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More Than Just Pee-wee

Paul Reubens’ Best Roles That Aren’t Pee-wee Herman

Paul Reubens 30 Rock

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Paul Reubens is by far best known for his iconic character, Pee-wee Herman. After nearly 40 years in the man-child’s white loafers, it’s easy to forget that he’s an accomplished actor in his own right, having gotten his start at the same famous Groundlings Theater as Phil Hartman and Jan Hooks.

In fact, he recently told Chris Hardwick on The Nerdist podcast that he considers himself part of a small club of performers, including Cassandra Peterson (Elvira) and Sarah Colley (Minnie Pearl), who have become famous as someone else. When you dig deeper, though, you quickly find the eclectic career of a character actor that’s been overshadowed by his own legendary spawn. Here’s a look at some of Paul Reuben’s most interesting roles beyond Mr. Herman.

11. The Blues Brothers, Waiter

In one of Paul’s earliest films, he plays a snooty waiter at Chez Paul Restaurant, who can barely contain his disdain for the obnoxious “Joliet Jake” Blues. From these meager beginnings, few would have guessed the legendary career to follow.


10. Mork & Mindy, Dick Nimitz

Childlike, impish, and with a spastic streak, Mork had a lot in common with Pee-wee Herman. Here Paul plays Dick Nimitz, and you can already see hints of his famous character, who was headlining sold-out stage shows when this episode was filmed.


9. Meatballs Part II, Albert/Hara Krishna

A cash grab sequel, this bizarre film boasted an eclectic cast, including a young John Larroquette and Empty Nest’s own Richard Mulligan. This would be the last movie Paul would appear in before Pee-wee’s Big Adventure would turn him into a superstar.


8. Star Tours, RX-24

Every child of ’80s who was lucky enough to make it to Disneyland will remember this legendary Star Wars ride. Paul Reubens provided the voice for the inept pilot droid, RX-24, who guided us through the adventure, and provided a lot of childhood memories.


7. Batman Returns, Penguin’s Father

Not only is Reubens amusing in his wordless cameo as the upper crust father of Danny DeVito’s Penguin, his scenes are also a mini-Pee-wee’s Big Adventure reunion — besides reteaming him with director Tim Burton, Diane Salinger (aka Simone) plays Penguin’s mother.


6. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Amilyn

Wanting to have fun with his troubled reputation, Paul is rumored to have designed the look of his character after his now iconic mug shot. While this movie would go on to become a much more popular television series, Paul’s performance is often praised as the highlight of the film.

Paul Reubens Buffy


5. Murphy Brown, Andrew J. Lansing III

Another step on the comeback trail, Paul popped up on this hit show as one of the few people Ms. Brown thought could handle the job as her secretary. He ended up appearing in six episodes, reestablishing himself in Hollywood in the process.

Pinterest

Pinterest


4. Mystery Men, Spleen

Based on the Dark Horse comic, Mystery Men seems ahead of its time now, commenting on a superhero genre that had yet to take off in movies. Still, Paul made an impression as Spleen, a man cursed with the powers of extreme flatulence. Look, a guy’s gotta work.

Mystery Men Spleen


3. Blow, Derek Foreal

With Ted Demme’s Blow, Paul was officially back. Often considered the dawn of a new era in his career, this part would open up the doors for the more dramatic roles that followed.


2. 30 Rock, Gerhardt

As former childhood fans of Pee-wee grew up, and took the reigns of power in Hollywood, Paul started popping up in more and more parts. Between 30 Rock, Reno 911, Tom Goes to the Mayor, and Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job, the former and future Pee-wee Herman had a chance to play with a whole new generation of comedians.

30 Rock Paul Reubens


1. The Blacklist, Mr. Vargas

Most recently, Paul has settled into a comfortable niche as a character actor, playing a variety of eccentric characters. Here he plays a creepy operative who can’t stand the sight of blood.

Mr Vargas Blacklist

Watch Paul channel his inner Clarence Darrow in a clip from tonight’s Portlandia season finale below:

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Car Notes

Portlandia Keeps Road Rage In Park

Get a lesson in parking etiquette on a new Portlandia.

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It’s the most American form of cause and effect: Park like a monster, receive a passive-aggressive note.

car notes note

This unofficial rule of the road is critical to keeping the great big wheel of car-related Karma in balance. And naturally, Portlandia’s Kath and Dave have elevated it to an awkward, awkward art form in Car Notes, the Portlandia web series presented by Subaru.

If you’ve somehow missed the memo about Car Notes until now, you can catch up on every installment online, on the IFC app, and on demand. You can even have a little taste right here:

If your interest is piqued – great news for you! A special Car Notes sketch makes an appearance in the latest episode of Portlandia, and you can catch up on it now right here.

Watch all-new Portlandia Thursdays at 10P on IFC.

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Naked and Hungry

Two New Ways to Threeway

IFC's Comedy Crib gets sensual in time for Valentine's Day.

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This week, two scandalous new digital series debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib.
Ménage à Trois invites people to participate in a real-life couple’s fantasy boudoir. And The Filling is Mutual follows two saucy chefs who invite comedians to make food inspired by their routines. Each show crosses some major boundaries in sexy and/or delicious ways, and each are impossible to describe in detail without arousing some awkward physical cravings. Which is why it’s best to hear it directly from the minds behind the madness…

Ménage à Trois

According to Diana Kolsky and Murf Meyer, the two extremely versatile constants in the ever-shifting à trois, “MàT is a sensually psychedelic late night variety show exploring matters of hearts, parts and every goddamn thing in between…PS, any nudes will be 100% tasteful.”

This sexy brainchild includes sketches, music, and props that would put Pee-wee’s Playhouse to shame. But how could this fantastical new twist on the vanilla-sex variety show format have come to be?

“We met in a UCB improv class taught by Chris Gethard. It was clear that we both humped to the beat of our own drum; our souls and tongues intermingled at the bar after class, so we dove in head first.”

Sign me up, but promise to go slow. This tricycle is going to need training wheels.

The Filling is Mutual

Comedians Jen Saunderson and Jenny Zigrino became best friends after meeting in the restroom at the Gotham Comedy Club, which explains their super-comfortable dynamic when cooking with their favorite comedians. “We talk about comedy, sex, menses, the obnoxiousness of Christina Aguilera all while eating food that most would push off their New Year’s resolution.”

The hook of cooking food based off of comedy routines is so perfect and so personal. It made us wonder about what dishes Jen & Jenny would pair with some big name comedy staples, like…

Bill Murray?
“Oh, that’s easy Meatballs with Lingonberry Space Jam it’d be great, but then we’d have to Oh, that’s easy Meatballs with Lingonberry Space Jam it’d be great, but then we’d have to… Oh, that’s easy Meatballs with Lingonberry Space Jam it’d be great, but then we’d have to avoid doing any kind of silly Groundhog Day reference.” 

Bridget Everett?
“Cream Balls… Sea Salt encrusted Chocolate Ganache Covered Ice Cream Ball that melt cream when you bite into them.” 

Nick Kroll & John Mulaney? 
“I’d make George and Gil black and white cookies from scratch and just as we open the oven to put the cookie in we’d prank ’em with an obnoxious amount of tuna!!!”

Carrie Brownstein & Fred Armisen? 
“Definitely a raw cacao “safe word” brownie. Cacao!”

Just perfect.

See both new series in their entirety on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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Dark Arts

Foot Fetish Jesus And Other Nightmares

Meet the minds behind Comedy Crib's latest series, Quirks and The Mirror.

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The Mirror and Quirks are really, really strange. Deeply disturbing yet hauntingly beautiful. But you really don’t need to read a synopsis of either of the aforementioned shows to understand the exact variety of nightmare-bonkers comedy these shows deliver — that’s why the good lord made links. Instead, take a peek behind the curtain and meet the creators.

Quirks

Let’s start with Kevin Tosi. Kevin does the whole show by himself. That doesn’t mean he’s a loner — Kevin has a day job with actual humans. But that day job is copywriting. So it’s only natural that his suppressed demons would manifest themselves in biting cartoon form, including “Foot Fetish Jesus”, in ways that somehow speak to all of us. If only all copywriters channeled their inner f*ckedupness into such…expressive art.

The Mirror

Onward to the folks at Wham City Comedy.

These guys aren’t your typical comedy collective in that their work is way more left-field and even elevated than your standard digital short. More funny weird than funny ha-ha. They’ve done collaborations with musicians like Beach House, Dan Deacon & Wye Oak, television networks (obviously), and others. Yeah they get paid, but their motivation feels deeper. Darker. Most of them are video artists, and that explains a lot.

See more of The Mirror and Quirks on IFC.com and the IFC app.

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