LOS ANGELES - MAY 1980: Actor Paul Reubens poses for a portrait dressed as his character Pee-wee Herman in May 1980 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
Movies - TV
How Paul Reubens Helped Phil Hartman Land His Spot On Saturday Night Live
Paul Reubens and Phil Hartman shared a symbiotic friendship that began early in their careers when they were fellow members of the Groundlings comedy sketch troupe in the 1970s. Hartman helped Reubens develop his Pee-wee Herman character and even co-wrote “Pee-wee’s Big Adventure,” a successful film that would lead to Hartman joining “Saturday Night Live.”
Reubens shared, “Phil and I collaborated for years. I brought Phil and [fellow longtime collaborator] John Paragon with me to New York when I hosted ‘Saturday Night Live.’ That was Phil’s introduction to Lorne Michaels.” This chance meeting with the creator and producer of “SNL” would lead to Hartman joining the cast and becoming a fan-favorite during his eight-year tenure.
While on “SNL,” the comedian became famous for his Bill Clinton impressions and several of his characters like the Anal-Retentive Chef. Unfortunately, Hartman, who had a role on “The Pee-wee Herman Show” and later the beloved “Pee-wee’s Playhouse,” had a falling out with Reubens around the time he joined “SNL” over creative differences and was cut from the show by CBS.