Comedian Fred Willard was arrested in an adult theater for buzzing off and he joked about it on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.” When Pee Wee Herman was busted in 1991 for the same thing, he was crucified. What’s changed?
Fallon was in rare form and Willard played the good sport and went along with the jokes, despite the embarrassment and humiliation he suffered.
The “Modern Family” actor, 78, was popped July 18 after police dropped in at the Hollywood-area Tiki Theater and allegedly caught the comedian in mid-masturbation. The arrest didn’t come without some repercussions. PBS fired Willard as the host of an “Antiques Roadshow” spin-off called “Market Warriors.”
But Willard is no Pee-Wee Herman. The actor, real name Paul Rubens, was hosting a children’s show and had always worked on children’s projects. Because his character was mischievous, the irony was just too great to ignore.
He became the butt of late night jokes. His Saturday morning, children’s television show, “Pee-wee’s Playhouse,” was cancelled and he lost most of his other gigs and product endorsements, even though a slew of celebrities spoke out in his support. He’s since rehabilitated his career, but has never regained the popularity he enjoyed before his arrest.
Willard, on the other hand, still has a gig with ABC to host a show called “Trust Us With Your Life.” His age and the fact that he’s always been an adult-oriented comic are helping him shake off the incident without much fallout.
“Ah… Jimmy, what do you want to talk about first?” Willard said as soon as he sat down.
Do you mind me asking you about this? Can I ask you about this?” said Fallon referring to the arrest.
“Absolutely!” Willard replied. Then, the one liners flew fast and furiously.
“Well the movie you went to see… Was it ‘The Firm,” Fallon quizzed. “Free Willy….Anaconda?”
“No,” Willard said. “Sadly, it was Get Shorty.”
“Right, someone gets whacked at the end of that,” Fallon shot back.
Check out the video below; it’s hilarious.