Emmys 2011: Pee-wee Herman Picks the Winners

With ballots due Friday, Paul Reubens channels his alter ego and shares his picks for next month's awards show.
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For Paul Reubens, the Emmys could be described as a way of coming full circle.

The actor, best known as Pee-wee Herman, is enjoying a banner year that saw his HBO special, The Pee-wee Herman Show on Broadway, pick up an Emmy nomination for outstanding variety, music or comedy special. The nom was the first for the beloved character since he was nominated for a Daytime Emmy in 1991 for outstanding performer in a children’s series for Pee-wee’s Playhouse.

Now, Reubens and his alter ego prepare to face-off with three HBO specials from the likes of Lady Gaga (for her The Monster Ball Tour: At Madison Square Garden), Bette Midler (The Showgirl Must Go On), Carrie Fisher (Wishful Drinking) and The Kennedy Center Honors (featuring Paul McCartney and Oprah Winfrey) from CBS.

“I’m nominated for a show that’s something that originated 30 years ago,” Reubens told The Hollywood Reporter. “It’s been an incredible experience and one I just did not imagine at all.”

With Emmy ballots due Friday, Reubens summoned Pee-wee to see just who he thinks would take home the prized statuettes at the Emmys on Sept. 18, and if Emmy voters follow Pee-wee’s thinking, there will be a lot of ties.

Among the best comedy contenders -- 30 Rock, The Big Bang Theory, Glee, The Office, Modern Family and Parks and Recreation -- Pee-wee is sticking with Tina Fey and company. “Nothing is funnier than that -- although those are all really, really funny shows,” he says, picking both Fey and Raising Hope’s Martha Plimpton for best actress in a comedy.

“I think I would be great on both of those shows, so why pick one? I made it a tie so I think I have to guest star on both of them,” he deadpanned.

Among comedy’s leading men, Pee-wee forecasts a tie between Louis C.K. (Louie) and Steve Carell, with the departing Office star having the edge.

“If I had to go with a tie-breaker, I’d say this is Steve Carell’s year because he’s leaving; he gets my sentimental vote,” Pee-wee says. “I hope they include me this season but I think it’s already what’s his name … James Spader. But maybe it’s going to be like Murphy Brown where there’s a new boss every week. I loved that gag!”

On the drama side, Pee-wee remains somewhat loyal to HBO. “I’m a corporate guy now, so I think [Boardwalk Empire’s] Steve Buscemi … and [House’s] Hugh Laurie; it’s another tie!” he giggled with his trademark laugh. “If I make everything a tie, I’m upping my chances of actually getting to guest star on one of those shows!”

Pee-wee already has his role written for HBO’s period drama, too: “I’d be [Nucky Thompson’s] mole!”

Among the drama actresses, Pee-wee is embracing football after recently visiting the Dallas Cowboys’ practice. “No tie: [Friday Night Lights’] Connie Britton,” he says, while also picking the NBC/DirecTV series for best drama.

“I’m kind of an HBO guy and I just voted against HBO!” he said. “I hope our next national political convention is people who are similarly inclined to go against whatever and just vote for what’s right!”

As for his own category, Pee-wee has a plan just in case Emmy voters wind up with a tie between him and Lady Gaga, inspired by Let’s Make a Deal.

“I think the audience should come up with a list of five items and if either one of us has those items on us, we win,” he joked. “I just hope that we’re not going to be wearing the same outfit.”

Email: Lesley.Goldberg@thr.com; Twitter: @Snoodit

Review: 'Pee-wee Herman Show on Broadway'