“Hey Bud-dy, it’s Pauly, wanna come have brunch with me, greasy.”
I told Pauly that was nice of him, but it was snowing pretty hard and my Lotus doesn’t get around very well in the snow. Shore insisted and said he’d send a driver to pick me up at my condo in Fairway. And he was quick to tell me that he worked Saturday at the Improv at Zona Rose and sold out both shows. Then I told him, even though the weather was dicey, we’d sold out both shows with Erik Griffin from “Workaholics.”
In this biz, everyone is always trying to one up the other guy – it never ends.
I hadn’t seen Pauly Shore in nearly a decade. He and his management are tied to the Improv, so he’s exclusive to their clubs in cities where there’s an Improv, including KC. The Improv here hangs on tightly to Shore because he’s one of the few non-urban acts they still do well with. In fact, Shore has never played our Legends location. Pauly reminded me that he and I have quite a history together. Including his borrowing my idea for a comedy club TV series, in 2003. We had a deal with Comedy Central for a Stanford & Sons show. And since we had the same agent at CAA, Pauly was able to finagle a deal with network tv for a series called Minding the Store that lasted one season.
Most of you know Pauly’s lengthy career stats; he broke into the scene with the magic of MTV as a VJ in the late 1980s and followed with his own MTV show, Totally Pauly. Then he went on a run of successful movies which included Encino Man, Son-in-Law, Bio-Dome, In The Army Now and Jury Duty. As his filmed career waned in the late 1990s, Pauly returned to doing stand-up with TV specials on Comedy Central, Showtime and HBO along with appearances on late night television and shows like Entourage.
He told me he didn’t have many friends outside of his home town and I was one of them.
“Hell, I’ve known you almost 20 years now,” he said. I reminded Pauly that in the late 90s when he first appeared at Stanford’s, there was a line of gorgeous girls – all 9’s and 10’s – waiting outside the green room door to go out with us in the limo after the show.
I said, “Remember,the one who was my date; a young Greek woman that you stole from me that night?” I was pissed.
“Or the time you had Bobby Slayton come in and ask me how it felt to be sold out with a line down the street and have no talent whatsoever – remember that?” Shore asked me.
“I paid you back by hooking you up with that crazy porno chick the next year,” I shot back.
And back and forth it went for like 20 minutes. We talked about everything from who’s selling tickets today – like Jim Jeffries and TJ Miller – to the guys from Pauly’s era still working the clubs. And acts still selling tickets like Carlos Mencia and Ralphie May.
Shore looked great, still trim and very recognizable.
When we walked into the bagel joint, every person in there mobbed him for an autograph and he complied with a smile. He opened up towards the end of our rendezvous and said, “Craig, we’re the lucky ones. Even though much of the fun in our lives is just a blur now, we’re lucky to have been at this level in the entertainment business at all. The people we met, the things we’ve seen, the places we’ve been. My life’s kinda on cruise control now, doing stand-up specials and corporate events. I still make seven figures a year, and I can’t bitch about that, but the days of being The Weasel are long gone and won’t come again, but what a fun ride.”
Besides, he and I own two of the longest running comedy clubs out there.
Shore told me he was sorry to hear about my younger brother Jack’s death, and reminded me of the week he brought his father, Sammy Shore in to do stand-up with him back in the day.
Pauly reminded me he had one more show that night at the Improv and it was time to go.
I told him I’d be in LA in March working on my projects and maybe we’d see each other then. Truth is, who knows if we’ll ever see each other again. But I think it was cool of Shore to go out of his way and spend some time with me and relive the old days.
It also occurred to me how many people like to down the guy and belittle his success. But God knows he’s been successful and still is to this day.
Meeting with Pauly reminded me of why being in this business and my life has been blessed. Making friends with giants in the Industry has been a real treat.
People like Tommy Chong, Lewis Black, Damon Wayans, Ali – the list is long. So when things seem dark and dim, I only have to roll back the images in my mind of the people, places and adventures I’ve had over the last few decades. That and the time I spent sharing a bagel with my friend Pauly Shore as the snow fell and a ticking clock reminded me of how lucky I’ve been.