Almost famous

I have one friend who is a celebrity. Well, he’s not really a friend. And he’s not really a celebrity. But still. I met comedian Pauly Shore a few months ago when we spent an hour together on a radio show. I knew he was famous, but I wasn’t quite sure why. I asked my sons about him, and they just laughed. I guess “Encino Man’’ and “Bio-Dome,’’ to name two of Pauly’s movies, aren’t in their DVD collections. They must have missed Shore’s “Totally Pauly’’ heyday on MTV in the early 1990s.

By Alex Beam

  • Follow us on
  • google-news
  • whatsapp
  • telegram

Published: Mon 19 Jul 2010, 11:08 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 10:23 AM

Shore was the first person I ever met who had an entourage, just like on the HBO show. He swept into the radio studio inside a tiny phalanx of hangers-on: a photographer; Milk Tyson, an obscure white rapper; and some young women who never identified themselves. I went out on a date with Olivia de Havilland in 1974 (don’t ask . . .), and she didn’t have an entourage. Times change.

I will say this: For a worldwide megastar sputtering on the horizon of complete oblivion, Shore was smart and friendly. Yes, he had heard of William Knoedelseder’s book about his mother, Mitzi Shore, who put Los Angeles’s Comedy Store on the map in the 1970s. No, he hadn’t read it, but he had heard it was good. It is good. If you have the least interest in the history of American stand-up, you should read it.

Furthermore, in the studio I actually said to Shore: “Pauly, I am going to be in LA this weekend — can we hang out?’’ Instead of scoffing, he suggested I might like to take a friend to the Comedy Store on Saturday night, gratis. I went to bed around 9:20 that evening, but I appreciated the offer.

On the strength of what might better be called our chance acquaintance, Pauly sent me a copy of his new movie, “Adopted,’’ which bypassed theaters this week and can be found at the video racks in Wal-Mart and Blockbuster. It’s quite funny, in a twisted sort of way, and brutally tasteless. The Bruno-esque theme of the auto-mockumentary is that Shore has travelled to South Africa, a la Angelina Jolie and Madonna, to adopt a child and discover his inner parent.

I am reasonably sure that you won’t be buying “Adopted,’’ so here’s a summary of the high and low points: Pauly gets tossed out of Oprah Winfrey’s heavily guarded Leadership Academy for Girls, of course. His every attempt to high-five or fist-bump a black man in South Africa goes awry; it’s South Africa, not South Central, as Shore remarks. He gets off a funny line in front of a predominantly white audience at a sold-out Cape Town auditorium, a stop on his real-life comedy tour: “Hey! Where my brothers at?’’

No black South African has the faintest idea who Pauly Shore might be, which allows him to wander around the country in relative obscurity. To tell his fortune, he throws animal bones with a local faith healer. (Q: “Are you a witch doctor?’’ A: “No, I’m a sangoma.’’) He visits a jewellery store to buy a “blood diamond’’ for his mother. And he ends the movie with a serious plug for adoption, and a shout-out to UNICEF. Awww.

I asked Pauly to send me some reviews from South Africa, where the movie opened last year. Here are two he didn’t send: “Even if you are desperate for entertainment, this film may be a complete waste of time and money’’ — The Herald. “If you liked ‘Son-in-Law,’ ‘Encino Man’ or ‘Bio-Dome,’ you might like this’’ — The Star. It will be on Showtime this fall.

Alex Beam is a Boston Globe columnist

More news from