This week, we’re replaying our 2014 conversation with Paul Reubens, the man behind Pee-wee Herman. Pee-wee is, of course, a beloved character among kids who grew up in the 1980s and 90s. He’s the star of Pee-wee’s Playhouse, Pee-wee’s Big Adventure and so many others.
Pee-wee’s Playhouse remains a singular achievement in kid’s TV. It’s a kitschy pastiche of a thousand TV shows that went before it, but it’s also much more than that: it’s a kaleidoscope of difference, a tribute to the big dreams and big feelings of being a kid. And it’s so, so funny.
In this interview, Paul tells us about growing up in a circus town, working hard to make Pee-wee Herman seem real, and why Pee-wee is a little bit of a jerk — and why that makes him work as a character.
Paul is reviving Pee-wee Herman one more time, now on radio. The Pee-wee Herman Radio Hour is a collaboration between Paul, Maximum Fun and KCRW, a public radio station in Los Angeles. If you’re in LA, you can hear it live on the radio on Friday, Nov. 26 at 6 p.m. Pacific – that’s 89.9 on your FM dial. It’ll also be streaming on KCRW.com for a week after that.
About the show
Bullseye is a celebration of the best of arts and culture in public radio form. Host Jesse Thorn sifts the wheat from the chaff to bring you in-depth interviews with the most revered and revolutionary minds in our culture.
Bullseye has been featured in Time, The New York Times, GQ and McSweeney’s, which called it “the kind of show people listen to in a more perfect world.” Since April 2013, the show has been distributed by NPR.
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