A wildly goofy, deliberately obnoxious standup comedian, Shore shot to fame on MTV, and later moved his established "weasel" persona into features.
The son of comic Sammy Shore, who opened for Elvis Presley in Las Vegas in the 1960s and 70s, and Mitzi Shore, the powerful and influential owner of L.A.'s The Comedy Store, Shore grew up surrounded by comics. At 19, he began trying to tickle funny bones himself, both at his mother's and other clubs. Shore also guested on TV in "21 Jump Street" and had small feature roles in "For Keeps" and "18 Again!" (both 1988). His trademarked kinky curly hair and his emerging man-child image, horny and eager to talk crudely about sex, yet also geeky and airheaded, attracted attention. It especially appealed to teens, who identified with an underachieving nerd yet imitated and admired an already congealed style they also saw as cool.
MTV proved to be the perfect arena for Shore's image, his popular "Totally Pauly" first aired during afternoons, but during summers expanded its time slot and moved to midnight. Shore's core audience, young grads uncertain of their futures, loved his hysterical espousal of whatever he found "maa-jor, buuuddy". His breakthrough film came with the surprise hit ($40 million domestically) "Encino" Man" (1992), as one of two pals who find a prehistoric man and try to acclimatize him to the 90s, thus proving just how unevolved they are themselves. Shore subsequently bounded into his own film vehicles, showcasing his "fish out of water" antics in "The Son-in-Law" (1993), in which his patented L.A. boy must take to the farm, and "In the Army Now" (1994), where Shore joins up and gets his trademarked hairdo shaved off.
The box-office dip of these two vehicles was noticeable but slight, suggesting a solid profit-making system for Shore's films, whose costs have been modest. "Jury Duty" (1995), with Shore disrupting the legal system, and "Bio-Dome" (1996), in which he and a pal (Stephen Baldwin) stumble into an experimental man-made ecosystem, though, marked a sizable decline in popularity. For a time, Shore had other things to contend with, including the suicide of his girlfriend, porn star Shannon "Savannah" Wilsey, after she injured her face in a car crash. The comic has retrenched, though, returning regularly to his home base on TV, continuing to perform live and making a more "serious" comedy with the low-budget indie "The Curse of Inferno" (still to be released).
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