Good Night PeeWee!
Sad news, friends. It has just been announced that PeeWee Herman (actor Paul Reubens) has been struggling with cancer for the last 6 years and has just lost that battle, passing away on Sunday evening..
I read it on Rolling Stone, but wanted to write about it here. He was a big influence on me as a young performer, and despite his fall from grace (due to an overblown incident at an adult cinema), Peewee had been on the rebound.
He was an iconic clown, a great performer, and one of the original “commit to your outre character” guys who managed to inspire and influence the generation after them- Stephen Colbert, Borat, Jiminy Glick, Dame Edna and hundreds of other performers used the model of Peewee to create their work, whether they acknowledge it or not. Peewee broke new and original ground, and occupied an interesting mix of adult and childlike humor that seemed to appeal to all different kinds of audiences.
His children’s show Peewee’s Playhouse, broke original ground because it looked like it was designed for kids, and worked for kids, but there was plenty of double entendre, and sophisticated humor for hip 20 and 30 somethings to love and cherish. I know I was a big fan as an adult when I first encountered it. That and the two movies that followed “PeeWee’s Big Adventure” and “Big Top Peewee” both managed to cement him as a star for both kids and adults.
There will be other and better written elegies of Peewee’s work in the days to come, but I was devastated when I heard the news and wanted to make sure I put something up here.
Goodnight PeeWee. This joke isn’t funny, and we won’t forget to laugh.