Host Jimmy Kimmel joked in his monologue, "Two actors from Encino Man are nominated for Oscars," referring to Brendan Fraser and Ke Huy Quan, who won later in the night for Best Actor (The Whale) and Best Supporting Actor (Everything Everywhere All at Once), respectively. "What an incredible night this must be for the two of you and what a difficult night it must be for Pauly Shore."
Encino Man is a 1992 comedy in which two high schoolers, played by MTV VJ turned actor Shore (as Stoney) and '90s fave Sean Astin (as Dave), find a frozen caveman in their yard and try to acclimate him to modern living. Fraser played the defrosted caveman, Link, while Quan played Kim, a nerdy computer club student in the flick, which was silly but went on to have cult appeal.
Fraser and Quan have talked about their careers slowing after early success as young actors, but both made huge comebacks, winning gold at Hollywood's biggest awards show. Meanwhile, Shore saw his acting career fizzle (he was given the Golden Raspberry for Worst New Star of the Decade for the 1990s) and it was never resuscitated. Instead, Shore, who has focused on his standup, has long been a target of jokes.
After being name-checked at the Oscars, Shore took to social media and rather graciously responded to Kimmel's dig. He said he "loved" the joke, but even more he "REALLY loved" that "my old buddies from back in the day, Brendan Fraser and Ke Huy Quan, took home Oscars!" He ended his tweet, which has over 24,000 likes, "Never quit your dreams."
I don’t know if you guys saw the @TheAcademy Awards last night, but @jimmykimmel poked fun at me in the monologue. I loved it.
But what I REALLY loved is that my old buddies from back in the day, Brendan Fraser and Ke Huy Quan, took home the Oscars!
Never quit on your dreams. pic.twitter.com/wD67uPtFn5
— Pauly Shore (@PaulyShore) March 13, 2023
Shore got a little more candid in an interview with Page Six later about being an industry punch line, reminding whoever needs to hear it that he has feelings.
"We love to hate people when they’re on top. People wanted to smash me down — and they did," he said of being the butt of jokes through the years. "I was always nice to everyone, always cool, I put my heart into ... all my films."
He added that as a celebrity, "You’re buying and selling a human being. Human beings have feelings, it’s not like selling real estate."
Shore, who is touring a one-man show, Stick with the Dancing: Stories from My Childhood, said in his opinion, his films, also including Bio Dome and Jury Duty "stand the test of time." He went on to share that he does "truly miss acting" and "being on set" and he's "dreaming and hoping" for another opportunity. He's hoping a director or producer with the vision puts him in a role "that no one would expect," resulting in a comeback. "That’s where my heart is."
As for his Encino Man co-stars winning, Shore continued to celebrate them, saying, "It’s a big deal, I’m happy for these guys. We did a movie together years ago and I’m glad that people still talk about it 30 years later. It’s crazy." He said he's messaged with Quan in recent months, but last spoke to Fraser about five years ago.
Meanwhile, fellow Encino Man co-star Astin also used Twitter to congratulate Fraser and Quan on their wins as they played out on Oscar night. He was "over the moon" for Quan, who he also co-starred with in 1985's The Goonies. (Quan referenced Goonies in his acceptance speech.)
always with dignity, grace, loyalty, hope, joy & inspiration….
A forever moment Ke…
I’m so happy, proud and over the moon…
CONGRATULATIONS. Well earned!!!! https://t.co/SNeqK1DAJj
— Sean Astin (@SeanAstin) March 13, 2023
Astin called Fraser a "gargantuan talent" and "very decent human being."
Brendan…a triumph of a performance by a gargantuan talent…and a very decent human being…
I’m moved and incredibly happy for you… Well deserved and well earned…
— Sean Astin (@SeanAstin) March 13, 2023
He also shared a photo of the two winners in Encino Man, an image that has gone viral.
Ahead of the ceremony, Shore hyped his former co-stars on a Good Morning America segment that aired last week.
"It's quite remarkable" that both Frasier and Quan were nominated, he said. "It's an insane story. These guys — what a comeback. It's almost like they were in Encino Man, they dethawed them and they're coming back to life." He said in their honor, he planned "to binge-watch [Encino Man]" over the weekend and promised he'd be watching the Oscars.