Paul Reubens - Rotten Tomatoes

Paul Reubens



American comic actor Pee-Wee Herman was born Paul Rubenfield, which he later shortened professionally to Paul Reubens. While growing up in Sarasota, FL, Reubens began acting in junior high school, carrying this extracurricular interest through several colleges before graduating from the California Institute of the Arts. A natural-born clown, Reubens joined an improv group called the Groundlings, which during its existence would boast such formidable talent as Phil Hartman and Jon Lovitz. In 1978, Reubens developed the comic persona of Pee-Wee Herman, a childlike, squeaky-voiced kiddie show host reminiscent of Pinky Lee (with a little Soupy Sales thrown in). Soon "The Pee-Wee Herman Show" became a nightclub act unto itself; this multi-layered skewing of the whole children's entertainment ethic included a huge supporting cast, deliberately repulsive puppets, bizarre props, and, of course, Pee-Wee himself, who cavorted about the set like a baby speed freak. Reubens, who for all intents and purposes was Pee-Wee Herman at this point, was given frequent TV exposure thanks to Late Night With David Letterman and the home-video version of The Pee-Wee Herman Show. With former Groundling Phil Hartman, Pee-Wee/Reubens co-scripted the 1985 film Pee-Wee's Big Adventure. Though it was the inaugural project of director Tim Burton, it was not Pee-Wee's first film (he'd already shown up in The Blues Brothers [1980] and Cheech and Chong's Nice Dreams [1981]). A surrealistic reworking of the classic Italian film The Bicycle Thief, Pee-Wee's Big Adventure was a tad too bizarre for its distributor Warner Bros. The studio chose to release the film slowly on a regional basis -- but when the box-offices began to bulge, Warners gave the film a major big-city push. Audiences immediately understood that Pee-Wee's Big Adventure was meant to be a nine-year-old's notion of the Perfect World; critics, to whom nothing is ever simple, insisted upon reading all sorts of motivation and subtext into the film, and suddenly Pee-Wee Herman was the darling of the wine-and-cheese crowd. In 1986, Pee-Wee launched a Saturday morning kid's show, Pee-Wee's Playhouse, which immediately scored a hit, attracting as many adults as children (some of those adults began renting the original Pee-Wee Herman Show for their children, assuming that it would be as "safe" as the Saturday morning program -- only to be amazed at how raunchy the earlier Pee-Wee could be). The performer's popularity peaked in 1988, at which time his second film, Big Top Pee-Wee, was released. This film was not as cohesive nor as funny as the first, and it was a disappointment for both Reubens and his fans. The actor began announcing plans to "kill" his alter-ego and become Paul Reubens again in public. But the death of "Pee-Wee" came not as a suicide, but more of a crime of passion when Reubens was arrested in 1991 for indecent exposure at a screening of a porno movie. Backlash from the incident -- including the pulling of Pee-Wee merchandise off the shelves of stores and CBS' immediate cancellation of his Saturday morning show -- effectively forced the performer to abandon the Pee-Wee character. Since his fateful night at the movies, Reubens has appeared as the Penguin's father in Batman Returns (1992), a hand-me-down Dracula in Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992), and a voice in Tim Burton's animated feature The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993). Reubens also became a semi-regular guest on the CBS television sitcom Murphy Brown. As time went on the public either forgot or forgave Reubens for his past indiscretions, and after a series of small film roles lead to larger roles in such films as Blow (2000), Reubens' past (as well as the Pee-Wee Herman alter-ego that made him famous) faded, giving the public a chance to reacquaint themselves with the actor outside of the context of his once-famous persona. In 2001 Reubens' popularity experienced something of a revival as he returned to television as the host o

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Filmography

MOVIES

RATING TITLE CREDIT YEAR
No Score Yet Mosaic
  • Actor
2017
82% Pee-wee's Big Holiday
  • Screenwriter
  • Producer
  • Pee-wee Herman
2016
6% Accidental Love
  • Edwin
2015
85% Above and Beyond
  • Remarks
2015
No Score Yet Frank or Francis
  • Actor
2015
No Score Yet Lego DC Comics: Batman Be-Leaguered
  • Bat-Mite
2014
13% The Smurfs 2
  • Jokey Smurf
2013
No Score Yet Tom and Jerry's Giant Adventure
  • Screwy Squirrel
2013
90% Beauty Is Embarrassing
  • Actor
2012
No Score Yet Robot Chicken DC Comics Special
  • Actor
2012
22% The Smurfs
  • Jokey Smurf
2011
No Score Yet The Pee-wee Herman Show On Broadway
  • Actor
2011
69% Life During Wartime
  • Andy
2010
No Score Yet Pee-wee's Playhouse: The Movie
  • Actor
2009
36% The Tripper
  • Frank Baker
2007
34% Reno 911!: Miami
  • Sir Terrence
2007
No Score Yet Re-Animated
  • Golly
2006
76% Teacher's Pet
  • Dennis
2004
No Score Yet Pee-Wee Playhouse: Christmas Special
  • Actor
2004
55% Blow
  • Derek Foreal
2001
14% South of Heaven, West of Hell
  • Arvid Henry
2000
60% Mystery Men
  • The Spleen
1999
43% Dr. Dolittle
  • Raccoon
1998
0% Beauty and the Beast - The Enchanted Christmas
  • Fife
1997
25% Buddy
  • Professor Spatz
1997
90% Matilda
  • FBI Agent
1996
6% Dunston Checks In
  • Buck La Farge
1996
94% The Nightmare Before Christmas
  • Lock
1993
35% Buffy the Vampire Slayer
  • Amilyn
1992
80% Batman Returns
  • Penguin's Father
1992
No Score Yet Pee-Wee's Playhouse - V. 5 - Restaurant
  • Actor
1990
35% Big Top Pee-wee
  • Screenwriter
1988
No Score Yet Pee-Wee's Playhouse: V. 5
  • Actor
1988
No Score Yet Pee-Wee's Playhouse: V. 2
  • Actor
1988
No Score Yet Pee-Wee's Playhouse: Christmas Special
  • Director
  • Actor
  • Screenwriter
1988
71% Back to the Beach
  • Pee-Wee Herman
1987
No Score Yet Star Tours
  • Actor
1987
81% Flight of the Navigator
  • Max
1986
89% Pee-wee's Big Adventure
  • Screenwriter
  • Pee-Wee Herman
1985
No Score Yet Meatballs Part II
  • Albert/Hara Krishna
1984
No Score Yet The Pee-Wee Herman Show
  • Actor
1983
No Score Yet Pandemonium
  • Johnson
1982
43% Cheech and Chong's Nice Dreams
  • Howie Hamburger
1981
85% The Blues Brothers
  • Waiter
1980
No Score Yet Midnight Madness
  • Pinball Proprietor
1980
No Score Yet Cheech and Chong's Next Movie
  • Pee Wee Herman/Desk Clerk
1980
No Score Yet Pray TV a/k/a K-GOD
  • Actor
1980
No Score Yet Pee-Wee's Playhouse - Fun-O-Rama
  • Actor

TV

RATING TITLE CREDIT
83% Gotham
2014
  • Elijah Van Dahl
No Score Yet Ally McBeal
1997-2002
  • Louis Foy
No Score Yet Jimmy Kimmel Live
2003
  • Guest
No Score Yet Pushing Daisies
2007-2009
  • Oscar Vibenius
No Score Yet Late Night With Jimmy Fallon
2009-2014
  • Guest
No Score Yet Face Off
2011
  • Appearing
No Score Yet Comedy Bang! Bang!
2012
  • Guest
No Score Yet WWE Monday Night Raw
1993
  • Guest
No Score Yet Late Night With Seth Meyers
2014
  • Guest
97% Portlandia
2011
  • Actor
No Score Yet The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon
2014
  • Guest
81% 30 Rock
2006-2013
  • Actor
No Score Yet Conan
2010
  • Guest
84% The Blacklist
2013
  • Actor
No Score Yet Saturday Night Live
1975
  • Guest
No Score Yet Top Chef
2006
  • Judge

Quotes from Paul Reubens' Characters