The comedy world is reeling from the shocking news that Paul Reubens — beloved by generations of fans as the man who created and starred as Pee-wee Herman in films, television series, stage plays, and comedy specials — has died after a long but very private battle with cancer. Reubens was only 70 years old.
READ MORE: Paul Reubens, Beloved ‘Pee-wee Herman’ Star, Has Died
Tributes to Reubens have already begun flooding social media. Longtime late night talk show host Conan O’Brien wrote that “no tweet can capture the magic, generosity, artistry, and devout silliness of Paul Reubens” and added that “his surreal comedy and unrelenting kindess were a gift to us all.” He closed with “Damn, this hurts,” which pretty much sums it up.
Fellow late-night star Jimmy Kimmel wrote that Paul Reubens was “like no one else – a brilliant and original comedian who made kids and their parents laugh at the same time … my family and I will miss him.”
Paul Feig, creator of Freaks and Geeks, and the director of Bridesmaids, Spy, and Ghostbusters called the loss “devastating” and noted that Reubens was “so original and hilarious. And such a sweet man too. This is a huge loss for comedy.”
Natasha Lyonne, who appeared on Pee-wee’s Playhouse when she was a young child actor, wrote “Thank you for my career & your forever friendship all these years & for teaching us what a true original is.”
Reubens leaves behind an enormous legacy and legions of fans well beyond the worlds of Hollywood and television. Here are a few other tributes: