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Pauly Shore

Shore leave

"Everywhere I go, people know who I am. Everywhere Ethan Hawke goes, no one knows who the fuck he is."

Pauly Shore is, of course, the star of such movies as Encino Man, Son In Law, Jury Duty, In The Army Now and Bio-Dome. He also appeared in the short-lived Fox sitcom Pauly and on countless MTV shows, and he's released several comedy albums. A few months ago, while on the road doing stand-up, Shore spoke to The Onion about his past, present, and future.

The Onion: For the sake of informing the uninitiated, tell me a little bit about your live act. What exactly is it that you do?

Pauly Shore: It's, uh, brilliant. I mean, that's definitely the first word that comes to my mind. It's moving, it's insinurating. Is that a word? Insinurating? [No. —ed.] It's kind of like Cats, you know? People leave, and they're basically, like, shaking. I've never seen such a talent.

O: So you're doing a lot of stand-up.

PS: That's what happens when your show gets canceled. You've gotta hit the road, start over. Right?

O: Well, let's talk—

PS: [Mocking.] Let's talk about that show!

O: Oh, we're gonna talk about it.

PS: I'm sure we are. You guys love to talk about things that fail. It's fun!

O: Well, we'll talk about your success first. Talk about the stand-up stuff. What kind of material are you covering?

PS: Well, the best part about stand-up is that you control everything. Period. When you work in movies, or on TV shows, there are 50 other people involved. And it's hard, man. They brainwash you to think you're doing the right thing. They tell you, "This is really good," but they don't fuckin' know. No one knows. And that's what happened with the show, you know? And the reality is that the show was really good. But the real reality is that it wasn't perfect. It wasn't right, it wasn't like a home run. But if you compare it to, like, The Single Guy or Urkel, I think it's a little more entertaining. But I just think Fox didn't give it the chance it deserved. And that's kind of the bottom line.

O: How many episodes did it get?

PS: Well, we filmed seven, and they aired five. That's actually a record for them, because usually they pull shows after one or two episodes. But it's kind of an exciting time right now. After I found out about my show, I separated from my manager and my agent after eight years, which was really hard. And now I've got no representation, just out on a limb, just chillin' out from everything, you know? I've been on a roll for eight years, and I want to just chill out and enjoy everything, and not be like, "Oh my god, what's my next thing?" I know I'll make it, and I know I have talent, and I've done really well so far, but for a while I think I just want to do stand-up and enjoy myself.

O: Well, there were a lot of people who said, when Encino Man came out, "Oh, this'll be the first and last Pauly Shore movie."

PS: Well, whatever. People should stop poking fun at other people and worry about themselves. The reality is that my movies all have made money—it helps that they've all cost under $10 million—and a lot of people liked them. Blacks and Mexicans loved Jury Duty. Little kids loved Bio-Dome. The mainstream liked Son In Law. You know what I mean? They are what they are, and hopefully when I'm 50, I'll look back on them and I'll have done so many other things that are more critically acclaimed. It's part of a 30- to 40-year career, which I'll hopefully have.

O: You mentioned critics. I've read tons and tons of reviews of your movies, and I don't think I've ever seen one that said anything nice about you. Have you ever gotten a positive review?

PS: Yeah, I have, here and there. You know, like in Tulsa. [Laughs.] No, it's interesting. Usually, I don't care, but the reality of what happens is that it slowly brainwashes everyone. And Hollywood slowly starts to get brainwashed by it, and they stop offering you movies. They don't want to be embarrassed by being involved with someone who isn't happening and cool at the time. But I never made the movies for the critics; I've done the best I could with the material and the directors and the actors I had. But the thing that's really exciting is that once I do that one project that's different, that stands out, everyone's gonna be watching. Unlike fuckin' Ethan Hawke, you know, where if he did a different role, no one would care about it. You know, I'm a star, dude. Period. That's the reality. Everywhere I go, people know who I am. Everywhere Ethan Hawke goes, no one knows who the fuck he is. And it's up to me to put in the work and the time to do something different. That's why I'm taking the time and just chilling out.