Pauly Shore

You knew him as the Weizel, but that guy’s (mostly) long gone. The comedian talks to us about growing up, being famous and wearing a Speedo on the beach

Perhaps most famous for creating the Weizel, his over-the-top comedic persona in the early 1990s, Pauly Shore rose to fame hosting MTV spring break parties and starring in stoner comedies. As the son of stand-up comedian Sammy Shore and the Comedy Store owner Mitzi Shore, Pauly was born into a performing family and started writing and performing stand-up at 17. He enjoyed a rapid rise to success with the MTV generation and a string of box office hits, including Jury Duty and Son in Law. Although not as popular as he was at the height of his Weizel days, he has continued to tour, and wrote and produced the film Pauly Shore Is Dead. He is filming a cable television special, Pauly Shore’s Vegas Is My Oyster, at the Palms on Jan. 9 with appearances by Dave Navarro, Andy Dick and Tom Green.

Is there a special attraction to Las Vegas for you?

It represents freedom, partying and good times. It’s basically that one place in the world where, for some reason, girls just want to take their tops off. You bring a girl to Nebraska and she’s not going to take her top off, and then you take her to Vegas and she’s ready. That’s the vibe I want to create for the show. Not taking the tops off, but just a fun, wild vibe.

What is your favorite Vegas memory?

Probably opening for Sam Kinison when the Comedy Store was at the Dunes many years ago. Being part of that time when I first started doing stand-up, it was a pretty cool time because Sam Kinison was my idol. It was the late 1980s, it was rock ’n’ roll, Billy Idol and crazy strippers. It was that kind of time. I was new and I was like, “Oh, my God, I’m in Vegas and I’m 21 and I can drink.”

How has your comedy changed?

I think it’s stripped-down Pauly. I think it’s Pauly without the “ehhhhh.” I bring the Weiz out every once and a while because it’s silly, but that’s not how my stand-up is anymore. You also don’t want to bite the hand that feeds you. You don’t want to go up there and have people ask, “What is he trying to do?” There’s definitely part of the Weiz in me, and it’ll be in me forever. It’s almost like the Beach Boys—just because they’re older now doesn’t mean they don’t do “Da Do Run Run.”

Do you regret creating the Weizel?

No, because it’s one of those things that you have to look at the glass half-full instead of half-empty. I was with Tom Green the other night, and we’re both in a similar situation where people know us for a certain thing, but then I say we’re lucky people even know us. In life that goes with everyone and every job. You have to look at what you have as opposed to what you don’t have. I’m just fortunate that I’m still continuously passionate about coming up with stuff and putting stuff out there. A lot of people want to get in the business because they want to be famous and that should not be where people come from. They should come because they’re passionate about the work and then all the other stuff comes with it.

Did growing up in comedy make it harder for you?

At the end of the day, when you have your back up against the wall in life, that’s kind of where you either step up or fall down. Everyone knew that my mom owned the Comedy Store and that my dad was a comedian, and it made it harder for me to overcome that. Most people go onstage and they’re just people, but I would go onstage and people would say, “Oh, his mom owns the place,” or, “His dad is a comedian and that’s how he got into it,” so it’s almost like when you watch Charlie Sheen on Two and a Half Men you think his dad got him into the business, but he’s doing it himself.

What are you most proud of?

I would say Pauly Shore Is Dead. It was one of those things where I fell off my bike emotionally and career-wise, and I was proud of myself that I was able to make fun of the situation. I wasn’t popular anymore and I could poke fun at myself and to me that was the beginning part of the second part of my career. I wrote it and directed it all myself.

Do you have a time when you’re most happy?

When I’m onstage, or when I’m on the beach on a private island wearing my Speedo and listening to good music.

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