Grown-up Pauly Shore puts surfer dude to rest

April 17, 2002|By KNIGHT RIDDER/TRIBUNE

The Weas-el is dead, buuuddy. But Pauly Shore lives on.

And like a bad high school yearbook photo, Shore's breakthrough shtick is something he's having a tough time getting most of America to forget -- especially Hollywood.

Shore first gained fame as an early-'90s surfer dude who relied on words like "nugs" and "stoney" to express his endless appreciation for large-breasted women. The king of MTV's spring-break bikini contests eventually crossed over to the big screen, luring thousands of teen-agers to blow their allowances on screwball comedies like Encino Man and Son in Law.

But Shore, 34, sounds less like a surfer and more like the road-weary stand-up comedian he is.

"I'm just me," Shore says. "I'm up there talking about real stuff. ... I get kind of raw, but I keep it real. I go up and flow for an hour, [mess] with people, bring people up on stage. As long as they're laughing and they're into it, it's cool."

Shore points out he's not the first guy in Hollywood to float to fame on a gimmick.

"The Weasel had a good run, but now I'm in the transitional stage of my career," Shore writes. It's a career he likens to those of Tom Hanks, Steve Martin, John Travolta, even this year's Oscar-winning director.

"Look at Ron Howard," Shore says. "He was Opie."

The recent sale of You'll Never Wiez in This Town Again, a mockumentary Shore wrote, directed and starred in, has bolstered his belief that a career turnaround is possible.

The movie is a riff on Shore's life, in which he plays his declining fame for laughs by faking his own death and watching the media declare him a budding comedic genius. It is loaded with cameos, from stars at every level of the Hollywood food chain: Sean Penn, Whoopi Goldberg, Carrot Top, Kato Kaelin, etc.

He expects it to arrive in theaters later this year.

For now, Shore says he doesn't let his status as one of Hollywood's most reliable punch lines get to him.

"You just get through it," he says. "You know that it's just a business and you try not to take things so personal."

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