Once upon a time, before Cowboy Curtis...
August 21, 2019 2:42 PM   Subscribe

The Pee-wee Herman Show, recorded live at the Roxy Theatre for HBO in 1981. (SFW but naughtier than Pee-wee's Playhouse.)
posted by Orange Dinosaur Slide (25 comments total) 34 users marked this as a favorite
 
How odd. I was just singing Captain Carl's cleanliness song to myself the other day.
posted by LionIndex at 2:54 PM on August 21, 2019


This was on pretty heavy rotation on HBO back in the day. I watched it repeatedly as a young kid--but probably wasn't supposed to.
posted by zardoz at 3:46 PM on August 21, 2019 [8 favorites]


Lol, yes, I taped this off HBO years ago. I've watched it dozens of times. Now, just the single parents in the audience!
posted by potrzebie at 3:54 PM on August 21, 2019


I also watched this a lot on HBO back in the day, and for me it is the Best Pee-Wee. It's more nuanced and clever than Pee-Wee's Big Adventure, and miles above what they did to turn it into Pee-Wee's Playhouse. I would have loved a series more like this, especially if it was aimed at adults instead of kids. I don't think Pee-Wee was ever really intended for kids.
posted by briank at 4:57 PM on August 21, 2019 [1 favorite]


Mekka lekka hi mekka heiny ho.
posted by Obscure Reference at 5:25 PM on August 21, 2019 [9 favorites]


It's an adult show disguised as a kid's show. I'm not sure everyone at HBO got that.
posted by zardoz at 5:27 PM on August 21, 2019 [4 favorites]


The luckiest boy in the world...so much luckier than you!
posted by Abehammerb Lincoln at 6:10 PM on August 21, 2019 [1 favorite]


What's genius is the way Paul Reubens was able to leverage this weird not-for-kids parody first into a perfect film with Tim Burton and then into a sort-of-for-kids-but-more-for-stoners TV series, making what was basically an off-brand overextended SNL skit into a money machine without anything but an HBO slot and a whole lot of moxie and makeup.
posted by rikschell at 6:11 PM on August 21, 2019 [16 favorites]


Didn't this have a revival in relatively recent history?
posted by roll truck roll at 6:26 PM on August 21, 2019


I saw this when I was 10 - the year it came out - repeatedly. It explains a lot, actually.
posted by hilberseimer at 6:49 PM on August 21, 2019 [1 favorite]


Holy crap do I miss Phil Hartman.
posted by JoeZydeco at 6:53 PM on August 21, 2019 [15 favorites]


Didn't this have a revival in relatively recent history?

Reubens staged a revival of Playhouse on Broadway in 2010.
posted by JoeZydeco at 6:56 PM on August 21, 2019 [2 favorites]


I think it also got a boost (in my household, anyway) from the release of set director Wayne White’s documentary, Beauty Is Embarrassing, a little while back. There is just so much to appreciate!!

Also, in the TV pilot of Pee-Wee’s Playhouse, Natasha Lyonne!!
posted by witchen at 7:07 PM on August 21, 2019 [4 favorites]


Oh, god, I remember watching this back then. Just the best. Inspired insanity.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:34 PM on August 21, 2019


Whoa, I've seen this a million times but I never realized until now that Hammy is played by Tito Larriva of The Plugz and his sister Susan is ex-Germs manager Nicole Panter.
posted by cazoo at 8:29 PM on August 21, 2019 [4 favorites]


One of my favorite moments from the MST3K reboot was calling this guy "Dr. Pee Wee Kissinger".

Anyway, I had never seen this before despite growing up with the kid's show. It's amazing to see all the little similarities/differences, like the foil ball or Pterry the Pterodactyl. I disagree about who, exactly, this screwball thingy is "for". The golden rule is kids don't like being talked down to, but are ok with things not 100% making sense to them because nothing ever does anyway, and the big secret is it never does no matter how old you get. So a kids show-but-not-but-is is the best kind, IMHO.
posted by traveler_ at 8:51 PM on August 21, 2019 [6 favorites]


The first time I heard of Pee Wee was when my brother saw his show on tour, maybe around 1983. Then, when the movie came out, we went and saw it on opening night and that was the first time I got stoned and went to the movies.

National treasure!
posted by rhizome at 9:06 PM on August 21, 2019 [2 favorites]


Mekka lekka hi mekka heiny ho.
posted by
Obscure Reference
               ^^^^^
I call false advertising!!
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:49 PM on August 21, 2019 [2 favorites]


I never watched Pee Wee growing up. I started this video. I clicked to a random bit in the middle to get a sense of it. First thing is a joke about a penis. Second thing is a joke about looking up a girl's skirt with mirrors and the punchline is "I'm not wearing underwear." I turned off the video.

I feel like this has aged very badly.
posted by Scattercat at 1:38 AM on August 22, 2019 [1 favorite]


But dang and all, is this where Mr. Bungle got Mr. Bungle from?
posted by Homemade Interossiter at 3:55 AM on August 22, 2019


I feel like this has aged very badly.

It hasn't aged at all.

It's like french cinema but without the subtitles. Or, mercifully, the french.
posted by hal9k at 4:55 AM on August 22, 2019 [6 favorites]


There’s a lot of context you’re missing in Pee Wee by pulling out random lines of the show. If it’s not your cup of tea that’s cool, but give the work a fair shake.
posted by JoeZydeco at 5:55 AM on August 22, 2019 [6 favorites]


I also saw this a million times when it came out and I was ten. I knew it was subversive but some of the jokes still flew over my naive little head. Jambi getting his new hands and saying “There’s something I’ve been wanting to do with these for a long time” was a joke grenade that took a couple of years to go off!
posted by ejs at 6:08 AM on August 22, 2019 [6 favorites]


David Letterman:
"What makes me laugh . . . is that [Pee-wee] has the external structure of a bratty little precocious kid, but you know it's being controlled by the incubus -- the manifestation of evil itself."
posted by JoeZydeco at 2:27 PM on August 22, 2019 [1 favorite]


Isn't that every child?
posted by Greg_Ace at 7:53 PM on August 22, 2019 [1 favorite]


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