When we asked Chris Rock if he was consciously stealing from Pee-wee's Big Adventure in his new film, Head of State, we did ask gingerly. After all, it is Rock's big directing debut...
''C'mon, you can see [Big Adventure] all over the movie!'' he cries, singling out the same two Pee-wee-inspired scenes we noticed in State. One of them is a ''Deep in the Heart of Texas'' sing-along; the other, a ''I know you are but what am I?'' shout-a-thon. ''I don't think people realize how genius that movie really is. A flawless piece of art!''
Has he ever told Pee-wee? ''I met him one time, a long time ago,'' he says. ''We did the last episode of The Joan Rivers Show. My first time on TV. I was so frightened.'' But Rock didn't have the nerve to talk about Big Adventure. ''I was absolutely unknown at the time. He was Pee-wee Herman.''
''I am totally flattered,'' says Paul Reubens, Pee-wee's alter ego. ''And it's great to hear Chris Rock is a fan because I'm such a huge fan of his.''