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Pauly Shore-An Obsession with Jokes
Wednesday, February 23, 2022


At 17, when his classmates were filling out their SAT applications, Pauly Shore made his debut as a stand-up comedian.

His life, he says, was charted for him, growing up as he did in the epicenter of comedy.

“My dad opened for Elvis Presley for three years at the Las Vegas Hilton—I met Elvis when I was a baby, sitting on his knee!” said Shore.

Now 53, Shore is still following the career path his parents unwittingly laid down—right to The Argyros where he will present an evening of stand-up comedy at 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 4. Tickets are $20, available at

“We’ll see what happens. I might come in on a flying saucer,” he said. “Actually, my friend John lives there. I’m coming to ski and make people laugh. So, I hope that, instead of sitting down and having cocoa and marshmallows after they’re done skiing, that people will come see me, have some laughs and then have cocoa and marshmallows.”

Pauly Shore was born to Sammy Shore and Mitzi Shore, who was long ago dubbed the Queen of Comedy. Mitzi played den mother to her husband’s young comedy cohorts like Buddy Hackett, Don Rickles, Alan King and Rodney Dangerfield.

Then, in 1972 Sammy and Mitzi Shore opened the Comedy Store in Los Angeles. Mitzi had a huge influence on the careers of up-and -coming comedians at the club, which she insisted was a college of comedy where comedians could come to learn their craft.

And for young Pauly, rubbing shoulders with the likes of Richard Pryor, Whoopi Goldberg, Roseanne Barr, Robin Williams, Gerry Shandling Jay Leno, David Letterman and Chevy Chase was as ordinary as brushing one’s teeth is for most Americans.

“My life was remarkable because my parents were both comedians,” he said. “I was like a little Frankenstein—a combo of my Mom and Dad. My mother--she knew it was inevitable that I would go into comedy. But she made it hard on me when I first started. She was very hard core—didn’t give compliments easy.”

Shore tasted stardom in 1990 when the MTV show “Totally Pauly” hit the airwaves. It ran for six years, paving the way for an HBO comedy special and a long string of movies, including “Encino Man,” “Son-in-Law,” “In the Army Now,” “Jury Duty,” “Bio-Dome” and a semi-autobiographical mockumentary called “Pauly Shore is Dead.”

One of his latest films, released during the pandemic, is “Guest House,” in which he plays a squatter who refuses to move out of the house a friend previously owned. Never mind that a newly engaged couple has moved in.

“They were originally going to cast me for a small role as a police officer. Then the director Sam Macaroni said, ‘This guy should be starring in movies. He shouldn’t be a small role.’ ”

During quarantine Shore created online content and YouTube shows while he quarantined with his ex on Maui.

“Life is about shifting—we just shifted,” said Shore, who recently moved from Los Angeles to Las Vegas.

More recently, Shore has been working on a documentary of his life that spans the 1970s, ‘80s and 90s, along with a memoir called “How’d You Expect Me to Turn Out?” He’s also created a one-man show about his life “Stick with the Dancing: Funny Stories from My Childhood.”

“No matter what I do, people are always asking me about my childhood. I’m doing this to answer all their questions,” he said.

The biggest challenge in comedy, Shore says, is the travel. Once you get the microphone in your hand  and stand up, it all works out.

“Some audiences can be challenging, but you’ve got to figure out what to do based on what the audience is doing and shift around. It’s like a skier going down the mountain—every show is different. Sometimes it’s too powdery; sometimes it’s too icy. You just improvise with what God gives you.”

Has he ever regretted not taking that SAT test?

“I’ve never regretted going into comedy,” he said. “I’m fortunate that I have something in life that gets me out of bed. I have an obsession with jokes, a passion that gets me going every day. I want to be happy and I want to make others happy.”


Pauly Shore will perform March 4 at The Argyros in Ketchum. PHOTO: Holly Parker/Courtesy of Pauly Shore

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