Slacker comic Pauly Shore was the very definition of ubiquitous in the early 1990s. Hit movie Encino Man solidified his fame, already stoked by successful stand-up and comedy albums. However, just when it seemed that Shore would never disappear from our screens, he did just that – or seemed to.
Shore started in the stand-up business at 17, playing his slacker persona “The Weasel.” His laidback, stoner character caught the eye of MTV, and by 1990 he had his own show on the channel. Totally Pauly that mixed impromptu street interviews with spring break parties and skits. Viewers, particularly college students, loved it, ensuring it ran for four years.
Tragedy dealt Shore a harsh blow at height of his success, when his ex-girlfriend, Shannon Wilsey, a.k.a. porn star Savannah, committed suicide. This left him reflective and perhaps willing to move on from The Weasel. He had his chance in a TV vehicle, sitcom Pauly in 1997, but amid a torrent of harsh press, the show was cancelled after only five episodes.
Shore’s career seemed to be on the skids, but he didn’t just give up. The mockumentary Pauly Shore Is Dead in 2003 signalled something of a return, although reviews weren’t entirely favorable. Nevertheless, he made another mockumentary, Adopted, in 2009. Shore never turned his back on comedy, returning to the small screen in a series of specials, in which he’s abandoned his slacker persona for political gags.