Jewish Journal

A Shore Thing

by Michael Aushenker

Posted on Jul. 26, 2001 at 8:00 pm

"Pop," goes the Weasel.

"Pop" being veteran stand-up comic Sammy Shore, and the "weasel" being his son, Pauly "The Weasel" Shore, the king of '90s lowbrow comedies ("Encino Man," "In The Army Now").

Shore senior, 74, who lives in Marina del Rey, is now making them laugh -- and cry -- in his ever-evolving stage odyssey, "...But First, Sammy Shore." Written by Shore and Rudy DeLuca (a frequent Mel Brooks collaborator on movies such as "High Anxiety"), "...But First" delves into the deepest crevices of the man who co-created the Comedy Store (with ex-wife Mitzi, who has run the comedy club since the couple's 1974 split).

"...But First" began last June at Two Roads Theater in Studio City and was originally titled "Seventy Sucks." At the time, Shore's performance amounted to a bunch of jokes about dealing with age. It wasn't until the current show's director, Paul Linke, stepped in last October that the stand-up shtick was fine-tuned into a full-fledged play that garnered upbeat reviews.

In his anecdotal, autobiographical play, Shore recalls the highs and lows of his career, which included working alongside Sammy Davis, Jr., Tony Bennett and Bob Hope. In 1969, Elvis Presley caught Shore's act and insisted that Shore open for him. That gig lasted five years, throughout which Elvis and his entourage -- dubbed the Memphis Mafia -- made Shore the butt of many practical jokes.

"Elvis was the best," recalled the Marina del Rey resident, who will do a Vegas stint at the Riviera Hotel on Oct. 29.

Now he's having the time of his life, and he's happy about his strong relationship with his famous son.

"Pauly happened to be in the audience at one of my shows," Shore told The Journal. "And afterward he came up onstage and he was crying and hugging me."

"...But First, Sammy Shore" continues through Aug. 19 on Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 5:30 p.m. at The Other Space at Santa Monica Playhouse, Santa Monica. For more information, call (310) 394-9779, ext. 1.n

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