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July 31, 2023
Paul Reubens (Pee Herman) dies, issues an apology to fans for keeping his six-year cancer battle private
Paul Reubens, the comedian behind Pee Wee Herman, passed away after a six-year battle with cancer on Sunday. He was seventy years old.
The announcement was made on his Instagram page, which called the actor and comedian: "A gifted and prolific talent, he will forever live in the comedy pantheon and in our hearts as a treasured friend and man of remarkable character and generosity of spirit."
It includes Pee Wee's last message to his fans. An apology:
"Please accept my apology for what I've been facing for the last six years. I have always felt a huge amount of love and respect from my friends, fans, and supporters. I have loved you all so much and enjoyed making art for you."
I say this both as someone who lost his mother this year to cancer and as someone who had his fifth-grade teacher tell him to stop writing Pee Wee Herman stories for creative writing assignments, it's not something that anyone ever needs to apologize for.
Reubens' "Pee Wee Herman" character started off for adults, including a late-night HBO comedy special of "children's" show "The Pee Wee Herman Show." This led to an actual Saturday morning kids' show "Pee Wee's Playhouse" and the movie "Pee Wee's Big Adventure."
Then one day in a Florida adult movie theater, Reubens was caught "playing with his bike" in public. It seems silly considering what celebrities can be caught doing (and get away with doing) these days. Herman addressed the situation in hilarious fashion at the 1991 MTV Music Video Awards: "Heard any good jokes lately? So funny I forgot to laugh."
There has been a lot made about how Hollywood doesn't let comedies be made anymore. In the 80s and 90s, around the time when movie rentals became a thing, we'd watch our favorite comedies so many times the dialogue would be our vernacular. The VERY FIRST movie my friends and I had memorized backward and forwards was "Pee Wee's Big Adventure."
To this day when someone makes a Large Marge reference or says "I'm a loner Dottie, a rebel" it still gets a chuckle. I'd be surprised if a week goes by where an Alamo tour guide doesn't get asked where the basement is.
And if you ever read me using "Exhibit Q" to describe a plethora of examples in a blog post, that's from Pee Wee too. JUPITER WAS ALIGNED WITH PLUTO. THE MOON WAS IN ITS SEVENTH...
Thoughts, prayers, and a "Mecka-lecka-hi mecka-heinie-ho" to his family and friends. Rest in Peace, Pee Wee. Ride your bike toward the light.
Brodigan is Grand Poobah of this here website and when he isn't writing words about things enjoys day drinking, pro-wrestling, and country music. You can find him on the Twitter too.
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