Pauly Shore Buu-ddies Up to Graffi-ti
Pauly Shore, aka The Weasel, aka Buu-ddy, has grown up. Really he’s trying. OK, not really. He’s 40-years-old and improvising jokes to a girl stage right about biting her arm and masturbating on it “all in one swoop.”
But at least he’s working hard at it, this comedy thing. He’s not resting on his laurels as the host of one of MTV’s all-time most popular shows, “Totally Pauly,” or the series of movies — critically panned, but mostly commercially successful — he strung together in the early ’90s, like “Encino Man,” “Son-in-Law,” and “In the Army Now.”
He’s working, paying his dues — again — and I’m starting to wonder if it’s not getting to him, stressing him out. He’s short with the Funny Bone’s general manager, Troy Winter, when we’re introduced prior to his Huntington show March 28. He’s had some news outlets, like TMZ.com, call him a racist recently, and he’s worried about his new DVD, “Natural Born Komics,” selling.
These days the comedy veteran is touring the country, including a three-night stop in Huntington, doing stand-up routines and promoting his new DVD. That this promotion got him several threats is almost irrelevant. Afterall, I’m writing this article aren’t I? You’re reading this, aren’t you? Yup, for whatever reason, people are talking about Pauly Shore again.
The promotion, er prank, is, in hindsight, something only Pauly Shore could pull off without most of the major news media erupting into flames (honestly, it’s been a while since Pauly’s been an ‘A,’ ‘B’ or even ‘C’ list celebrity). Still, when I found out I was interviewing the Weasel before his first show in Huntington the first thing a friend said to me was, “you know he’s a racist don’t you?”
Here’s the set-up: Pauly’s sprawled out on a chair, in a hotel maybe, obviously on drugs, the video claims, and riffing on black comedians. If he was black, he reasons, he’d be a successful comedian.
“Charlie Murphy? You know who he is? He’s funny because he’s (black),” Shore says in the clip, which so far has solicited a mere 20,794 views on YouTube.
The hope, Shore explains during his stand-up routine and, later, in the Funny Bone’s business office in between sets, was that he would make this initial clip to get people talking about him again. Then he’d follow up with another video with several black comedians — including Charlie Murphy — expressing their love for Pauly and telling viewers they were punked by the first clip.
“A lot of black people, most are not my fans,” Shore says in his routine. “So I get a hold of Puff Daddy … who says to go after black comedians. So Puffy e-mails (the first clip) to hip-hop sites and he’s getting hate mail and I’m thinking of Michael Richards’ career.”
Later, after the first set, Shore says he’s a little relieved the media didn’t catch onto the clip.
“I was kind of happy it didn’t go bigger, you know? I was surprised it didn’t go bigger. I thought it’d go into the news on TV,” Shore says, leaning back in the office chair, his black “Paulywood,” trucker hat slouched to the side.
I was scheduled to meet Pauly at 7 p.m., 30 minutes before the show was to start, for a brief interview. My girlfriend and I waited outside the ticket booth for the club’s manager, who was to usher us to Mr. Shore for the interview. Five minutes passed. Then 10. Then 15. I’m guessing the interview won’t happen. Soon, it’s 7:37 and Shore, the club manager, and another person are walking past us. My girlfriend gets excited — she thinks Shore’s cute. I think he’s smaller than I expected and we joke that I could take him, since I’m a good 140 pounds soaking wet.
The manager finds me some minutes later and takes the two of us and another girl, Rachel, to meet Shore. We walk in the office and he’s on the phone, putting the finishing touches on the second clip, set to be released on YouTube in a few days.
Pauly signs a bowl Rachel had with her for the Empty Bowls charity and tells her to market the bowl as a relic from “Encino Man.” The club manager introduces me and Pauly snaps at him that he doesn’t have time to meet with me.
“After the show,” he tells me, patting my shoulder and walking out of the office.
We go to a table and watch Shore’s routing from the balcony. The routine’s funnier than I expected. Shore calls Huntington the “8-track of cities,” before moving on to make fun of himself — “I look like John McEnroe” — the Olsen twins, Britney Spears and Owen Wilson. He tells a story about his neighbor, Wes Craven, suing him. He interacts with the audience. Most of his jokes revolve around sex, explicit sex. Several are sprinkled with Pauly buzz words like, “crusty.” He compliments one woman on her boobs, after suggesting she tried to grab his crotch. Everyone’s laughing. The audience loves him. It’s all very surreal, perhaps needless to say.
The show ends and my girlfriend and I wait around for Pauly to finish selling merch and signing autographs. He walks past us, again touching my on the shoulder and promising to meet with me later. Again, five minutes pass. Then 10. Then 15. Someone from the Funny Bone tells me there’s now a 50 percent chance he will even meet with me. I’m beginning to think Pauly Shore’s going to bail on me — again. I call a friend and ask him how long I should wait before I can, in good conscience, write that Pauly Shore blew me off. He says a few more minutes.
Then Troy, the club manager, grabs me, tells me I have five minutes. I sit down with Pauly, open my notebook and take out my recorder. He looks tired and suddenly not as spry and energetic as he was onstage. He’s drinking a water. He says, believe it or not, this is a vacation for him. He says, believe it or not, he won’t be hitting the bars later.
“I’m just going to chill out, get some sleep, relax and focus on promotions of the DVD and working my stunt that I pulled,” he says. “I’ll go to the gym tomorrow, eat good food and relax. Mostly relax. I’m not going to go out and drink or go to bars or anything like that,” Shore says.
During our interview, he takes two phone calls and another text, interrupting my questions each time. I get frustrated and stop asking questions after about four. Obviously getting this second video out — the one clarifying that he is, in fact, not racist — seems to be a top priority. As it should be.
But then it happens. We’re talking about the video and he asks me if I’d like to see it. I, of course, say yea. He struggles for five minutes to get the video to work. I tell him not to worry about it, I’ll catch it Monday. And then he grabs my heart with his best line all night.
“Nah, man. I want you to be the first to see it,” he says.
OK, so I’m a sucker. And apparently an idiot, because after the clip I ask him whether he really had this plan all along or whether he said those inflamatory remarks — and meant them — and is now scrambling for spin control.
And he does it again.
“Nah, man. I had the plan all along.”
It wasn’t much this time. But it was enough. He could have tore me down after I basically called him a racist — and a liar. But he was polite and nice and gentle with his response. He even went on to pose in two pictures — using a vacuum cleaner as a prop — with me and my girlfriend.
And that’s when I realized I really did like Pauly Shore, even if he put me off twice for an interview and spent most of said interview preoccupied. Afterall, he’s a busy man now, right? He’s got to get paid so he can get some munchey, munchey, munchies.
Contact Justin at firstname.lastname@example.org