Pauly Shore: The Thinking Man’s Comic?
"If my films were so bad, then I wouldn't continuously being doing shows and going out on the road performing for audiences," he says, inflamed over a question about his less-than-stellar critical standing.
"A lot of my audiences aren't there to see me because they know me from my stand-up films, they're there because they know my movies," he says sternly. "So do a little research. Research the television ratings for Son in Law and In The Army Now. Just two weeks ago Son in Law was the highest rated show ever on CMT. So, yes, obviously the films I've done earlier in my career, the critics didn't like them, but there are a lot of people that do like them. You can't lie about ratings."
But the truth is, there is a stigma around Shore, and he's more than aware of it. He lampooned his own reputation in a 2003 independent film, Pauly Shore is Dead, and in his stand-up routines, he's distanced himself from the aloof, ambiguously stoned "Weasel" persona that made him MTV's breakout star in the early '90s.
"A lot of my new material is political," Shore says. "A lot of it about getting older, or relationships, things that people can relate to. It's just not appealing for me to go on stage and do stuff that I was doing 10 or 15 years ago anymore. I'm trying to challenge myself."
Shore is also reaching for a broader audience—perhaps one more sophisticated than CMT viewers who enjoy Son in Law rebroadcasts—with his latest film, Adopted, a Borat-styled ambush mockumentary about Shore attempts to adopt a child in Africa. Though the trailer is rife with racially charged shock humor, with the involvement of young children raising the stakes, the comedy appears noticeably smarter than, say, Bio-Dome.
"It turned out great, especially for the budget and for how many days we shot it in," Shore says of Adopted. "I tried to hit a lot of different angles, so there's definitely some politically incorrect humor in there, because you need that, otherwise it's going to be watered down, but there's also a sweetness to the film, with the kids, and it's got a cute message about celebrity adoption, making fun of the whole trend."
It's the type of movie Shore hopes to continue making.
"I've now gone through this directing process three times, and I'm getting better at it, from coming up with the movie idea, producing it, editing it and releasing it," he says. "I signed with an agency recently that sees Pauly Shore the filmmaker and the producer/director as well as the person in front of the camera, so I'm developing more ideas, some scripted stuff, some things that are a little bit different.
"I'm kind of sick of just playing myself," he says.
Pauly Shore performs at Jokerz Comedy Club at 8 and 10:30 p.m. on Friday, July 17 and Saturday, July 18.