User menu

Main menu

Entertainment

TV

The 8 Weirdest Pee-wee Herman Appearances Outside of the Playhouse

The 11-disc Pee-wee's Playhouse: The Complete Collection hit stores this week, handily assembling all 45 episodes (plus the Christmas special that featured Oprah, Cher, Charo, k.d. lang, even Magic Johnson) in one convenient package. But Pee-wee's distinguished career extends well beyond CBS Saturday mornings, two feature films (one directed by Tim Burton, the other involving, uhhh, a circus led by Kris Kristofferson). Here are the eight weirdest places he's turned up outside of his own little world...and no, we're not counting anything where he's credited as "Paul Reubens" (especially his rap sheet).

8. Cheech & Chong's Nice Dreams (1981)
Okay, we lied. You'll find Paul Reubens' name in the credits to Cheech & Chong's third flick (and second to feature Reubens), but it's obvious he was testing out a Pee-wee prototype character (this one a coke-snorting mental patient named Hamburger) in the clips below. We're just glad "SORRY" wasn't the Secret Word that day...




7. Flight of the Navigator (1986)
Some guy named "Paul Mall" was credited as the straight-man voice of Max, the A.I. pilot of the funky clam-shaped ship. But come on, that sure as hell ain't Gilbert Gottfried bidding his kid co-pilot adieu.



6. Comic Relief with Minnie Pearl (1986)
Shortly after that unfortunate incident in the porno theater (you remember the one, right?), Pee-wee made what would be his last appearance for 15 years at a Minnie Pearl tribute concert at Nashville's Grand Ole Opry in 1992. (We can only imagine what topic of discussion he and Barbara Mandrell hit upon backstage.) The photo below was taken at a Comic Relief event six years earlier, where Pee-wee and Pearl formed a pop-culture photo-op alliance rivaling that of Nixon and Elvis.

5. Back to the Beach (1987)
It's a safe bet that millions of kids were friggin' psyched for Back to the Beach, as Pee-wee's goofy mug was plastered on the poster. Instead, they were treated to an odd beach-movie spoof starring a bunch of wrinkled celebs who likely wandered in from the autograph convention circuit long enough to get a decent meal from catering. Pee-wee hamming it up with his version of "Surfin' Bird" ain't exactly essential viewing, but it's the best three minutes of the movie.



4. 1991 MTV Video Music Awards
Fair warning: The quality of the clip below is only marginally better than what Paul Reubens was probably watching in that Sarasota theater in 1991, but you can at least make out Pee-wee and hear his zinger to end all zingers. Give credit where it's due: This is the only guy who's ever received a standing ovation from a capacity crowd following an arrest for spanking the Conky in public.


3. Robbing a candy store with Regis Philbin
Picking a near-octogenarian as your partner in crime and dressing him in matching duds doesn't seem like the best plan for promoting your new Broadway show. (In fact, it sounds like the plot of an Adam West Batman episode.) At least the old man can keep a grip on his M&M's.

2. Bryan Adams' "Reggae Christmas" video
You know who probably has a good handle on Christmas in an impoverished country like Jamaica? A rich white Canadian like Bryan Adams. Less offensive than the song itself (and Pee-wee prancing around the early MTV set in bad dreads, seen in far better quality here) is the fact that Pee-wee seems to think Adams is totally fucking awesome. Irie irie? Not so much.



1. Crack is wack
We appreciate the sentiment behind this anti-drug PSA and all, but was a slightly off-kilter man-child who spazzes out in a surreal drug-trip of a playhouse with pithy genies, talking floors and bowling dinosaurs really the best spokesman for the war on drugs?