Pauly Shore may not be the goofball he was once, but he still likes to get goofy.
Consider his latest project, "Adopted," a mockumentary of his that riffs on how privileged celebrities travel to third-world countries to take in orphans, in order to make themselves feel real, relevant and, on a cynical note, stay in the public eye.
The direct-to-video film was released last week, and Shore did some clever cross-promotion with the help of the Funny or Die website. A viral video was made that shows a serious Shore being "interviewed" by CNN’s Anderson Cooper. (Shore was inserted into footage of an earlier interview Cooper did with Angelina Jolie about her own international adoptions.)
Shore plays an exaggerated version of himself in "Adopted." During his attempts to snag the "right" orphan during a visit to South Africa, he creates one embarrassing faux pas after another.
The comedian still does his fair share of stand-up work as well, and he’s looking forward to returning to his favorite place — Hawaii — for a gig at Pipeline Cafe next week.
"I’ve been to Hawaii so many times, it’s so much a part of my history," he said last week by phone from his management office in Los Angeles. "Over the 20 years that I’ve visited there, I think the first time people saw me was at the Sheraton Waikiki ballroom. I remember playing the Wave Waikiki when it was still around, and hosting a bikini contest at the Shorebird."
Where: Pipeline Cafe, 805 Pohukaina St.
When: 8 p.m. Wednesday
Cost: $25 general and $45 VIP seating
Info: (877) 714-7668 or www.pipelinecafehawaii.com
One reason for his earlier travel to the islands was his mother Mitzi’s expansion of her famous Comedy Store franchise to Waikiki for a bit during the 1980s. Shore’s own star rose between the early and the mid-’90s, as he graduated from being a MTV VJ to expanding his popular party animal persona the Weaz-el to movies. (Remember "Encino Man"? "Bio-Dome"?) His career fall after that period, however, was so steep that he even parodied himself years later in the 2003 video feature "Pauly Shore is Dead."
Still, Shore is one of those well-connected industry players who can find work on the periphery until, if or when the spotlight shines on him once again — and the man certainly doesn’t lack for ideas and projects.
"I like to tackle things that stimulate me," he said. "It could be a scripted movie like ‘Pauly Shore is Dead’ was, or stand-up, or the ‘Adopted’ mockumentary. Even with ‘Adopted,’ where things were set up and shot sometimes on the fly, I kept some sort of focus and vision amongst the organized chaos.
"In this business, I have to keep, like, 10 things going on at once. Like one of the meets I had today was with MTV about doing a morning show.
"I take on work case by case," he said. "There’s no formula out here. Sometimes, I would bump into somebody that’s doing a movie and he offers me a part, so I get work for three weeks. Or I get calls from my agent and friends. It’s how I live my life. I’m not waiting for the phone to ring.
"I’ve produced my own TV shows and web shorts, so I know how to talk the talk. Am I great at it? No, but I’m getting better at it. Right now, I’ve got a couple scripts that I’m trying to get financing for now, and I’ll be hosting another Showtime comedy special that I’ll be shooting in the fall."
WHEN HE’S not busy, Shore said he likes to visit the islands at least once a year.
"When I’m on Oahu, I like visiting Sandy Beach and the North Shore. Waikiki’s a little too crazy for my tastes now. On Maui, Kaanapali and Kihei are pretty cool, as well as driving on the road to Hana."
For his stand-up gigs, Shore admits that "at the end of the day, in order for me to keep from pulling my hair out of frustration, I don’t want to go up on stage doing the same routines over and over again. I like to feel out and play off of the audience.
"I’m glad to see that live comedy is a staple on Wednesdays at Pipeline Cafe, a room I haven’t played before. In my eyes and ever since Andy Bumatai, Hawaii has generally left comedy on the side of the road. There’s nothing on Maui. It’s a shame."
Besides the occasional business jaunt overseas, Shore said, "The good part about my situation is I don’t spend too much time here in L.A. I’m traveling so much that I don’t get so burned out from living here.
"My comedy has developed from being a native Los Angeleno. I grew up on the Sunset Strip. I think back on how it used to be back in the ’70s, the ’80s, when punk rock and heavy metal used to be featured at such landmarks as the Whisky-A-Go-Go and the Roxy. I remember as a child my mom driving me from the club and seeing these punk rockers spitting on the windshield.
"It used to be crazy. Now, it’s not how it was before. Instead, you see a lot of tourist vans driving around celebrities’ homes."
As for the 42-year-old Shore, he’s content with his current lot in life.
"The way I look at it, first of all, I’m lucky people still come up to me. There are times where I wanna chill, but it’s OK for people to recognize me after so many years. Sometimes, when I leave my house, it’s, ‘Yo, what’s up?’ and ‘Yeee!’ I’m like the comedy politician. It is what it is."