Comedian Pauly Shore
Comedian Pauly Shore
Photo courtesy of Kenneth Reed

Pauly Shore Is Alive And Making Documentaries

The Weasel is back, and he’s… matured? Once simply a stereotypical surfer BUDDY, the stand-up comedian has evolved into an acclaimed writer, director, producer and host – hopefully while maintaining the silliness that people initially loved him for.

Shore, who will be doing three nights of headlining at the Joke Joint Comedy Showcase, says that his act now suits just about all his fans: “I’m more relatable, more laid back, less persona. I don’t know, you know? But [I’m] still the same guy I was several years ago. People go to the show, they get the old stuff but they get the new stuff too.”

Even though when Shore’s on the street, people love to yell movie quotes at him (“All the films – Son
in Law
, Bio-Dome, The Goofy Movie!”) or imitate his iconic beach bum voice (for the record, Shore says his opener Sandy Danto does him best), the comic is really pleased people still get a kick out of him. “I’m happy that it’s all lasted and has gotten a new audience because of Hulu and Netflix and Amazon and all that stuff,” he admits. “I get people all the time saying, ‘Oh I turned my kids on to Encino Man’ or something like that, so… it’s pretty cool.”

As part of a legendary comedy family, young Pauly always estimated that joking was in his blood. “I’ve been around it since I was 4 years old,” he claims. “My family owns the Comedy Store on Sunset, my mom started that in 1972. My dad [Sammy Shore] is a comedian. And I’ve been doing that since, you know, I was 17. But I’ve been around it since I was born.”

Despite plenty of competition, the Store has remained a comedy landmark and even serves as the inspiration for the Showtime series I’m Dying Up Here, starring Melissa Leo as a fictionalized version of Shore’s mother, Mitzi. On the series, Shore is candid: “It’s not my story. It’s Jim Carrey’s version of the book’s version of the story. I kind of look at it two ways, I look at it as “Is this show good?” And I think it’s alright, it’s not bad, you know? I like shows from the 70s. Then I look at it from a personal thing, and I don’t know… like, if you see a UFO, everyone kind of looks at it a little differently. So, you know, that’s there version of it, you know?”

Shore is quick to clarify his respect for Carrey, naming him as one of his favorite performers, along with “classics” David Letterman, Robin Williams, Richard Pryor, Eddie Murphy and Houston’s own Sam Kinison. The larger than life Houstonian, who died in a road fatality back in 1992, was even Shore’s mentor for a minute when he just started doing stand-up.  “Sam came into my life when I was 15 years old, and that age, you don’t know anything. His career was on the up and up, and I just clung to him, you know? I followed him around and everywhere I went, I was like a shadow to him. I wouldn’t stop bugging him. You know? And finally, he took me under his wing and took me on the road. And I opened for him for a while, when I was first starting out.”

As much as the 49-year-old loves his career in front of a microphone, his recent forays into filmmaking have changes his life. “For 15 years, every couple years I put something out and I’m able to kind of produce, direct, finance and create my own stuff that I’ve been doing for a while now. Pauly Shore is Dead was kind of the first, it was the beginning part of the second part of my career, where I’m producing, directing, putting out my own things. I’ve done it now for many years, and its kind of what I do now. Then, once in a while, I’ll pop up in other people’s things. But mostly, I just do my own thing because you can kind of control it more. The problem is when you hop in other people’s things, you don’t know how its gonna be edited, or how its gonna be produced - the sound, the music, the lights, the graphics. It might be totally lame. But if you control it, you can control how that looks.”

As an alternative, the filmmaker is even developing a new project based around his life that touches on the true roots of the Comedy Store. “It’s really difficult to do a documentary. There are different styles of documentary, different ways to tell stories. It’s part of the challenge, and its part of the reward. At the end of the day it will be great. I think it’s gonna do really well for me, and that people will really like it. When people see it, they’re gonna be blown away. I’ve been working on it for about 4 years and we’re just kind of finishing up. Looking for a home for it.”

Beyond the realm of the creative, Shore has been dabbling with the world of podcasting and hosting his own video companion series on Crackle. “I like being an interviewer,” he says. “When you interview people everything is off of you and on to them. So its totally a different focus than when you are being interviewed. I’ve been interviewed for so long, it really nice to interview other people.”

With top shelf guests like Judd Apatow, Chris Kattan, and Iliza Shlesinger, what’s Pauly’s pick for the best episode to check out? “The Bob Saget one is a pretty good. I have the history with a lot of these comics, so the way I kind of approach the interviews is a little different than most people. Most people that interview people don’t know ‘em, they don’t have history with ‘em. I’m able to get stuff out of these people that other people can’t get out of them.”

Shore credits his talents to something larger than himself. “Comedy, you don’t choose it. It chooses you,” he lays bare. “It’s one of those things that just in your system. It’s something that I have to do all the time. That why I’m in Iowa right now, doing shows. I’m always doing shows. It’s cool. I walk on stage - people are excited to see me. It’s a pretty nice feeling.”

Performances are scheduled for 8 p.m. on Tuesday, November 7 through Thursday, November 9 at 11460 Fuqua. For more information, visit jokejointcomedyshowcase.com or call 281-481-1188. $25-30.

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