Paul Rust on Why Pee-wee Herman Needed to Be Brought Back

BY Josiah HughesPublished Mar 16, 2016

Comedian, actor and writer Paul Rust is proving to be something of a golden boy for Netflix. Hot on the heels of last month's acclaimed Love series (which he stars in and co-created), the Upright Citizens Brigade alum co-wrote Pee-wee's Big Holiday — the first Pee-wee Herman movie in 30 years.

Pee-wee himself, Paul Reubens, enlisted Rust to help him bring his iconic character back to life, and the fruits of their labour will go live on Netflix on Friday (March 18). Naturally, the act reviving such a beloved character carried a lot of weight.

"I definitely don't want to be the person to mess something up," Rust admits to Exclaim! "But at the same time, I feel like out of anything that I could've written on that was pre-existing, it was the one I felt most confident about how I could maybe not screw it up. Because… I could imagine how other people could screw it up and I knew I wasn't doing that."

One key mistake that was avoided was modernizing Pee-wee — we won't be seeing him on one of those segway hoverboards. "There wasn't any sort of joke that's like, some sort of snarky, 'let's do a 2016 take on Pee-wee,'" Rust says. "I knew that we would be doing things wrong if it was like, in the movie, Pee-wee walks up to a Redbox."

The comedy of Pee-wee Herman is in line with Rust's own sense of humour, which eschews cynicism in favour of a more classic wackiness. As such, Rust was eager to revive the character.

"For me, Pee-wee was the number one thing that should be brought back," Rust says. "It's definitely silly, but it's not ever at the expense of somebody else."

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