Kids of all ages! Pee-wee Herman was great and still is great, all of these years later.
If you haven't seen the revival of The Pee-wee Herman Show on Broadway live in person (or on HBO this month), you really should. I was lucky enough to see the HBO taping (and you can spot me briefly in audience shots at the beginning and end of it), and watching it back on TV was a bit surreal. I think the stage show plays a little better live than on tape. Probably the same held true for those who watched the original 1981 edition.
But what was even greater was seeing Paul Reubens as himself talking about being Pee-wee during the SXSW festival in Austin earlier this month.
Here are highlights from his conversation there, in which he reveals that a failed SNL audition prompted him to go full speed ahead with Pee-wee (and that his SNL slot went to Gilbert Gottfried), and though you don't learn much about the new Pee-wee movie that he's writing with Paul Rust for Judd Apatow, you do hear Reubens discuss how basic his first Pee-wee movie was, and how his 1981 HBO show served as his de-facto "pilot" episode of his Saturday morning kids show, and how Reubens used his infamous mugshot to comedic effect for other roles.
Pee-wee Herman is not just all about balloon tricks, although he did show Conan O'Brien last night what he can do with a balloon.
He also got Conan, Andy, La Bamba and more to join in his re-telling of the story of Ash Wednesday and Lent, but in his own words. Oh, and he arrived onstage via water skis. And introduced his new device for avoiding phone calls. You can see Pee-Wee Herman on Broadway, on HBO, on Saturday March 19, or if you're at SXSW, you can see and listen to him in conversation on Sunday, March 13. I even moved my own SXSW panel later that day just so we all could see him!
Roll the clip!
HBO has set a date for the new version of Pee-wee Herman's show, straight from Broadway to your TV. The new and improved Pee-wee Herman on Broadway will debut on March 19, 2011. Roll the clip!
And if you're too young to remember the 1970s, then brace yourselves, because director Marty Callner (who filmed the new Pee-wee special, as well as the old) has shared nine minutes of glory from the original show that Paul Reubens and friends put on at The Roxy in L.A. in the late 1970s. Before everyone else knew who Pee-wee Herman was. Look at how young he was! Look at Phil Hartman! Awww.
At least one review of Pee-wee Herman's Broadway run this winter complained that his show was, in essence, preaching to a choir of lifelong fans. If you loved Pee-wee then, you'd love him now.
But any critic who didn't love "The Pee-wee Herman Show" on Broadway simply had no love to give. The joy of seeing Pee-wee wasn't predicated upon seeing the rest of the original gang back together again -- although, to be certain, audience members cheered upon seeing the original Miss Yvonne (Lynne Marie Stewart), Mailman Mike (John Moody) and Jambi (John Paragon) take the stage. Anyone could have a blast at this show. All you had to do was remember the child-like wonder and exuberance you felt when you were a child. I know that was true for myself last night at Pee-wee's Broadway finale, because I didn't grow up watching Pee-wee. I didn't watch Saturday morning TV when his show was on. I didn't watch his movies in the cinema. My experience with Pee-wee was seeing him make late-night appearances on talk shows, or even on HBO with occasional rebroadcasts of his original 1981 stage production.
Three decades later, "The Pee-Herman Show" is an ambitious and creatively inspired update to the original play, incorporating multiple characters and topical jokes for boys and girls of all ages to enjoy.
HBO taped last night's Broadway finale and will air it sometime in March, Pee-wee told the audience.
Some other things you may not see on HBO, as the taping process afforded Pee-wee close to two hours of bonus time to chat with the audience and goof around. Since you likely won't see much of this, they aren't spoilers, right?
1. Pee-wee said that in elementary school, a female classmate of his refused to stand for the pledge of allegiance for fourth, fifth and sixth grades because she was Canadian.
2. Pee-wee said that at one of the Broadway performances, a six-year-old girl sitting in the front row provided two additional moments of hilarity by not entirely understanding jokes early and late in the show. Unless she did understand them all too well. Hmmm.
3. At the curtain call, that young hottie you don't recognize is Lexy Fridell. She provided the voices for Chairry, Magic Screen, Ginger, Fish and Flowers.
4. You'll also see Lexy Fridell in a separate scene alongside Caesar Samayoa (who was the understudy for several characters), and in it, everyone in the audience is only pretending to clap and cheer. Pee-wee said we could all have great careers as extras in film and TV.
5. There's a guy inside Conky 3000?!? When they needed to go back later and film a pickup for one key shot, it took a few minutes getting the guy into the robot suit.
6. During the wait for the reshoot, a puppeteer controlling Pterri taunted other characters with some naughty dance moves.
7. Pee-wee brought up a stagehand who had a ring much similar to Pee-wee's abstinence ring, only not quite as plastic.
8. Pee-wee bantered with several audience members and told us his favorite joke currently involves his response to many fans.
9. A middle-aged man did get Pee-wee's attention, however, by boasting that if Pee-wee would lend him another abstinence ring, that he'd propose to his girlfriend. Pee-wee did. He did. And she said yes.
10. Pee-wee polled the audience to find out how they followed him via social media. Twitter got the loudest response, followed by Foursquare, with Facebook trailing well behind.
11. But if you've unlocked Pee-wee's badge on Foursquare and are in NYC on Sunday, well, then you're going to be in for a treat.
12. Pee-wee let fans know that if they stuck around, they could wait for him in the breezeway outside the theater near the Stage Door. True to his word, Pee-wee emerged and talked to fans until close to midnight (see above photo taken by one fan). He talked about the importance of art. He thanked fans for supporting him so much in his comeback. And he asked fans to be kind to one another. Who knew that you could have met Pee-wee outside the Stage Door every night this winter?
13. Me. You may not see me. But if you look at row J on the aisle in the orchestra, then you may just see me!
Back in 1981, HBO put Pee-wee Herman on the pop-culture map by airing his first stage production from Los Angeles. Now that Pee-wee's 2010 comeback has come completely full circle with a successful Broadway run, the pay-cable network will be broadcasting his new take on the Playhouse, three decades later. HBO will tape the show immediately after Pee-wee's Broadway run ends on Jan. 2, 2011, and air it early next year.
HBO shot footage with Pee-wee and his celebrity friends at his Broadway premiere. Roll it!
And since this is Christmas, I'd be remiss if I didn't clue you in to the fact that peewee.com features a link to stream Pee-wee's Playhouse Christmas Special from 1988. So if you want to see Pee-wee perform alongside his original Playhouse gang, plus special appearances from Oprah, Charo, Dinah Shore, Joan Rivers, Magic Johnson, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Little Richard, k.d. lang, Grace Jones, the Del Rubio Triplets, Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon, and a singing group of men dressed up as Marines in the days definitely before "don't ask, don't tell," then what are you waiting for? What better way to put a smile on your face at the end of this Christmas?!
Just to put a smile on your face for the next four minutes and forty-four seconds, click on this clip of Pee-wee Herman walking the streets of New York City. He may be 58, but he still brings out the kids in all of us, it seems.
You may think that on this Election Day, it's important to ask U.S. Senate candidate Linda McMahon why she hasn't mentioned that her husband, Vince, is brain-dead in a coma -- possibly because he's seeking medical attention from Freddie Prinze Jr. (see the shocking video evidence!) -- but something else happened last night on WWE RAW.
Pee-wee Herman hosted! He popped up during the show first backstage, in a segment with Mark Henry and the Divas in which they play Twister, and we learn that Mark Henry does not know his right hand from his left hand.
Then Pee-wee took to the ring -- RING! -- and challenged the Miz, with a little help from his "cousin," The Big Show.
As we get closer to the Broadway debut of Pee-wee Herman, Pee-wee is generating interest with his fans and followers via Twitter and now Foursquare, checking in at various places around New York City this week. Here he is at a parking garage near Little Italy and Chinatown. Oooh. He also says he's going to Katz's Deli at noon. Will you be there, too?
If you missed it last weekend, Paul Reubens sat down to talk about the origins of Pee-wee as part of the New Yorker Festival. I missed it, so I relied on the official New Yorker recap, as well as the longer take from Whitney Matheson at USA Today's Pop Candy.
We've also begun seeing TV ads for the show. One ran during SNL. Here it is to help you get excited. Are you excited yet? Roll it!
Remember all the way back a couple of weeks ago when Pee-wee Herman filed a correspondent report for Jay Leno about his trip to the Sturgis motorcycle rally? Whether you've seen that or not, here's a second perspective on Pee-wee's weekend with the hogs of Harley-Davidson, courtesy of Funny or Die. Similar, yet totally different.
Pee-wee Herman attended the 70th anniversary of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota. Yes, he filed a video short for Jay Leno. But the details are unimportant. You can check out Pee-wee's own photos from the event via his Twitter/yfrog photostream.
Here are the video highlights. Roll 'em!
While nerds are waiting in line for hours upon hours to look at a few minutes of a movie trailer or see movie and TV stars in person from hundred of feet away (I'm sure the weather is lovely in San Diego for Comic-Con, at least), Pee-wee Herman has unveiled his brand-new poster for his upcoming fall production on Broadway. Yay!
For more information on seeing Pee-wee on Broadway, visit his official site. His limited six-week NYC engagement begins Oct. 26.
Pee-wee Herman (aka Paul Reubens) announced last night that Judd Apatow would be producing his first new movie in decades, with comedian/actor Paul Rust (a UCB mainstay who in some ways embodies a younger next-generation version of Pee-wee) on board to co-write the screenplay with Reubens. No director is attached yet.
Reubens made a big comeback over the winter with a restaging of "Pee-wee's Playhouse" in Los Angeles -- a Broadway run is set to start in October -- and he'll also be bringing Pee-Wee to the motorcycle rally in Sturgis, South Dakota, in August for what's billed as the "world's largest 'Tequila' dance."
Reubens told the New York Times' Dave Itzkoff in an interview today that Apatow wants him and Rust to write a movie that puts Pee-wee in "a reality-based world and a liner road movie," much like his first "Big Adventure" film in 1985. “That appears to be what we’re doing,” Mr. Reubens said, “although it’s at such an early stage right now that there still exists the possibility that this could turn into the ‘Playhouse’ movie. I don’t think we know the answer to that yet.”
If you went to the second night of Conan O'Brien's two-night stint at Radio City Music Hall, you may have been wondering if you'd get a repeat of Conan's dance-off (not pants-off) with Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart. Well, they didn't get that, but they did get a number of celebrities, and a surprise performance by Pee-wee Herman, who has his first Broadway run opening in October. Pee-wee went through the audience looking for groupies to take backstage with him and Conan, then took to the stage to demonstrate a balloon trick. Just watch Pee-wee in action. If that doesn't get you excited to see what he'll do when he takes his show from Los Angeles to New York City, then I don't know what to tell you.
Pee-wee is coming to Broadway! Roll the clip!
Paul Reubens and his stage producer Scott Sanders announced today that Reubens' hit stage comeback show of alter-ego Pee-wee Hermans will be Broadway-bound this fall, with a six-week limited engagement at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre, 124 W. 43rd St. -- Previews bowing Oct. 26, an official opening on Nov. 11, and running through Dec. 5. Tickets go on sale June 1.
Pee-wee alerted his fans on Facebook and Twitter just before the announcement, telling followers: "Time for my secret announcement! Just a couple minutes! Get ready to SCREAM REAL LOUD 'cuz there's even a word of the day for you!"
Turns out the secret word is two words. He suggested "my pals on Facebook" enter GLOBEY at http://www.peewee.com/broadway/ for pre-sale ticket access, while "you awesome fans in the twitterverse" should enter the word SCREAM.
After finding out that at 57, Reubens not only could still pull off the role of Pee-wee, but that fans would pack a theatre and love the results -- he had a sold-out run in Los Angeles earlier this year -- he now has to wait until the fall to see if he can duplicate his success in New York City. As he told the New York Times in an interview today, he's already impatient: "The pressure of Twittering and Facebook posting between now and when I open is just daunting.”
Perhaps you heard that Apple announced its latest "tablet" super-sized version of the iPhone, except it's not a phone, but it still runs on 3G courtesy of AT&T, and it's called the iPad. So many jokes. So. Many. Jokes. Most people made the same joke. But what would happen when Pee-wee Herman got his hands on one of the first available iPads and showed it off to his friends, including one Magic Screen? Roll this "chosen one" clip from Funny or Die and find out?
Meanwhile, more people than you might think hit iPad into Google and found out that MADtv already spoofed a potential Apple iPad product a few years ago, with Arden Myrin using it as a tampon. Someone else used the computer technology to make it the real deal, though, so Steve Jobs actually was in on the joke this time. Roll the clip and you'll see what I mean.
Pee-wee Herman's big comeback began earlier this week with previews of his brand-new stage show, which runs through the first week of February at Club Nokia in Los Angeles. The TV show Extra broadcast the first few minutes from his dress rehearsal, in which we see the Playhouse characters welcome Pee-Wee, and also serenade him with pop-culture jingles. Oh. Also. The secret word of the day. It looks like fun, doesn't it? Roll the clip!
Related reading: There's a lengthy feature on Pee-wee in this week's LA Weekly.
If you are or were a fan of Pee-wee Herman, Paul Reubens' iconic man-child creation, then which situation would displease you more: Having your travel plans dashed (and paying cancellation/exchange fees) because Reubens delayed his comeback show for two months? Or...spending however much money you paid to go see The Pee-wee Herman Show in November and being utterly disappointed for the rest of your life? I know those aren't the only two options, but still. C'mon, people. The Los Angeles Times talked to fans who are angry about this. Get some perspective.
My team has been working hard all day to get to the bottom of the problems some of you are having getting new tickets. Please make sure you are calling Ticketmaster at 1-800-653-8000. The process involves a refund of your old tickets then the opportunity to purchase new tickets for comparable prices and comparable seats at the new venue. This whole process began today at 10am PST and will continue until 10pm PST on Thursday, October 14th PST. If you do not exchange your tickets by this date and time you will receive an automatic refund. If you are being told anything different tell them Pee-wee sent you!! I know the customer service reps are being inundated with calls from all my fans and it is taking everyone time to choose new seats. They promised me everyone will be taken care of. Thank you for your patience!
Here's the deal. Reubens announced he finally was putting the Pee-wee suit and bow tie back on for the first time in decades, and it stirred up all sorts of memories. And fans began buying up tickets, so much so that it became obvious he'd have to extend the length of the show or go into a bigger venue. The decision was made to find a bigger theater. At the same time, though, could he still pull off the character? His first big splash was in primetime with Jay Leno:
This was a bit awkward, but I think we can chalk that up more to Leno, really. I'm not surprised, however, that Reubens and everyone involved would want to make sure that if this comeback is getting this much attention from fans, that they want to make sure the show is going to reward these fans. So waiting a couple of months more may be worth it for all parties concerned.
The Pee-wee Herman Show now is scheduled for Jan. 12 through Feb. 7, 2010, at Club Nokia @ LA Live.
Production notes: Scott Sanders has joined the team as lead producer, while Alex Timbers is now directing the show, an adaptation from the original production by Reubens, Bill Steinkellner and John Paragon. Joining this production is Miss Yvonne, Mailman Mike, Cowboy Curtis and Jambi the Genie, as well as Pee-wee’s talking chair, Chairry, Pterri the pterodactyl, Conky the robot, Magic Screen, Randy, and more. Many of the show’s original artists, both on stage and behind the scenes are involved in this re-imagined production. David Korins, the show’s scenic designer, will work with Gary Panter, one of the most influential artists of his generation and designer of both the original stage production and CBS’s Pee-wee’s Playhouse. The show’s original musical composer, Jay Cotton, is busily writing new material.