Well-traveled comedian Pauly Shore has taken his act on the reality show highway, and his father, Sammy, a fellow comedian and family patriarch, is riding alongside as his co-star. The new TBS show, "Minding the Store," is an up-close look at Pauly's life and his attempts to recharge the batteries of the Comedy Store, the famed comedy club on Sunset Boulevard.
The show's focus is the intervention of 37-year-old Pauly into the running of the Sunset Strip club, which his mother has managed for years. This ongoing plot element is interlaced with road gigs, "hot-girl" auditions and Pauly's conversations with his therapist.
Pauly Shore probably has more name recognition today, but Sammy, the vigorous 70-something Shore patriarch, has a long show business career that includes opening for Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley.
"I have a whole new career starting now," said the elder Shore. "I love that there are so many new opportunities opening for me."
The reality TV series was a logical next step for Pauly Shore, given that he also played himself in his most recent movie, even though the independent film itself was fiction. In "Pauly Shore Is Dead," he faked his own death to regain fame.
A running theme of the new show is Pauly's love life: "I want someone who has already come into herself, not immature and searching or looking for me to complete her."
Pauly said it's difficult to forge lasting relationships on the road, and that he rejects casual encounters in lieu of something more meaningful.
"I don't think he'll ever get married," father Sammy interjected during their father-son interview with The Journal. "I should never have gotten married. I'm too much of a free spirit, and there are too many temptations on the road."
Both readily agree that humor is a powerful aphrodisiac.
Pauly is adamant that he won't settle for a less-than-honest relationship and marrying a Jewish girl is not out of the question.
"I can't live feeling guilty because I have two lifestyles," he said. "I'd rather not have a girlfriend than be part of a dishonest relationship. It doesn't work for me, and that's why I've been alone for the last four years."
These days, Sammy is happily married to second wife Suzanne, but Pauly, as a child, had to live through the bitter show business divorce of his father and Mitzi Shore, his mother. For years, Mitzi has been the iron hand behind the management of The Comedy Store, where Pauly did much of his growing up.
He is clear about what he learned from such comedy icons as Sam Kinison and John Belushi.
"I believe I benefited from watching the self-destructive tendencies of others," he said. "It's OK to dance with the devil, as long as you don't become the devil."
Sometimes the comedians had a laugh at his expense. "I used to hate it when they would make me get out of the car in the middle of the street and leave me there," Pauly said.
"I never knew they did that to you," Sammy said, leaning in closer.
"They would drive around the block and pick me up," Pauly continued. "But I would be standing there in the middle of the street crying."
Sammy shook his head, disturbed at the recollection: "I was always available for my kids. All they ever had to do was call me."
Pauly's memory of his father's involvement is more nuanced, though largely positive.
"It was pretty typical crazy," he said. "My dad would come to my soccer games on the weekend dressed in spandex, screaming at me to hit the ball. While the comics would stand around hitting on all the soccer moms."
Sammy said he spent as much time with Pauly and his siblings as possible, because ex-wife Mitzi worked long hours building The Comedy Store.
Pauly said his time spent with each parent was invaluable. "I always knew they loved me, even if they didn't say it all the time."
But Pauly added that he got no special perks nor opened doors. "I bombed at the Store early on, and I had to go to other clubs to work on my act. I received no advice from my mom, and I had to sink or swim on my own."
Sammy, however, said he helped Pauly by taking him "with me on the road."
"But he hasn't had me in any of his movies," Sammy quipped. "I would have put him in mine -- make me an offer," he joked, eyeing Pauly across the table.
In the meantime, both Shores are enjoying the notoriety the new show has brought and focusing on next season.
Although there wasn't much Jewishness in their home growing up, Pauly said he does contemplate having a bar mitzvah some day. Another long-term goal reveals a culinary bent.
"I'd like to open a fish restaurant in Maui and serve fresh fish every day," Pauly said.