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Get ready to throw all the way back to the '80s on this particular Thursday with a beloved character from the big and small screens: Pee-wee Herman.
Actually, it was Paul Reubens, the man behind the childlike character, who stopped by TODAY to share some "Pee-wee's Playhouse"-related good news (and good times).
But those two mainstream iterations weren’t actor Paul Reubens’s first runs with the loud and lovable Pee-wee. I always sort of felt like Pee-wee Herman was performance art a little bit, and what I personally liked about it was that I was the only person who knew that.
He initially improvised and polished the character in the late 1970s at the Groundlings Theatre in L. and built Pee-wee into a cultish live-stage comedy show in the early ’80s. I want to make sure everybody realized we had the same initials. I was in art school at Cal Arts [California Institute of the Arts] just prior to joining The Groundlings and developing Pee-wee Herman.
PR: In episode five, we sort of just made a list of all of our terrible experiences we’d had with dating in LA. PR: Figure out the parking situation before inviting somebody over to your house. I’m not just saying this after the fact or after I got the job. I have pictures to prove of me dressed as Pee-wee Herman in grade school, and I was known in my school and town as the Pee-wee kid. To get to work with Paul, and get to write in that kind of mode and rules of that universe, was probably the biggest pleasure.
Certainly I’d been in the position before where I’m aggressively over-accommodating on a date. Then hope beyond hope that street parking won’t prohibit anything so that the person just goes, 'You know what, I think I’m just going to go home because the parking is weird.' You mentioned that you’ve worked a lot with Judd Apatow in the past. PR: Judd is interested in the nitty gritty of emotional life.
If you grew up in the 1980s, some part of your brain has been permanently altered by the phenomenon of Pee-wee Herman. I went to a cattle call audition for The Dating Game, and before I even got home they called me back. REUBENS: No, I just went in in my full Pee-wee thing and filled out the application as Pee-wee Herman. I liked his work, and I knew him a teeny, tiny bit.
He had the coolest house, the coolest toys, and the coolest friends.
‘Pee-wee Herman’ sounds like a name that is so odd, how would you make that up?
If you were going to make up a name, you’d make up a better name.
While hardly X-rated, these early renditions weren’t particularly prime for an audience of nine-year-olds scarfing down Frosted Flakes on Saturday mornings. RUDD: [laughs] Now we just need to get Pamela Reed on the phone. I almost felt like Pee-wee Herman was conceptual art because I went to great lengths to make people think that he was a real person.
And perhaps the very fact that Pee-wee appealed to adults as well as children—that he actually arrived in a playhouse via a nightclub—is what made the character so compelling, if slightly off-kilter. It’s interesting to redo the character now because I really haven’t been Pee-wee Herman for a long time and people know now that there’s an actor behind him. I’m interested to see whether that aspect will have an effect on it, but I don’t have any control over that. RUDD: I remember seeing a picture a long time ago of you at Cal Arts.
star and co-creator Paul Rust to find out what it’s like inside the mind of Judd Apatow, the trickeries of dating in LA, and how working with Paul Reubens (a.k.a. For singles newly tackling the dating scene in LA, expect awkward beginnings, joyous highs, and heart-breaking lows—all of which are magnified in hilarious and equally cringe-worthy scenes in the new Netflix show, , and the photographic proof he can produce about being the ultimate Pee-wee fan. PAUL RUST: My manager knew I was working on the new Pee-wee Herman movie that Judd was producing and Leslie had worked on the first two seasons on .