Pauly Shore ’s quirky style of comedy made him a favorite of the MTV generation in the late 1980s as an MTV VJ and hosting his own show Totally Pauly for four years. With a film career that took off in the ’90s with hits such as Encino Man, Son in Law, In the Army Now, Jury Duty and Bio-Dome, he was more recently featured in a recurring role in the HBO series, Entourage.
He’s excited about his current project, Whiskey Business, a CMT original movie co-starring John Schneider and Tanya Tucker. In the two-hour comedy, Shore portrays Nicky Ferelli, who runs away from his mob-tied family when he is wrongly accused of murder. He hides out in a small Southern town, making a new and unusual variety of moonshine while discovering that a country way of life could be the best thing that ever happened to him.
In an interview this week at CMT’s offices in Nashville, Shore talked about his latest role, working with co-stars John Schneider and Tanya Tucker and what he’s doing for the presidential elections.
CMT.com: What is the movie Whiskey Business about?
Shore: I would have to say Whiskey Business is Son in Law meets Jersey Shore meets Cocktail. It’s got a lot of heart. It’s silly. I play a flair bartender, who is someone that is really good at mixing drinks.
John Schneider and Tanya Tucker are in the movie. What was it like working with them?
John, I probably met him in passing a while ago, but now I was able to spend some time with him. It’s interesting because he’s such a good actor and brought a very fun, kind of sarcastic, kind of comedic element to his character. Which, to me, was pleasantly surprising because I didn’t really know what he was going to do. And then Tanya Tucker was just spontaneous and crazy. I didn’t know what the hell was going to come out of her mouth. She was just having fun. She’s wild, and she was able to bring that side to the character.
What is it about a movie that makes you want to do it?
I would have to say everything from the top to the bottom — who is producing it, who is directing it, the script, who’s putting it out — has a lot to do with it. The main thing is the script and then everything else, like the other actors and stuff like that.
What was it about Whiskey Business that appealed to you?
I just liked the script. I think the script was really good. I think it was cute. I mean, I totally got it, and the writers did a good job.
You’ve been in dozens of movies. Do you have an absolute favorite?
It depends on what style of movie that you’re asking about. If you’re looking for goofy and sweet, I’d have to say Son in Law. If you’re talking kind of dark and more personal, I’d have to say Pauly Shore Is Dead. If you’re talking about where I’m pranking someone, I’d have to say Adopted. There are so many different ones … and I liked working on Entourage on HBO. That was fun.
You’ve made some groundbreaking shows with MTV.
When I got on MTV in the early ’90s, it was very Downtown Julie Brown and very East Coast. And then I got on there, and I was from California and brought kind of a different style to it, getting out on the streets and messing with people. It was like, “Who the hell is this guy?” I looked like I was a Cabbage Patch Kid on acid, with my hair and the way I dressed and talked and walked. It was different.
Are you running for president?
No, that’s my next special that I’m doing for Showtime. It’s called Paulytics. … We’re going to shoot it in the summer, and then it’s going to come out on Showtime in time for the elections — in October or November of this year. It’s a lot of standup [comedy], but then there’s also a lot of stuff of me running around Washington, getting into trouble.
Who are you a fan of?
I love Madonna, I like the Doors, I like Led Zeppelin, I love Sean Penn, I love Jack Nicholson, Eddie Murphy, Denzel Washington.
Do you have other influences for your comedy?
No. I’d have to say those are my influences, too. Anyone that I look up to, not so much in comedy but just in the arts. I’m very inspired by music. I’m very inspired by actors. I’m very inspired by comedians.
Anything else you want to add?