Pauly Shore’s movie career is long dead but Pauly Shore himself? At age 43, he’s still very much alive, his 2003 mockumentary “Pauly Shore is Dead” notwithstanding.
He’s primarily doing stand-up for a living, with occasional Showtime specials thrown in for good measure. “I’m very fortunate I can go on the road and people still want to see me,” he said, 15 years after “Bio-Dome.” “I never really went away. They took the movies away from me. But they didn’t take me away from me.”
Shore, who is going to do a single show at the Punchline Wednesday July 20, said he went through cycles of anger and resentment over capricious Hollywood more than a decade ago. But now he says he looks at his life as a cup half full, not half empty. “I don’t compare myself to others in the business,” he said. “I look at what I have compared to what I don’t have.”
The comic talked to me while in Daytona Beach, Fla., which brought him back two decades to his days with MTV and covering spring break. “It was crazy, dude,” he said. “I’m on the beach and saw this car drive down the sand. I had a flashback.”
But no, the memory he chose to tell me wasn’t some sexual encounter with a hot coed. Instead, he said he remember working with the legendary comic Rodney Dangerfield on a bit. And Dangerfield left him with this image seared into his brain forever: “He answered the door once in a robe and his 70-year-old [junk] was hanging out.”
He admits being “obnoxious and self righteous and arrogant” back in the day. He’s far humbler now. “I’m not motivated by money,” he said. “I’m motivated by the work. That’s all I think about and that’s probably why I don’t have a girlfriend. If I had a girlfriend, I’d be thinking about all the stuff I want to create.” (He said he does have an ex-girlfriend in Atlanta named Katie. “She’s a nice person,” he noted.)
Shore’s stand-up is sprinkled with autobiographical tidbits from his wacky life. His goal is to make sure the fans leave the show learning something about him.
While in the past, his travels involved the fame, the partying, the ladies, his current tours now involve more mundane activities: “I watch CNN. I go to the gym. I look for a Whole Foods.”
Shore has done one-off dates with the Punchline every so often for the past 15 years. “It’s a freaking old mitt,” he said, of the 29-year-old club. “It’s worn in but in a good way. I’m glad Atlanta has kept that room going.”
He knows comedy clubs well. His dad was a stand-up Sammy Shore. He opened the legendary Comedy Store in West Hollywood in 1972, when Pauly was four years old. His mom Mitzi soon took over. “I cut the ribbon, bro!” he said. (He may have grown up, but he still dangles the familial “bro” at the end of sentences.)
The Comedy Store is operating. “I called it the Emerald City of comedy,” he said. TBS even tried a reality show in 2005 about the comedy club called “Minding the Store” in which Shore was prominently featured but it lasted only a single season. Was he disappointed? He hedged: “I just do my thing, keep moving. I don’t know. I just do the best I can with everything I can.”
Chris DiPetta, who runs the Punchline, remembers Shore from his early days as a promising stand-up, how his unusual cadences and ways of telling jokes made him stand out. “The kid was around every comic in the world growing up,” he said. “Richard Pryor. Sam Kinison. They babysat him. He never had a chance to be normal.”
DiPetta said there was a time when Shore wouldn’t do some of his old characters like the Weasel. Now he’s more pragmatic. “He realized this is what people want to see,” DiPetta said. “He knows where his bread is buttered.”
Shore’s latest TV project is an upcoming Showtime special debuting August 5 called “Vegas Is My Oyster,” a spoof of an old-time variety show with stand-up comics, sketches and musicians. It was taped in Vegas in January and features former Charlie Sheen goddess and porn star Bree Olson, resident train wreck Andy Dick, musician Dave Navarro and fellow 1990s-era comic Tom Green.
“It’s the biggest thing I’ve done through my production company,” he said. “It’s a monster. The backdrop is the porn awards. It’s music. It’s girls. It’s stand-up. It’s scripted but looks like reality.”
Note: this trailer for “Vegas is My Oyster” is a bit raunchy and the special itself is rated MA:
280 Hildrebrand Dr., Atlanta
Wednesday, 8 p.m. July 20, 2011
Buy tickets at www.punchline.com