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The Pee-wee Herman Show at Club Nokia: I Know You are, But What am I?

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l to r: Chairry, Mr. Window, Pee-wee Herman (Paul Reubens), Globey, Flowers. Photo by Ed Krieger/Used with permission

It's a good time to live in Los Angeles. Only Angelenos have the rare opportunity to see a new adaptation of "The Pee-wee Herman Show" at Club Nokia through February 7th. The show, adapted for this series by Reubens, Bill Steinkeller and John Paragon, is a mish-mash of bits and characters from Pee-wee Herman's stage, film and television productions. The show never drags in spite of rehashing old bits. The nostalgia factor makes even the repetitive jokes comforting.

"Pee-wee's Playhouse" was not only one of the most popular Saturday morning shows ever, it was downright subversive. Suggesting children "scream real loud" whenever the secret word was used probably scared the bejesus out of many a sleeping parent. Premiering in 1986, the show ran for five seasons.

The Emmy award-winning "Pee-wee's Playhouse" was based on "The Pee-wee Herman Show", a live performance that ran at The Roxy, which in turn was based on a character developed for the Groundlings by Paul Reubens and Phil Hartman. In 1981 HBO filmed the stage show, which along with appearances on David Letterman, made Reubens a star.