Pee-wee: Why I'm Innocent

Paul Reubens discusses the charges that made him infamous
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 16, 2010 9:01 AM CDT
Pee-wee: Why I'm Innocent
Comedian Paul Reubens, better known as Pee Wee Herman, does his "Tequila Dance" on stage Monday, Aug. 9, 2010, at the Buffalo Chip Campground with the contestants of the Miss Buffalo Chip Contest.   (AP Photo/Steve McEnroe)

Paul Reubens disappeared along with his alter ego, Pee-wee Herman, after a 1991 indecent exposure arrest. A false child pornography accusation followed in 2001. But Reubens and Pee-wee are both back, with a Broadway show and new movie in the works. In a candid interview, he discusses his career comeback, and both arrests, with Playboy:

  • On his public masturbation charge: In the event of a trial (which never happened), an expert researcher was going to testify he'd never seen a person masturbate with a nondominant hand. "I’m right-handed, and the police report said I was jerking off with my left hand. That would have been the end of the case right there, proof it couldn’t have been me."

  • How he disappeared: Doris Duke, whom he'd met years earlier in Hawaii, invited him to stay at her New Jersey estate.
  • On the child porn charge: Police raided his home on a "false tip," yet still confiscated much of his kitsch art collection, which was made up of inoffensive items like "etched-on-glass 3D 1940s cheesecake photography of beautiful women," he says. "They made it sound as if I had a huge homoerotic collection, which I didn’t."
  • How he healed: Falling in love with Debi Mazar in 1993 helped. "I was just so incredibly completely smitten that it was like, Boom, I’m back! It was so powerful; it was a gift."
For the complete interview, click here. (More Pee-wee Herman stories.)

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