Pauly Shore on Stephen Baldwin, Timothy McVeigh and The Weasel
Yes, yes, we all know him as The Weasel, the speech-impaired, blank-eyed wonderboy who confused parents and enthused Gen X-ers in films like Encino Man, Son in Law and Bio-Dome. But Pauly Shore's revival as a standup comedian is more than just a '90s novelty act: Descended from Mitzi Shore, owner of the iconic Comedy Store in Los Angeles, and mentored by such legendary comics as Sam Kinison, Pauly Shore has comedy credentials that extend far beyond catchphrases like "wheeze the juice" and "what's up baaaahdy?"
We caught up with Pauly Shore in advance of his performances at The Denver Improv this week. And after informing us that his dad, Sammy Shore, an L.A. comic who used to open for Elvis, will be opening for him here, Shore filled us in on what he's been up to over the last couple of decades, chatting about politics, Stephen Baldwin's bizarre descent into money-grubbing evangelism, and how he's come to terms with his past as an Icarus-like superstar.
Westword: I'm curious: What did you make of your Bio-Dome co-star, Steven Baldwin, coming out with his big evangelica, anti-pot, Restore Steven campaign?
Pauly Shore: I haven't heard about that, when did he start this?
A few years ago. He started appearing on cable news coming out against pot legalization. And then he had a big online campaign asking for money to prove the liberal media wrong about . . . something. I believe his campaign said that Steven went broke because the liberal media hates Christians.
We gotta go down there and donate. We gotta restore him, bro. Like the six million dollar man, right?
What do you make of him coming out as anti-pot after starring with you in an iconic drug movie?
I think it's good, because Steven Baldwin, in his personal life, was going down the wrong path. He's an excess guy, he's a guy that needs to have something. So if he's not doing drugs and drinking, this is his new excess. It's good, it's positive -- it's a little extreme, but that's better than the alternative.
It seems like the Weasel character you created was one of the first signs of vintage fashion in the early '90s.
It's interesting. All the old styles end up coming back -- I brought it back, and then it came back again through LMFAO, or whatever. Hip-hop, rock and roll, every style ends up coming back. Look at Ke$ha, she's very '90s.
Where were you shopping at the time when you picked all that up?
My mom's closet.
Speaking of your mom, growing up in The Comedy Store, I assume you were exposed to all levels of good and bad comedy -- did that give you a different perspective on standup than someone who had only watched comics from the crowd would have?
Yeah, for sure. I mean, I was four when she started it, so it was the '70s and '80s. So in the seventies you had Redd Foxx, and in the '80s it was Richard Pryor and Sam Kinison, and Dice and Roseanne. And now I'm older looking back on it, and I'm like, fuck, that was crazy.
Were the other comics cynical about you getting into standup considering who your parents were?
They're still cynical about me.
Well, I assume they're cynical about you now for a different reason: You had huge success as a Hollywood star. But I'm wondering if they thought of you as a fortunate son going into comedy when you were a teenager.
Yeah, it's a similar situation with a lot of kids who grow up like that, like Charlie Sheen or Angelina [Jolie], Lenny Kravitz or Nicolas Cage. It's interesting in that when you grow up in those households, you have two obstacles to overcome: the first is just making it, period, and then you go, "Ah shit, how am I going make it being known as so-and-so's son or nephew?" You know what I mean? And those obstacles make you work twice as hard.