Pee-wee Herman. photo by Scott Beale / Laughing Squid

Inspiration Spotlight: Pee-Wee Herman’s Entreprenurial Adventure

Paul Reubens, known to many over the past 40 years for creating the character of Pee-wee Herman, died earlier his month at the age of 70 following a private battle with cancer.

His comedy beginnings trace back to the 1970s, and by 1980, Reubens scored an audition for “Saturday Night Live.”

The outcome of that failed audition left an imprint on the box office and children’s television forever. Reubens was outraged at not getting cast, believing that Gilbert Gottfried received the job because he was a friend of a producer.

“I was so bitter and angry, I thought, ‘You better think about doing something to take this to the next level,'” Reubens said, describing his plane ride home from New York. “So I borrowed some money and produced this show. I went from this ‘Saturday Night Live’ reject to having 60 people working for me.”

The affable Pee-wee was born out of rejection, first as a stage show, then a successful movie directed by Tim Burton, and finally a six-year run as a Saturday morning TV show.

What does this have to do with you? Remember that rejection and failure are inevitable — but how you respond to rejection can change the world.

A version of this article originally appeared in StartupNation’s weekly newsletter, The Start. Click here to subscribe!

Photo credit: Scott Beale, Flickr

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