Star-Bulletin Features

Thursday, November 15, 2001

Pauly Shore recently finished a film "You'll
Never Weiz In This Town Again," a
semi-autobiographical dark comedy.

Shore-ing up
against the fickle
tide of Hollywood

Pauly Shore's ready for stage
and screen after feeling he'd
never work any town again

By John Berger

The Weiz is dead. Long live the Weiz.

That's the news regarding comedian Pauly Shore, who was loved by some and hated by others as the Weizel (his spelling of Weasel) when he entered the comedy scene first via MTV, then on film. Shore's alter ego made him a star for much longer than his allotted "15 minutes."

Shore is back in Hawaii for a weekend one-nighter at World Cafe tomorrow and an extra show Wednesday at Hapa's on Maui, and the news about the death of the Weiz is actually good news for Shore fans as it may earn him some support from old-time Weiz-haters.

He recently completed work on a film that he wrote, directed, produced and starred in. The title? "You'll Never Weiz in This Town Again."

"It's very real, but yet it's funny in a way that's situational funny, rather than bumping into a wall. I think it'll appeal to a wider audience, more of the intellects, and hopefully the people who liked my other comedies will dig it, too, 'cause there's some wacky stuff in there, too," said Shore of his semiautobiographical dark comedy about a washed-up comic who loses his girlfriend, his sitcom, his house and, finally, his career. The hapless ex-star is forced to move in with his mother (who happens to be a comedy club owner) and park cars for customers.

The ghost of a famous comedian visits the guy -- let's call him Pauly -- and points out that dead comics like John Belushi quickly become superstars. Pauly fakes suicide and watches with delight as the media goes into overdrive, putting his face on the cover of every magazine.

Pauly's "posthumous" popularity plummets when a 13-year-old girl recognizes him. Before long he's in jail with Tommy Lee, Heidi Fleiss and Todd Bridges.

"I was in that place where I had to hit it out of the ballpark or don't even go up to bat, so I just picked up the phone and was very persistent," Shore said of his success in getting a long list of celebrities to appear in cameo roles. The celeb list includes Sean Penn, Whoopi Goldberg, Vern "Mini-Me" Troyer, Jerry Springer, Tom Sizemore, Ellen Degeneres, Kato Kaelin and more than 25 others. Shore's real mom, Mitzi Shore of Comedy Store fame, is in there, too.

Any similarities between the experiences of the film "Pauly" and Shore's real career meltdown are for him to know and you to figure out, but even hard-core Shore fans will tell you about the short shelf life of his last few movies and how Fox TV pulled his show off the network after six episodes.

What can you do but try something new when your movies are bombing even though new exponents of the "dumber and dumbest" school of comedy are making big bucks?

"I just told myself that I can't sell myself out," Shore said of his approach to the film. "Hopefully at the end there'll be light at the end of the tunnel, and I'll have been happy that I went through this situation.

"The other performers in the business get my stuff, and the fans get it, but Hollywood doesn't get it so much because they're always into 'what's next?' Sometimes you have to take extra time with someone in order to make them work again.

"Look at Travolta. He's a great example of someone who was just retarded after all that stuff went down for 10 years. And then Quentin Tarentino had a vision of putting this guy in a cool movie in a cool role. It's not that he was different, he was just really good. He's still John Travolta, but ever since then he's been making $20 million a movie."

All going well, "You'll Never Weiz ..." will do for Shore what "Pulp Fiction" did for Travolta. It's Shore as a social commentator rather than the Weiz character that defined him for better or worse when he began hosting "Totally Pauly" on MTV (make that "Empty-V") in 1990.

Shore intends to bounce back big time. He's been shopping his film to the major national film festivals with the same "I've got nothing to lose" attitude that got the film made in the first place. Too bad he didn't know about the Hawaii International Film Festival.

Shore's plans include a "Making of ..." DVD that'll have real-time, real-life footage, like the time the police came to shut down the set.

Shore has decided he likes working on both sides of the camera.

"I had a good time directing. I'd like to direct music videos and do smaller dramatic roles, and I like to develop a romantic comedy. I'm in a place right now where I'm not that desperate to work. I've kind of established my own entity, and I can wait for some good stuff to come along.

"Sometimes a bad thing in life actually turns out to be a good thing. It's hard to see that when you're actually in the middle of a bad thing," he said. "It's so interesting how easy life is from 1 to 18, and then when you get older and you're in your late 20s, you realize that this is what life is. Everything is going to go up and down, but I think as long as you realize that, (you're all right)."

And what about stand-up?

"It's great, especially if you're doing new stuff," he said. "I feel that I've come into my own more as a stand-up and that older people -- 30, 35, 40, 45 -- will really enjoy it. My stuff is still wacky and outrageous, but I also have a point on stage."

And as for his years as the Weizel, Shore has no regrets.

"It was very successful for me. A lot of people related at the time. I had a vulnerableness underneath the whole thing. I think a lot of guys that are out there (now) come from a shocking, mean-spirited place. I was coming from more of a vulnerable, loving, innocent-type place."

Pauly Shore

Where: World Cafe, 1130 N. Nimitz Highway
When: 8 p.m. Saturday; doors open at 7 p.m.
Tickets: $22.50
Call: 585-2877
Also: At Hapa's at 41 E. Lipoa in Kihei, Maui, at 9 p.m. Nov. 21. Tickets $17 pre-sale; $20 at the door.
Call: (808) 870-9001

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