“I’m not an opening act, David” | Pee-Wee Herman reveals he once turned down opening for David Bowie
During a recent New York Comic Con 2019 panel, Paul Reubens, AKA iconic comedy character Pee-Wee Herman revealed, during a story about Grace Jones, that he was once asked to open the proceedings on David Bowie’s tour. It remains one of his biggest regrets.
The actor, famed for his portrayal of the legendary character Pee-Wee Herman was sitting in at the panel when he was asked about the performance of Grace Jones on one of his specials, which led to Reubens sharing a story about Jones and Bowie. Grace Jones was appearing on The Pee Wee Christmas Special to perform a cover of ‘Little Drummer Boy’.
Reubens says that a little known fact was Jones was sharing a private jet with Bowie when he suggested she use Bowie’s own arrangement of the song for the performance, which she did. Her appearance on the show and the relationship (which you can find below) between Grace Jones and Pee Wee Herman remains one of the single brilliant pieces of television you are likely to see. Fight us.
The story, as many of Reubens tales of Hollywood glam tend to these days, then took a few sharp turns as he recalled his conversations with Bowie. Reubens remarked “David Bowie, who I completely idolised, asked me twice to open for him on two of his tours, both of which times I said ‘I’m not an opening act, David, I’m sorry’,” he said smiling.
Then with a straighter face clarified “I don’t have many regrets in life, and that’s the truth, but one of my regrets is that I didn’t open for Bowie.” In 2016, following Bowie’s death Reubens took to his blog to share his thoughts on the musical icon: “Not just a rock legend, a pioneer of many other art forms…a true visionary. What a tremendous legacy he’s left behind…thank you, David”
He later recalls another wonderfully meandering story that includes Bowie (somehow) which sees him wearing Frank Sinatra’s tuxedo – he kept it. Reubens then went on to shed light on a ridiculous Michael Jackson documentary which has never seen the light but somehow features Reubens as MJ’s stunt double with a cast that had Jeff Goldblum in tow.
Welcome to the mind of Paul Reubens, full of stories, and an unimaginably unique career. The clip finishes with the image of Pee-Wee Herman taking Bowie out of The Grammys and out to an underground nightclub. Imagine the look on the faces of the New York glitterati as they walked in. Priceless.
Watch below Paul Reubens AKA Oee Wee Herman discuss everything from David Bowie to Jeff Goldblum below.