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.)
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.
(AAAARRRHGGGHH! AAHHHHHHH! AAAAAAAAAAAHHH!)
Sorry! We, uh…We said the secret word. Our bad.