Stage & Dance

Pauly Shore takes pride in redefining himself

Pauly Shore today looks nothing like the surfer/stoner dude he portrayed in the 1990s.
Pauly Shore today looks nothing like the surfer/stoner dude he portrayed in the 1990s.

They say a shark must keep moving to survive. Turns out, the same philosophy holds true for "The Weasel."

But Pauly Shore wouldn't necessarily have to do that if he wanted to be remembered because he's already made a lasting impression on pop culture. Shore's larger-than-life So-Cal surfer/stoner persona (complete with his own dude-speak and catchphrase "Hey, buddy") made him a breakout star as an MTV VJ through the early '90s, and the character later made appearances in film comedies like Encino Man, Son in Law and Bio-Dome.

Shore, 44, has had time to reflect on his fame and appreciate the adoration and whirlwind success The Weasel helped spawn.

"It was like Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. I got a golden ticket," Shore said. "It was a dream for any kid. I like girls, I like rock 'n' roll and I like TV, and I got all of it."

While Shore might have had it all in the '90s, he wasn't fully able to hold on to it. With the exception of his status as a frequent guest at the Playboy Mansion and the occasional cameo appearance, the world didn't see or hear a lot from Shore as we entered a new millennium. But throughout the peaks and valleys of his career, stand-up comedy has been a constant pursuit. It was how Shore got started, and even when he was playing a bonehead soldier in silly flicks like In The Army Now, he was finding time to pop into a comedy club and grab the microphone.

Within the past decade, Shore said his stand-up comedy, coupled with his film projects, is some of the work he's most proud of. In 2003, Shore wrote, directed, produced and starred in the mockumentary Pauly Shore Is Dead, in which Shore fakes his death to resurrect his career. It not only served as a comic commentary on the nature of death, success and celebrity, it was Shore's first step in redefining himself.

"It was me looking personally at the past 10 to 15 years of my career and making fun of it but also trying to reach a new audience," Shore said. "The problem is I have a persona and a taste in people's mouth. It's like being rocky road (ice cream) and they want mint chocolate chip, and I'm like, this is mint chocolate chip."

Starring as himself and being the creative force behind his projects, Shore later released similar mockumentary-style films that served as social satire (2009's Adopted, in which Shore goes to Africa to adopt a child a la Madonna and Angelina Jolie) or were done for kicks (2011's Showtime special Vegas Is My Oyster).

Now, in his stand-up and his latest film project, Shore takes on Capitol Hill in the part mockumentary, part stand-up special, Pauly~Tics (available for $5 download on Election Day).

"You wouldn't associate Pauly Shore with politics, but that's what I'm into," he said. "I'm entertained because these people are so full of (expletive). It's just my take on it. It's the way I see it. It's not a point of view, it's having fun."

And Shore certainly will be having a good time when he comes back to Lexington to perform Sunday at Comedy Off Broadway. In a wardrobe suitable for K Street, Shore is comic-in-chief and poking fun at both ends of the political spectrum. He said he'll do it with punch lines and, in true Weasel style, a few original tunes, like the rap song Obama Got Osama or the dance track Political Party Rock.

Hard-core fans of Shore's brand of humor need not fret. The Weasel they know and love hasn't gone anywhere, but with his new stand-up and film projects, it might be the happiest Shore you've seen yet.

"I'm proud of myself because I went outside my comfort zone," he said. "At the end of the day, it's all about the work."