Once there, Reubens studied drama at the California Institute of the Arts and performed with the improv group The Groundlings during the 1970s. It was there that he developed the Pee-wee character, an innocent man-boy who enjoyed playing tricks on his friends. His signature gray suit, small red bow tie, slicked back hair and silly dance moves completed the caricature. In 1981, HBO aired one of Reubens’ live shows, and the Pee-wee phenomenon began.
In 1985, Reubens built on the popularity of his Pee-wee character by releasing his first feature film, Pee-wee’s Big Adventure. The movie was directed by Tim Burton and was a huge hit at the box office. With his star on the rise, Reubens soon signed with CBS to develop the seminal Saturday morning children’s program Pee-wee’s Playhouse, which ran from 1986 to 1990. The show featured appearances by such future stars as Laurence Fishburne and Phil Hartman.
In recent years, Reubens has taken on an interesting mix of projects. He brought his most popular character to Broadway in 2010, starring in The Pee-wee Herman Show. He made his debut as the voice of Jokey in the popular family comedy The Smurfs the following year and worked on its 2013 sequel as well. On television, Reubens has made guest appearances on such shows as Top Chef.
Pee-Wee Herman is available for corporate events, private shows, milestone celebrations (birthday, anniversary), fundraisers, festivals, and more.