, Totally Pauly in the 90s, starred in Encino Man, Bio-Dome, and several other films, and he also has circuited the world doing stand-up comedy. Shore told me about the past, the upcoming performance in Tucson, his infamous pseudonym “The Weasel,” and what we can expect from him looking forward.
What was it like to grow up in a family with parents revolved around the comedy world?
I don’t know, there was no parental supervision around and, you know, my mom was with the comedians, my dad was on the road so, you know, for me I just kind of got to run around and screw off. I never got grounded or any of that stuff.
When did you know you wanted to be a comedian?
When I looked in the mirror.
What was it like trying to break into the comedy market when you were so young?
It was exciting. It was not knowing. Being out there, being vulnerable and not knowing what the hell was going to happen. Not knowing if I was going to hit, not knowing anything. I think, you know, how old are you?
So yeah, that’s like a great age because you don't know. And kind of like when you know and you get your gig whatever it is that you do in life that you realize like, oh shit, this is like my gig, then it slowly secures and, very much pat yourself on the back, and you’re very much kind of like wow I did it … You still have that unknowingness but not as much.
What's the most valuable thing you’ve learned about the comedy business over the years?
I’d have to say, try not to take things personal. But then when you're young … we always take things really personal. I mean, you to kind of just have to realize it’s a business and it’s not personal.
Between hosting a TV show, acting, and doing stand-up, what’s been your favorite part of your career?
I think the unexpected. The hosting, the acting, and the comedy, they all kind of play into each other. It’s not one or the other, they all kind of feed off of each other. You see a lot of comedians kind of do stand up and then they’ll do a movie and then a TV show or a game show. But the main thing is just to try to keep yourself out there. Out of sight out of mind.
Can you tell me a little about “The Weasel” and how that came to be?
It was just something that people called me when I was younger and I kind of just took that and kind of started acting like it and it just developed. It was from my childhood.
What can someone coming to the show at the Rialto Theatre expect?
First of all, they have to be educated on who I am. I know a lot of the kids are college kids and stuff. So, maybe they have seen some of my films like Encino Man or Bio-Dome or some of the kind of cult classics. So, I mean, that’s my style of comedy, just kind of fun and spontaneous and unexpected. It’s not anything that’s kind of rehearsed. I think if you're a fan of that style of comedy, you’ll expect that style of performance.
What are you most looking forward to about performing at Rialto?
Well just coming there, I haven’t been to Tucson in years. I’ve been to Tempe, Scottsdale, all those other places but I’ve been out of the Tucson market for a while. It’s just been a long time, it will be cool and hopefully people will come out. I mean, it’s been at least over 10 years since I’ve been there.
Being from California and a larger comedy market, what do you like about touring to smaller places like Tucson?
Small towns seem to appreciate things a little bit more. They’re less jaded and they're more kind of authentic and more themselves and they don't care as much. People in bigger towns are very aware of their surroundings. The people in the smaller markets, they will show up with flip-flops and shorts and just kind of already have a buzz on, you know what I mean? I might show up with flip-flops and shorts and have a buzz on too, you never know. You got to go with your fans; if the fans are that way then I’ve got to be that way right?
Yeah, just trying to make them feel comfortable right? So obviously you have covered all the comedic bases in your career, but what can we expect from you in the future?
I would say more of the same and then more of new stuff as well. I’ve got different things kind of developing. I’m working on a drama, I’m working on a documentary, and I’m also working on a kind of a hybrid comedy pilot as well. So, I like to do a lot of different things and develop a lot of different things.
Who is your favorite comedian?
Growing up as a kid I’d say Richard Pryor.
Because he was very vulnerable on stage and very sweet and endearing, yet very dirty and nasty as well. I think that it’s important that you connect with the audience, that's the most important thing. All the material and all that other stuff don’t really mean anything unless you’re connecting with them. There’s a lot of comics that go up there and just kind of babble their routine and they’re separated from the audience you know what I mean?
Definitely, so would you say your stand up is more sporadic and not rehearsed?
It’s always different. This time I wanted to do more autobiographical stuff. I’m talking more about my life as a child, but you know I’m going to mix it up.
Performance: Contemporary Photography from the Douglas Nielsen Collection. Presenting more than 100 works from the private collection… More