Natasha Lyonne shares touching tribute to Paul Reubens

Natasha Lyonne
Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

Natasha Lyonne owes a lot to Paul Reubens — she earned her first acting credit on “Pee-wee’s Playhouse” at age 6. (Here’s a TikTok video of her on the show.) So it’s no surprise that she posted a touching tribute to the quirky comedian in the hours after he died on Sunday.

The arrow in the photo above points to Lyonne with her signature red curls. In the tweet, she thanks Reubens for “teaching us what a true original is.” This may be even more touching coming from the actor since she too built a career on an offbeat, oddball image.

“I love Paul, I see him, we stay in touch,” she told Entertainment Weekly in 2022. “Paul Reubens, a.k.a. Pee-wee Herman, sends the best GIFs in the biz, long before they became so accessible with iPhones.”

She’d previously told the magazine that “nothing made me feel legitimately cool quite so much as the fact that I was on that show.”

Several other comedians also posted tributes to Reubens, acknowledging how much he has inspired their own careers. Conan O’Brien remembered him for his “surreal comedy and unrelenting kindness.”

Jimmy Kimmel also posted a message, celebrating Reubens’ “genuine delight for silliness with everyone he met.”

Comedian and filmmaker Judd Apatow had a special bond with Reubens. He’d grown up loving his comedy and got to collaborate with him in the 2016 Netflix film “Pee-wee’s Big Holiday.”

“There are very few characters in comedy history as strong and hilarious as Pee-wee Herman,” he told The Los Angeles Times that year. “The first moment you’re sitting in a room with Paul Reubens and he starts pitching you things Pee-wee might say or do, you think to yourself, ‘This can’t be happening.’ The first time he put on the suit, I thought I was going to pass out.”

In an Instagram post after Reubens’ death, Apatow wrote, “Working on Pee Wee’s Big Holiday with Paul Reubens was a magical experience. All he cared about was making people happy. He was a magical person. There will never be anyone like him again.”

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About the Author
Jennifer Graham Kizer
Jennifer Graham Kizer has written features and essays for over a dozen magazines, including Cosmopolitan, Good Housekeeping, Health, Parents, Parenting, Redbook and TV Guide.

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