Pauly Shore, clad in jeans and an open flannel shirt, ambles onto Rockeys Dueling Piano Bar’s small stage.
“You know what the f**ked up thing about me is?” he asks the crowd of hooting Gainesville residents in his signature stoner-surfer parlance. “I always look f**ked up.”
The rest of his act followed as such: jokes about growing older, brief descents into his famous character “The Weasel,” jabs at his own often joked about career and a string of toe-curling one-liners about his sex life. One of the tamer ones: “I love having sex with hipster girls, but it’s very tiring,” he intoned. “You have to get up every 15 minutes to flip the record.”
Shore appeared at Rockeys on Sept. 24 for its weekly comedy showcase, Comedy BOOM! On Wednesdays, Rockeys trades its rowdy piano-bar scene for a more laid-back, comedy club-inspired atmosphere. In an effort to expand Comedy BOOM! audiences, the owners are focusing on bringing in both national comedy acts like Shore in addition to local comics.
The Avenue spoke with Shore after his performance about the changing comedy scene, his love of Bill O’Reilly and why millennials should listen to what he has to say.
What is your guilty pleasure TV show?
CNN, all the time. I love it; I’m obsessed. I watch politics just because I’m interested in — like, I did a political special the year before last on Showtime, and it was all politics. I got really into it. I just think it’s silly, the whole thing. I’m entertained by it. (Ed. note: His political documentary “Pauly Shore’s Pauly-tics” aired on Showtime in September 2012.)
What’s the last book you read?
I don’t remember. Because of the Internet and everything, what’s going on with social media, I’m always reading that type of stuff. But ... I did say to myself yesterday, I’m like, “F**k, I need a book,” just to, like, read a book and tune out from all my work s**t. You know, I just want to sit back, wash my face, relax and then just read a book. I don’t know what book to read, so if you have any suggestions … I did read the Anthony Kiedis biography. That was sick. And I’m really big into documentaries. I love documentaries.
What have been some of your favorite fan interactions?
The thing that I have that’s transcended ... a lot of comics is that I’m very connected with the people. It’s not about my jokes, it’s not about my movies — it’s about me. People feel connected with me, because I’m very real — and when I was on MTV, all that s**t was very authentic. It was always coming from a real place, and people are connected with it. All races, all ages. I’m very fortunate. You know, my career has gone up and down, up and down, but throughout it I’ve had these great fans who are just, like, legit.
Are you going to do more documentaries for now?
Well, I have a podcast that just came out. It’s dope. It’s different than any podcast that’s out there, because what I’ll do is I’ll interview someone, and then I’ll have someone else comment on that interview. So I’ll interview, say, Chris Rock, and then I have Tommy Davidson comment on that, because we all started at the same time. This week is Andy Dick, and then his son Lucas Dick comments, because his son is a comedian.
Is there a Pauly Shore line that you’re sick of hearing fans quote back to you?
No, I’m not like that. I think it’s cute that people say that stuff to me. Like, people are adorable; they’re so passionate about it. “Wheez the juice,” “What’s up, buddy,” all that stuff. They’re into it, and I think it’s adorable.
Do you prefer bigger city venues or do you enjoy smaller places like Gainesville?
I like everything. I like that it was f**kin’ rowdy tonight and stupid. And I got kind of frustrated. I like that. It’s like, I don’t care, I like wherever it is that I’m at. Sometimes shows are f**kin’ perfect, and sometimes they’re messed up like they are tonight. Tonight there were people speaking, I got kind of annoyed, but who cares? It doesn’t matter. I like small, big — it doesn’t matter.
Are there any comics or directors you haven’t worked with yet that you’d like to?
I like Bill O’Reilly. He’s so mean, it’s hysterical. He’s such an a**hole, it’s awesome. He’s hysterical. [Imitates O’Reilly] “Well Pauly, well Pauly.” You guys should tweet at him. Tell him to get me on his show.
We’ll start a viral campaign.
That’d be sick. He’s so funny. That’s my sense of humor. These guys are funny to me.
You joked about comedy changing since you’ve been on the scene. What are some of the biggest changes you’ve observed since you started in the ’90s?
It’s like, I have this thing I say: The Internet is really awesome for talent, and then the Internet is really bad for talent. It’s awesome because it gives people the opportunity to get their s**t out there, and it’s bad because it gives people the opportunity to get their s**t out there. There’s so much clutter that gets out there that’s just bad.
If you could change anything about comedy today, what would you change?
Everyone’s trying to figure it out, figure out how to make it — music, or acting, or comedy, or singing, or this or that. And there’s a lot of people (who) think that they’re funny who just aren’t funny. So comedy is just one of those things. Stand-up comedy is very sensitive, and it should be taken very seriously. It’s not a hobby. It’s your life. It’s like weightlifting. If you’re a weightlifter, you’re into your body and you don’t just do it for competition. You’re always doing it; you’re always working out. It’s a lifestyle, and unless you are part of that lifestyle, then don’t do it. Don’t waste stage time, don’t waste your time and don’t waste other people’s time. Don’t kind of do it.
Is there any reason in particular why, after so many years, you’ve stuck with “The Weasel” on stage for your act?
I think that you don’t want to bite the hand that feeds you, number one. But I also think that my stuff isn’t just that. You have to give the people what they want; that’s what they came to see. But then you also have to make them say, “Oh, I learned some stuff about him as a person.” It’s like the movie I did, “Pauly Shore is Dead.” I want to appeal to the people that like the old stuff, but I also want to appeal to the people that maybe don’t like me, who say, “Well, what’s he doing?” My new documentary and my podcast answers all that. The thing is, I’m 46 now. The young people, I think, should listen to what I have to say, because I’m at a place right now where I’ve done a lot. And I know that as a younger person I like to look up to people in their 50s, 60s and 70s and say, “What the f**k did they do?” I’ve been through a lot, and I’ve experienced a lot. Hopefully those people will be inspired by the podcast or the documentary. I think they will.
Rockeys Dueling Piano Bar hosts Comedy BOOM! each Wednesday beginning at 9:30 p.m., featuring both local comedians and the occasional national act.
[A version of this story ran on page 10 on 10/2/2014 under the headline "title"]
Comedian and 1990s MTV host Pauly Shore performed at Rockeys Dueling Piano Bar’s weekly Comedy BOOM! series Sept. 24. His new documentary, “Pauly Shore Stands Alone,” premieres Dec. 4 on Showtime.