Pee-wee Herman is the latest celebrity DJ, and it's great

·2 min read
Paul Reubens
Paul Reubens

Earlier this year, we reported on the rise of Tom Hanks, celebrity DJ—a combination of man and medium that offered a pretty perfect mixture of dad joke vibes, dad rock energy, and just general daddishness. But Hanks now has a competitor in the world of “Celebrity DJs we’re actually happy to hear take the mic,” and it’s a guy with extensive music experience of his own (provided that that music is either “Tequila,” or penned by Danny Elfman): Pee-wee Herman.

Paul Reubens’ iconic creation hopped into the booth at Santa Monica’s KCRW radio station recently to bring to life The Pee-wee Herman Radio Hour, which debuted yesterday, and is pretty much exactly what it sounds like: Pee-wee (and plenty of his friends, including Chairry, Magic Screen, Miss Yvonne, and the hated Randy) hanging out on the mic for an hour, playing soul songs, and making a huge number of Pee-wee Herman-style jokes. (Is there a magic word? Of course there’s a magic word.)

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It is, as ever, a pleasure to hear Reubens immerse himself in the character of Pee-wee, who is as energetic, fun, and low-key annoying as ever. (One of the running gags in the Radio Hour is his absolute refusal to let all of a song play.) He’s also got some decent taste in soul and funk music, popping on tracks from Aretha Franklin, James Brown, and more.

The Pee-wee Herman Radio Hour aired lived on KCRW on November 26; it’ll stay up on the station’s site for a week, and will then be “gone forever,” in the words of producer Jesse Thorn (who helped mastermind the project, with Reubens, through his Maximum Fun audio network). If you’re a fan of Pee-wee, Reubens, or weird drop-ins from Jack White, you probably owe it to yourself to check it out, before it vanishes into the ether like so many words into a microphone.


Sorry! We, uh…We said the secret word. Our bad.

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