BY TERRY MORROW SCRIPPS HOWARD NEWS SERVICE





Paul Reubens has an answer ready for all of you who ask him to do his trademark Pee-Wee Herman laugh on cue. "I basically say, 'I'm so sorry. I don't do that anymore' or I say, 'you can't afford to hear that laugh,"' he says during a phone interview to plug the classic episodes of "Pee-Wee's Playhouse" rebroadcasts (11 p.m. weeknights, Cartoon Network). Don't get Reubens wrong. He's not mad at his alter-ego or trying to distance himself from it. He's just tired of the daily requests to do the character. It's not as if Pee-Wee is Reuben's only character. He's done movies like "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Blow," where he has done vastly different characters from the man child. (His next big-screen role is in "Reno: 911! Miami," set for early 2007.) Still, Reubens wants to put Pee-Wee back to work. Getting the old episodes back on television is one start. He also has two ideas for Pee-Wee movies. One is a black comedy about Pee-Wee's brush with fame as a pop singer. The other is a big-screen adaptation of the old CBS Saturday morning series. Both are in development. Reubens says he's very protective of Pee-Wee. "Playhouse" has been off the air for years, but only recently did Reubens try to get an outlet to start replaying it. He says one major outlet was interested, but, at the last second, he pulled out of the deal. Instead, he took it to Cartoon Network, which thought it would make a nice addition to its "Adult Swim" series. "I was so happy to have it there. To use a very old-school expression about it, I am over the moon," he says. "Every time I turn on 'Adult Swim,' I like what I see there." Reubens has worked on "Adult Swim." He was a guest on "Tom Goes To The Mayor" and heard from its creators that Cartoon Network is a nice network to deal with. "I am still shocked when people call me Pee-Wee, even people who know me very well," Reubens, 54, says. "He has been my alter-ego for so many years now that I am OK about it. "I more than like him. I love him." And what about that signature laugh (it's more like a giggle)? "I haven't done the laugh in many, many, many years," he says. "I had to do it again a few years back when I re-released my (Pee-Wee) doll. "I was afraid I couldn't do it, but it all came back." (Contact Terry Morrow of The Knoxville News Sentinel in Tennessee at www.knoxnews.com.)



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