Pee Wee Herman returning to the stage


We're going to take it as read that Pee Wee Herman shows up on the radars of at least a few of our readers. Maybe some of you grew up with Pee Wee's Playhouse, the "children's" show starring Paul Reubens' abrasively enthusiastic man-child of the same name.

Or perhaps you all got the bejesus creeped out of you during Tim Burtons' somehow unnerving take on the character in Pee Wees Big Adventure.

And maybe just a few of you yawned through Big Top Pee Wee, but we're betting it's not many.

Reubens as Pee Wee Herman in the Pee Wee Show.

You might not know that long before Pee Wee Herman was a television and film sensation, he was a stage phenomenon, running a live version of his playhouse antics that were a shining acme of surrealist comedy. A discomfitingly saccharine take on American youth that is so unflinching and gazes so strongly at the perversions any whitewash attempts to conceal, his show netted him fame, and the cameras came calling.

It has, of course, been a dark middle passage for Reubens. You know, after the great porn theater spankery of 1991 that erased his name from all but scandolous headlines and pretty much terminated his ability to play Pee Wee with a clean conscience.

Well, take heart, you well-to-do jet set-- Pee Wee's stage show is being revived at the L.A. Music Box for a run that starts November 8. Why should you care? there are rumors that the show might travel, and that it may reignite interest in Reubens' proposed dark-as-ink Pee Wee biopic, interest which flagged just as the whispers were seeming hottest.

The stage show is outstanding-- keep your eye peeled on Comedy Central-- filmed versions of it occasionally make their way on air. A word of warning-- it's not for kids. But deep down, we all knew that Pee Wee never really was.