Paul Reubens’ Final Film Role in Quiz Lady Is a Sly Nod to a Longtime Joke

Paul Reubens’ Final Film Role in Quiz Lady Is a Sly Nod to a Longtime Joke

Though gags and antics abound in Quiz Lady, there may be no surprise as scene-stealing (and bittersweet) as the cameo Paul Reubens, the actor best known as Pee-wee Herman, makes in the final scenes of the movie.

In the film, which stars Awkwafina and Sandra Oh as sisters looking to get rich quick by appearing on a game show, a photo of Reubens is framed in the home of Awkwafina’s character’s curmudgeonly neighbor, played by Holland Taylor. Riffing on fans’ long-running fascination on the physical resemblance between Reubens and the actor Alan Cumming, Taylor’s character mistakenly believes that the photo is of Cumming, whom she loves from watching The Good Wife. When circumstances lead the neighbors to a studio backlot, Taylor’s character gets to meet Reubens, who plays himself but gamely agrees to masquerade as Cumming, complete with a Scottish accent, to make the old woman’s dreams come true.

The cameo is the final appearance that Reubens would make in a film following his death this July after a six-year battle with cancer. While Reubens is inextricably linked to his zany, bow-tied alter ego, it’s refreshing that his final role was playing himself, albeit while being mistaken for Cumming, a longtime friend. The resemblance between the two actors, who were often referenced as doppelgangers for each other, was so great that some people mistakenly believed they were related. Following Reubens’ death, Cummings even referenced this longtime joke in a tribute on Instagram to his old friend.

“When I was younger people always said I looked like Paul,” Cumming wrote in the caption to his post. “When I met him he told me people always told him he looked like me…a true idiosyncratic genius.”

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