There are many reasons why I adore Andy, and the latest was surprising me with tickets to see one of my cult favorites, Peewee Herman on his highly anticipated return to the world of the living.
Highly anticipated, that is, for the many fans, all adults of a certain age, who turned up at downtown's Club Nokia last Tuesday for the second night of the run (through Feb. 7), as they apparently have, night after night since then, clad in slim check suits and white loafers (that Thom Browne so ripped off) and clutching Peewee lunchboxes and dolls.
"Don't you have a doll?" Andy asked, recalling the stories of Peewee paraphernalia I received during the 1980s run of the "Playhouse" TV show.
"In storage, and in the original box," I sniffed. "Unopened."
Nearly three decades after his debut on the Groundlings stage (and 19 years since that ill-fated arrest for a private act in a not-so-private Florida porn theater), the charming character Paul Reubens created was back on a reconstructed "Playhouse" set and among the chatty furnishings, including Magic Screen, Clocky and Chairry. The original Miss Yvonne (Lynne Marie Stewart on the TV show and stage) and Mailman Mike (John Moody on stage only) were back, too.
Some of the originals were replaced by new faces or gone completely (as in the late Phil Hartman's Captain Carl). But the 90-minute show managed to stay true to spirit while showcasing enough novel fun to keep newbies like Andy entertained (and he's a tough cookie).
Is the comedian and his camp angling for a TV comeback? Possibly. I'd tune in, as I did before, waking up Saturdays at what felt like the crack of dawn after a late-night in clubland. Of course, now there is TiVo (although now I also wake up at the crack of dawn whether I like it or not!). All these years later, the 57-year-old Ruebens still put on an jolly trip through the rabbit hole, one colored by the bizzaro innocence of retro Americana and barbed taunts at the craziness of our current political and social climate.
Fun? Duh, that WAS the magic word….
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