Comedian Pauly Shore spent the month of January shilling for a web startup, YouToo, by participating in a contest on the site.

We asked him why he thought a partnership with the relatively unknown startup was a good idea.

“People will ask me to do things once in a while,” he said. “This just seemed cool. Anything that’s outside the norm is kind of up my alley.”

Even over the phone, Shore was the picture of nonchalance about Youtoo, which lets users upload their videos to the site in the hopes of being seen on millions of living room screens as a “Peoplemercial.”

But pretty soon, it becomes that this — the pursuit of fame via the web — is a hot topic that gets Shore pretty passionate.

“The concept they came up with, that’s how people are becoming known now,” he told us. “At the end of the day, it’s about eyeballs, and all the eyeballs have shifted online.”

Shore realized a few years ago that the web was going to be an interesting new playground for comics. His first experience with engineered virality came in 2006 with a spoofed clip seen around the world.

“I did a video a while ago where I got punched in the face onstage,” he said. But it’s all fake, and there’s a making-of video. But the video where I got punched went viral, people were even talking about it on the news.”

“If it’s good, it’ll have legs,” said Shore. “If people spend some time on it, they can actually go somewhere.”

Later, the star started doing more polished online work for comedy site Funny or Die. But even though he was working with professionals and a script, he told us the process was a lot faster and a lot simpler than anything else he’d seen happen in Hollywood.

“That’s the cool thing about the [online video] industry — anyone can shoot anything, edit anything. There’s not a lot of pressure in the process. When I was shooting it, it was like, ‘Hey, it’s for the Internet.'”

And Shore continued to say that online video isn’t just a promotional vehicle for the famous or an American’s Funniest Home Videos-style blooper reel; rather, truly talented folks are gaining an entirely new level of access to Hollywood’s elite.

Referencing the cable-cutting phenomenon, he continued, “A lot of my younger friends are just starting out on their own, and they don’t have TV and cable; they just watch stuff on their computers.”

As a result, he explained, the studios are following the eyeballs to the Internet, and the intake side of the entertainment industry has shifted from audition tapes to viral YouTube clips.

“I have the email address for the head of Comedy Central. I can send him a clip right now. Back in the old days, you could never get to this person.”