Many people remember Pauly Shore as the popular early '90s MTV personality and film comedy star, but before he dubbed himself “The Weasel,” he was a stand-up comedian. Shore is set to return to Buffalo for four shows at Helium Comedy Club on Dec. 16 and 17.
You might even say Shore was born with stand-up comedy in his blood. His father, Sammy Shore, started the legendary Los Angeles stand-up venue, the Comedy Store, in 1972. After his parents divorced, mother Mitzi Shore took over management and ownership of the club. During his childhood, Pauly Shore saw some of comedy’s biggest names start and boost their careers at the Comedy Store, including Robin Williams, Jay Leno, David Letterman, Sam Kinison and Garry Shandling.
“My whole life has been a two-drink minimum,” Shore said of his childhood spent at the Comedy Store during a recent phone interview. “At the time it was normal, but when you look back on it, it was kind of weird. It was cutting edge.”
While Shore’s siblings went on to other careers, comedy was on Pauly’s mind early on.
“For me, it was just one of those things that was in my system,” he said. “It’s my happy place. (The stage) is where I feel the most comfortable.”
Even though his mother owned the Comedy Store, Shore’s first time on stage was at another club. He felt that he would catch a lot of flack from other comedians by being Mitzi’s son, so he tried to establish his own career before performing at the Store. By the time he was booked at the Store, Shore admits he didn’t do well and his set gradually progressed from jokes to dancing. Mitzi, sitting in the audience with Paul Mooney and Louie Anderson, called out, “Stick with the dancing!”
It’s clear that Shore still treats the Comedy Store as hallowed ground.
“That’s how it is for most comics,” he said. “It’s like our sanctuary. It’s got the soul.”
Shore eventually evolved his stand-up persona into “The Weasel,” a surfer-type dude. As the New York-based channel MTV expanded its presence on the West Coast, Shore was hired as a VJ in 1989 and became an immediate star. Shore began hosting memorable live shoots on Spring Break and starred in several '90s comedies, including “Encino Man,” “Son-in-Law” and “Bio-Dome.”
“A lot of this business is timing,” Shore said of his breakthrough on MTV. “It’s like when a band hits. MTV needed me, someone from the West Coast (and) I was the first VJ to take my character out on the streets.”
Many of Shore’s movies are finding new audiences on Netflix. He’s also branching out with podcasts like “Pauly Shore’s Random Rants” and sketches on "Funny or Die." He’s working on a new web series for Crackle and was cast in Adam Sandler’s new Netflix film.
Shore already is planning his next tour beginning in February 2017 and will visit many cities in middle America, where he notes a lot of his fanbase is located. He’s even thinking about announcing the tour with a press conference in Missouri.
“(I’ll call it) Fly Over Pauly,” he said. “I’m like Pauly Trump.”
Who: Pauly Shore
Where: Helium Comedy Club, 30 Mississippi St.
When: 7:30 and 10 p.m. Dec. 16-17