Born of comic royalty and raised among giants of Los Angeles stand-up comedy and rock n’ roll, Pauly Shore created a hybrid personae of both genres – with the essence of surfer/stoner lingo for good measure – and became a sensation of the bourgeoning MTV era as a VJ (1989 to 1994), a film star (“Encino Man”) and as an ace stand-up. Thirty years later, Shore is still riding a wave. Before he got to Punch Line Philly for a three-day stint (Aug. 17-19), he got on the phone to talk Trump, mom and more.
Pauly Shore talks Trump, his famous mom and more
So, what is funny to you now?
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Donald Trump. Everything Trump. Donald Trump is hilarious to me.
As a student of history, I can rattle off a dozen terrible presidents – Warren G. Harding, Millard Fillmore – and remind you that they came and went. They all do.
That’s why democracy is so great. It’s not like with Putin or Kim Jong-il who can vote themselves in for decades, although I bet Trump is in shock that he can’t be there for 50 years. I bet he is looking for a way to bend the rules. "I’m doing such a great job, how can I stay in here forever?”
Is political humor a larger part of your kit bag going forward?
No. Trump is not a center of my humor onstage I‘m not dong political humor. I actually do have a few political jokes that I never seem to get to because I’m busy messing around doing other things. I just find Trump funny. I love politics, but, at the end of the day, I’m a comic and I see comedy in everything. I am also in shock. Look, he’ll be gone some day and we’ll be a closer nation because of it. Usually when bad things happen, good things happen after it.
Are you worried about what is politically correct or off limits with comedy in 2018?
The audiences tell you about what boundaries they have, and what they will allow. Their response says it all. I have done jokes for people who have not responded at all, and been like "oh s--t," and then I do a joke that was seemingly inappropriate, and they laugh like hell. The audience is the barometer as to where you can go. Funny is funny. If they laugh, they laugh.
Does any of that instinct come from your mom, Mitzi Shore?
Yes, definitely I grew up watching the comic crème of the crop in the '70s and the '80s. They attacked subjects that were taboo and angled them in a way that was funny and risky. That was mom’s outlook as well. She was funny.
Jim Carrey has called his “I’m Dying Up Here” series on Showtime the definitive look at The Comedy Store, your mother and her influence over comedy. Would you say that is true?
I haven’t watched enough episodes to give a real opinion, but I don’t think so. Jim Carrey did his version. That’s not my version. Ultimately it is about entertainment, whether it’s about The Comedy Store, or him, or me. It’s either a funny show or not a funny show You have to make something for those who don’t know who Mitzi Shore was, something that works for an audience who might just be sitting at home channel surfing.
If you were to do a version of your story, and I hope you do, what would your take on your family’s life look like?
It’s a good question. I’m a generational guy, born in the late '60s, and experiencing the Sunset Strip from the '70s to the '90s. My story would be, not just about The Comedy Store and my mom, but the entire Strip. Even going to West Hollywood High or being in Hollywood Cub Scouts or dating Charles Bronson’s daughter. My story isn’t just about comedy, but music. The Sunset Strip in the 1980s was the clitoris of rock n’ roll, and of decadence. I loved it. I used to drive down the Strip with my mom as a kid, and punks would pour out of Black Flag concerts at The Roxy, and throw up on our windshield. When I made it in the Sam Kinison rock n’ roll comedy era, I got to throw up on peoples’ windshields.