Though '90s SoCal stoner-bro Pauly Shore (Bio-Dome, Son in Law, Encino Man) no longer rules the multiplex, he never stopped performing. The former MTV star and crown prince of stand-up royalty—mom Mitzi founded LA's famed Comedy Store—still tours the world and continues to expand on a daunting filmography.
His show at Helium coincides with week one of WW's Classic Comedy Month—four weeks of appreciation for old-school standup, slapstick and otherwise non-cerebral comedy that often gets overlooked in favor of alt-comedy and narrative standup. WW talked with the once and future "Weasel" about his rarefied upbringing, local relations and a star-crossed career.
WW: Did you make a conscious effort to step back from films?
Pauly Shore: I don't know if it was conscious. I mean, I had a good run doing what I did, you know? All my stars lined up. I was on MTV. I was in the movies, HBO specials, albums, everything. Whatever it was that I did…you can only do that for so long, you know? So, I had a good run, and, ever since then, I've been doing my own thing. I have a new series [The Pauly Shore Podcast Show] that just came out on Crackle-—basically like a talk show where I interview different celebrities and comedians. A lot of people that I interview (like Bob Saget or Judd Apatow or Dexter from The Offspring), I mean, they're loved by the world, and that's why I wanted to sit down with them. I'm always getting interviewed, it was nice for me to interview other people, you know what I mean? It's not about me. It's about other people, and I like that.
Were you performing throughout your career?
I never stopped doing standup. I started when I was 17 years old. I'm 49 now, so that's like 30 years, you know? I love to go out and meet people. I'm always touring. If you look on my website, go under tour dates, and you can see all the different places. My act's always changing because I'm always changing. I definitely talk about my appearance because, I mean, the people that are coming to see me mostly remember me with the hair and all that stuff. I acknowledge that and then break into some observational stuff—just everyday stuff that everyone goes through in their 40s.
You've played Portland before. Any memories?
People in Portland, they're all about the trees and the nature. They like to smoke marijuana and wanna be left alone. My brother lives up there, so I come up once in a while to visit. We went to the…Timbers game? With the chainsaws and the lumberjack? The guy makes the goal, and they cut the tree.
At what point did you want to be in show business?
Um, I don't know. It was something I grew up around from my mom and dad. It was around me at a young age and, you know, makes me happy. It makes me happy to make people happy.
Has the industry changed?
There's more people just because of social media. Everyone feels they can do standup, but, you know, it's a grind. The bad ones fall by the wayside. The good ones keep going, and, eventually, if they're in the right place at the right time, they'll get noticed. At the end of the day, funny's funny—whether you do it in the '70s or '80s or '90s or now. I bump into a lot of comedians who look at me and start smiling because they remember watching me on MTV when they were younger. It's nice to inspire them, you know? You have to pay it forward. That's what this life's about, right?
SEE IT: Pauly Shore is at Helium Comedy Club, 1510 SE 9th Ave., portland.heliumcomedy.com. 7:30 and 10 pm Friday-Saturday, June 2-3. $25. 21+.