Government Name: Paul DelVecchio
Hometown: Providence, RI
Age/Zodiac Sign: 36, Cancer
Best moment: Post-Jersey Shore life
Most infamous moment: The hot tub freak out
Catchphrase: "Cabs are here!" / "T-shirt time!"
While Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino so desperately tried to become the voice of this tiny sliver of time when Jersey Shore was at the forefront of pop culture, Pauly DelVecchio pulled off the feat effortlessly. With his Growing Up Gotti haircut, fresh out the booth tan, and that star tattoo placed perfectly over his left elbow, he looked the part—but his charm was built on much more than that. Pauly D was warm, cool, and endlessly charismatic, a reality star who seemingly manufactured iconic moments at will. There’s a good chance he’s responsible for your favorite line, scene, or episode of Jersey Shore—from “Cabs are heeyah!” to “T-shirt tiiiiiiime” to “From who!?!?”—and that’s saying a lot.
But here’s what puts Pauly over the top, beyond the fact that he’s very clearly doing the best post-Shore: he had an innate ability to make those around him better. Not, like, better people, but better television characters. Pauly D elevated the humor and magnetism of every interaction he was involved in, and the rest of the cast benefited from that. Jersey Shore would not have worked if you didn’t buy in—if you didn’t accept that these people were on some level cool or lovable—and Pauly is the one who flips that switch. What’s Vinny without his Batman? Is “GTL” even a thing if Pauly doesn’t co-sign it? Michael Jordan was a player so talented that anyone else on the court with him got better by osmosis—and there’s no doubt that Pauly D is the Michael Jordan of the Jersey Shore. —Andrew Gruttadaro