Ken Tucker
August 02, 1991 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Totally Pauly

TV Show
Current Status
In Season
Pauly Shore

We gave it a C+

If you’re over the age of 20 and want a good scare in the early hours of the morning, be sure to check out Totally Pauly. What you’ll witness is the sight and sound of Young America 1991, the spectacle of a ragged-haired, slit-eyed beach bum announcing, ”You’re chillin’ maaaaa-jor wit’ tha Weasel!” Chances are, you won’t know what the heck is going on: instant generation gap.

Tons o’ teens are tuning in to Pauly Shore, who, in the guise of a roving VJ, interrupts MTV’s ceaseless flow of Skid Row and Van Halen videos to stroll through malls and converse in a modified San Fernando Valley-speak. In Shore’s laconic lexicon, anything ”buff” is good, money is ”fundage,” and attractive women are ”fresh nugs.” One gets the feeling he decided to refer to himself as the Weasel before others started calling him the Pig.

Unlike MTV’s other VJs, who are little more than telegenic announcers, Shore is a blue-blood comedian: His father is veteran nightclub comic Sammy Shore, and his mother, Mitzi, is the owner of L.A.’s Comedy Store. True to his roots, Pauly is a performer who recently released a comedy record, The Future of America. In Shore’s comedy, punch lines are irrelevant — what counts is his cool-dude atty-tude and his in-crowd lingo. His blithe refusal to offer punch lines is at once his stylistic triumph and his one-way ticket to palookaville. The Future of America is a veritable aural dictionary of dude-speak (”In 30, 40, 50 years…you’ll probably be able to take your driving test in English, Spanish, or Dude,” quoth Shore). It is also one unamusing little disc. ”I don’t have a lot of funny jokes,” he freely admitted to the Los Angeles Times.

Right now, however, that doesn’t matter much, because Shore has become a pop phenomenon over the past year, boosting MTV’s ratings with his after-school edition of Totally Pauly. MTV shipped Shore to midnight for the summer, reasoning with charming quaintness that his adolescent fans would be staying up late during summer vacation (somehow, I don’t think hard-core Pauly fans were in their Dr. Dentons and snoring by 9 p.m. during the school year). But the network also wants to expose its prize freak to a wider audience — bored viewers zapping channels to avoid Letterman reruns and Arsenio’s endless monologues. C+

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