The age of celebrities that we grew up with seems to be coming up a lot here at MamaPop. We bring up landmark birthdays for two reasons. One, it’s because we were all kids of the 80s and 90s and the progression of time, while inevitable, has the ability to sneak up on us. And two, we spend each and every day collapsed in corners in our basements, wiping tears from our eyes and cursing at the heavens as we realize our own terrifying and horrible mortality. It’s not healthy at all. So get ready for another shock to your fading memory and pulverized joints because Pee Wee Herman turned 60 yesterday!
Yep, the man who single-handedly…um, excuse me…
MUST. FIGHT. URGE. TO MAKE. NON-STOP. MASTURBATION JOKES.
OK, I’m better. The man who single-handedly entertained an entire generation of kids every Saturday morning by acting like one himself is now 60-years-old. I guess that’s why it’s so shocking. Pee-Wee was always one of us kids. He had a sweet bike. He loved to joke around. He let his imagination rule his entire world. Pee-Wee, on TV and in the theater, was the “grown-up” we all swore we’d be like when we grew up. On our own, but still with our heads in the clouds. Independent, but still a kid. Pee-Wee’s Playhouse is what our collective rooms turned into whenever we shut the door and were left to our own devices. Pee-Wee was childhood’s ideal distilled into a bad suit and a bow-tie.
Sure, there were some…”transgressions”…that occurred in Reubens’ life, but no matter what happened in reality, the character of Pee-Wee Herman always seems to be able to make a comeback. So in honor of Paul Reuben’s 60th birthday, I proudly present to you Pee-Wee Herman’s top 5 gifts to society!
5 – The Best/Weirdest Anti-Drug PSA Ever
It’s the best PSA ever, because it was earnest and genuinely wanted to warn kids about the dangers of crack. It’s also the weirdest, because every time I see it I can’t help but imagine a room full of drug lords who decide to get out of the business after hearing Pee-Wee’s grave warnings.
4 – Tequila
Honestly, I could have made about 87 entries on this list and the vast majority would be every scene from Pee Wee’s Big Adventure. In this landmark scene, Pee-Wee Herman presented me with the dance I would perform at every wedding I was ever invited to from 1985 to 199…who am I kidding, I still do this. I’m a hit with the ladies.
3 - Pee-Wee’s Zippy Comebacks
“I know you are, but what am I?”
“If you like it so much then why don’t you marry it?”
“Take a picture, it will last longer!”
“That’s my name, don’t wear it out.”
It may seem silly, but I can’t tell you how much I relied on some of the one-liners Pee-Wee Herman taught me. Growing up and not being the tallest or most athletic of guys, you’d be surprised how many of these comebacks turned many a would-be bullying situation into a juvenile debate that usually ended up in all parties laughing. It’s weird, but I owe a lot of my crisis management skills to Pee-Wee Herman.
2 – The Morals at the End of Every Episode
Pee-Wee’s Playhouse was a loud, frenetic, and genuinely funny kids show. It also made sure to have a point when all of the fun and games were done. It was never beat-you-over-the-head sappy or preachy, but when all was said and done, we learned a little about stuff like sharing, being kind, and how good it is to learn while you’re having fun. It was a scream-ier Sesame Street.
1 – This.
Only this. The 80s would not be complete without Large Marge.
Well, that’s what I’ve got, what about you? What are your favorite ways that Pee-Wee Herman contributed to society, aside from fueling every single late-night talk show joke for a solid seven years? Leave them below and SCREAM REAL LOUD!!!