Watch and listen to highlights of Paul Reubens talking about the career arc of Pee-wee Herman

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.


You can also listen to Reubens talk with Scott Aukerman from the live Comedy Death-Ray Radio podcast at SXSW.

Sean L. McCarthy

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

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