Anne and I got to go see The Pee Wee Herman show last night. It was phenomenal, and I realized about 20 minutes into the show that I was sitting on the edge of my seat, grinning and jumping around like a little kid ... because that's pretty much how I used to watch Pee Wee's Playhouse.
After the show, we were fortunate enough to listen to Paul Reubens do a Q&A with about 100 people. As much as I loved the show, I would go back every night just to listen to him talk about acting, writing, comedy, and performing.
I asked a question about the scene in Pee Wee's Big Adventure that I talked about on RFB #19. I wanted to know if he improvised that, or if it was all in the script, and hoped that he would just talk about it a little bit, because I think that it's one of the most hilarious, perfect, subtle comedic acting performances I've ever seen.
He said that it was all in the script, confirmed that it was tremendously fun to do, and then told us how he did a show at the Groundlings a few years ago where he used that scene as inspiration. The show was a fake actor's showcase, where all the performers did actual scenes, but they did them the way really bad actors would do them. (The thing about showcases is that actors hope casting people to come see and hire them, but they never do. The audience ends up being friends and family - the same ones who have suffered through all the other showcases you've done - and it's all a little bit depressing.) The only catch was that, to be in the show, you couldn't do the same bad acting bit that someone else was doing. This was a tall order, because the were some extraordinarily talented comedic actors in the show. Paul said that he and Lynne Marie Stewart (Miss Yvonne) did an actual scene from an actual play, and he made the bad acting choice to mouth every single word of dialog she said, just like he did in Pee Wee's Big Adventure. He said that it was the only time in his career that he had to focus and concentrate really hard, so he wouldn't break and end up laughing.
Anne and I also got to meet him very briefly, and I talked with him for about 90 seconds, before I realized we were holding up the other people who wanted to meet him. He was incredibly gracious, humble, and kind. When I thanked him for providing me with a lifetime of joy, he thanked me back, and I could tell that he meant it, and I kind of wanted to hug him.
But all of that isn't the reason I wrote this post. The reason I wrote this post is to share with you a video he mentioned after the show. In a discussion about Jim Nabors and Charo, he told us to go to YouTube when we got home, and search for Charo doing Love Will Keep Us Together. He said it would change our lives.
Well, he was right, and now it is my great honor to change your lives. (You know, paying it forward and all).
Thank you, Pee Wee Herman, for a great show, a lifetime of joy, and changing my life through the magic of Charo.