Did You Know Paul Reubens, a.k.a. Pee-wee Herman, Went to College Here in New England?
Paul Reubens, better (or perhaps equally) known as Pee-wee Herman died after a lengthy but quiet battle with cancer. Reubens was 70 years old, while Pee-wee will remain the same age as always, as the character lives on.
As Reubens often preferred to remain in character, we only got pockets of information about his upbringing and pre-Pee-wee days. This is likely why it flew under the radar that he attended college right here in New England.
Reubens went to Boston University, where he studied theatre. After his freshman year, Reubens would return west and continue his studies at the California Institute for the Arts, according to his New York Times obituary.
But in 1985, after his numerous late-night appearances and cable specials led to his breakthrough film, Pee-wee’s Big Adventure, Reubens returned to Massachusetts to be honored at Harvard. It was there that he, as Pee-wee, received The Elmer Award, given out for excellence in humor.
The event was documented by MTV. When asked if he liked Harvard, Pee-wee described it as “pretty cool, actually” adding: “There’s a lot of brick!” The award is given out by The Harvard Lampoon.
The campus humor publication presented the award to Pee-wee Herman in December, which means he just missed future late night host Conan O’Brien by a few months, as the latter had graduated the previous spring.
In a clip, you can see Pee-wee mingle with students, take part in a parade through Harvard Square, cut a piece of cake almost as Large as Marge, and drink so much champagne he “almost barfed.”