Paul Reubens turns 64-years-old on Saturday (Aug. 27). That’s hard to believe, really. It’s probably due to the simple fact that his most famous character, Pee-wee Herman, has existed in the pop culture ethos for roughly four decades.
Capitalizing on the over-the-top man-child character he original created at The Groundlings Theater in Hollywood, California in the late ’70s, Reubens proceeded to turn Pee-wee into a global sensation. A decade later, his children’s show was an Emmys goldmine for CBS. He’s been through a lot since then, yet through the face of adversity — that indecent exposure charge, for example — Pee-wee has somehow continued to persevere.
To celebrate the momentous occasion, Zap2it takes a look back at 4 of Pee-wee’s best pop culture moments … outside the Playhouse.
The 1991 MTV Video Music Awards
Just 10 days after the lewd act that led to his Florida arrest, Reubens put on the Pee-wee suit and stepped out in front of a packed house. It was his surprise appearance that helped kick off that year’s VMAs and, while it was the same year that CBS pulled the plug on his popular TV show, the crowd’s reaction cemented just how beloved Mr. Herman is to the world.
‘WWE Raw’ feud with The Miz
To promote The Pee-wee Herman Show on Broadway, Reubens appeared on Monday Night Raw and had some words with The Miz. It may seem odd to see Pee-wee up there in the ring, but die-hard wrestling fans know this isn’t the first time Pee-wee verbally sparred with a WWE champ.
30 years ago, Pee-wee Herman feuded with Rowdy Roddy Piper in one of the more bizarre Saturday morning TV moments.
His ‘Top Chef’ appearance
Pee-wee has popped up in odd places throughout the years, and one of his weirder guest appearances was in 2012 when he was a guest judge on “Top Chef.” Still, it was a nice change of pace to watch the competing cooks present an assortment of pancakes to the man of the hour. Who doesn’t love pancakes?
The Rock meets Pee-wee
Again, it’s worth noting Pee-wee Herman’s love of wrestling. After his feud with The Miz, Pee-wee showed up at “WrestleMania 27.” No, the two didn’t end up tussling in the ring — could you even imagine how that would go down? — but Herman did find a new friend in Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Team Bring It, forever!