Conky 2000, or Conky for short, is the playhouse's resident robot. He gave Pee-wee the "secret word" each week and served as a "brain" element in the show, similar to Alpha 5 on Power Rangers and Robot B-9 from Lost in Space. He also has the sweet, cheerful personality of Johnny 5 from the movie Short Circuit. He is also one of Pee-wee's closest friends; in one episode he even referred to Conky as his favorite robot at the time. He spoke in a high-pitched, slightly-computerized voice with a Max Headroom-esque stutter and occasional shifts in vocal pitch, and was made from various parts of old electronics, including: old Kodak Brownie-Hawkeye camera attachments (eyes), a boombox (chest), phonograph (torso), and a typewriter (head) and a Sunbeam Vista VT-40-1 toaster piece and Eureka vacuum cleaner foot as the top skull. His mouth is electric typewriter or calculator keys; They seem to stay relatively consistent in placement and are never shown moving as they would in an animated series version of himself, though occasionally there are cutaway shots that show a change of expression, specifically during Season 1. Another possibility is that his mouth is formed from the buttons of a Royal 116 PD Calculator. His arms are made from black, corrugated plastic tubing and white dryer vents. The robot referred to himself as "Conky 2000" (after the first season, though he used this in the first three episodes of the first season) when Pee-wee or anyone else activated him for the day. He immediately recognizes any person who activates him, responding "ready to assist you" to the activating individual. According to evidence suggested in the episode Conky's Breakdown, there may be more than one Conky robot in Puppetland. Often needs servicing from Johnny Wilson, the repairman, when he doesn't feel well (i.e. malfunctions) or needs upgrades.
Like many electronic devices of the 1980s and 1990s, Conky's method of charging is by a AC plug inserted into a mating socket in the wall. This particular plug's cord is retractable.
Conky's systems make electronic noises when he moves around. These noises have become very iconic for him. In Love that Story, Pee-wee (playing the part of a librarian that abuses his power) shushed Conky, and he stopped moving. Thus, he gets his name from the onomatopoeic imitation of the sound of a stalling internal combustion engine, which may be the source of the sounds he makes when he moves.
How Pee-wee met or bought Conky is never adequately explored to any degree on the show, except for a small line in Conky's Breakdown from Globey about his owner's manual.
In the episode The Cowboy and the Cowntess, Conky rescued Pee-Wee from the exercise machine, then came up with a new dance called "The Conky", which is a slight variation of "The Robot", set to 1980s techno music. In the same episode, he helped Pee-wee prepare French toast, giving him the instructions.
In the epiode Stolen Apples, Conky does not receive a letter (Pee-Wee doesn't either). This apparently was rectified in an episode of Muppet Babies titled "This Little Piggy Went to Hollywood" when Scooter says he's sending Pee-Wee a fan letter (most likely he would have gave Conky a shout-out).
In Rainy Day, Conky helped mop the floor due to whipped cream being sprayed everywhere.
In Luau for Two, Conky cheered with Chairry and Magic Screen when Pee-Wee missed putting the golf ball into the windmill. He complimented him on it in the same way the others were throughout the episode, most likely so that he could be the one that would attend the Hawaiian restaurant with Pee-Wee (Conky had been handed food before in episodes such as Ice Cream Soup and Pee-Wee even prepared an imaginary breakfast for him in Reba Eats and Pterri Runs). Pee-Wee later called everyone out on their taking advantage of him in an angered tone, stating that if food was more important to them than friendship then they should go ahead and go to the restaurant.
Similarly, in Store, Conky enjoyed a few frozen fruit cubes that Pee-Wee made earlier.
In Pee Wee Catches a Cold, Conky handed Ricardo a thermometer when Ricardo suggested that he take Pee-wee's temperature. The robot later was shocked by Pee-wee yelling for everyone to be quiet so he could sleep (as the man-child had overdid himself and became extremely crabby and sick; their screaming awakened him), but offered to help Ricardo prepare the chicken soup Ricardo brought over. He then went to answer the door (on Pee-wee's orders) for Knucklehead.
In The Restaurant, Conky was the caddie for Pee-wee and the Cartoon King's golf game. He later explained to Pee-wee what the acronym SCUBA stands for - Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus.
In Miss Yvonne's Visit, Conky offered to help vacuum the Playhouse when Miss Yvonne was coming over because of her house getting painted. Like the other residents, however, Conky got tired of Yvonne's slovenness.
In Heat Wave, Conky played the bailiff (bailiffs are law enforcement officers whose main role is to keep the peace during courtroom proceedings; judges depend on bailiffs to ensure that the public, jury, legal teams, witnesses and defendants proceed through trials and other court proceedings with the required decorum and manners; additionally, when the judge enters, he announces the entry, calls the court to order and announces any rules, and even protects the judge and jury as a bodyguard) in Judge Herman's makeshift courtroom.
Conky is a humanoid robot, however he has one difference from bipedal robots, at least during the events of the series; instead of legs, Conky moves around on office chair/office stool rollers, similar to Aldebaran Robotics' Pepper robot and her three omnidirectional wheels in her base. His arms are also mismatched; one hand is a metal "crab pincer" manacle made from sheet metal and pop rivets that could open and close, the other hand is a mish-mash of parts ending in a set of bicycle brakes. Thus, he has never entered the Picturephone, but once crashed into it in the episode The Gang's All Here. In that same episode, Opal (one of the members of the Playhouse Gang) messes with his controls which causes him to malfunction, leading Pee-wee to order the Gang to leave.
In Now You See Me, Now You Don't, Conky and Magic Screen made the calculation that Pee-wee would be invisible forever, which he immediately denied in a frantic state. In Rainy Day, he also calculated that it was going to rain for the majority of the entire day, and later handed Pee-Wee a piece of white paper to make a paper airplane from. In Dr. Pee Wee and the Del Rubios, he solved a mathematical division problem, and in Conky's Breakdown Mrs. Rene wanted Conky to calculate some math problem for her despite his illness. In deference to this, in the episode Fun,Fun,Fun the King of Cartoons refers to Conky as "Calculating Conky" during his introduction.
In Camping Out, Conky assisted Globey in retrieving the card stock that held that day's Secret Word. He then stammered shortly thereafter, asking Pee-Wee how he knew what the Secret Word was going to be beforehand.
In the episode Mystery, it is revealed that despite being built by a robotics company, he has a family.
- MM-1200 (father)
- KC 200 Jr. (younger sister)
- Unnamed grandfather
- Unnamed mother, a homemaker
- Unnamed grandmother (she loves knitting)
- Their dog, Corky
In Front Page Pee Wee, Conky contributed business news (that is, stock market reports, bankruptcy filings and the like) to the Playhouse newspaper; his headline read "Conky's Business News".
In Playhouse Day, we find that Conky's favorite holiday is Valentine's Day, and he is quite the romantic.
He once beat Pee-wee in a checkers game in the episode Just Another Day, which proves that he has powerful supercomputers in his circuitry that compute precise calculations, predating the DeepBlue computer by a decade.
Thanks to the turntable that makes Conky's bottom, he can play music via phonograph records (however, people were listening to compact discs by this time, as they have been introduced a few years earlier); he did this in Ants in Your Pants, Front Page Pee Wee and Pajama Party among other episodes. In Accidental Playhouse, Conky also has a built-in translation device located in the same area where the turntable is.
In the Pee-wee's Playhouse Christmas Special, Conky helped type up Herman's Christmas list and later fell in love with Cher. Thanks to Jambi's powers, he became covered in tinsel and decorations. He later provided the music for Charo's song.
In Pajama Party,Conky played the slow-dance music for the last dance of the evening. Conky later turned off the lights when it was bedtime (on Pee-wee's request, as he forgot to turn out the lights himself), and immediately fell asleep afterwards. He later participated in Pee-wee's fruit salad wedding, holding the book that Pee-wee placed his hand on.
In To Tell The Tooth, Conky brought Pee-wee a tray holding glasses of hot and cold drinks to test if his hurting tooth was sensitive to those temperatures.
He was mind-controlled by Zyzzybalubah in Playhouse in Outer Space into making the alien's own name the secret word. After the extraterrestrial turned off the force field capturing his friends and Yvona, Conky noted that he would love to hear an explanation on the advanced technology of Zyzzy's species despite the fact that Zyzzy used him in his plan. This episode reveals to us that Conky has a definition database for all the Secret Words he gives to Pee-wee on the show.
In Ice Cream Soup, he legitimately assists Pee-wee by helping him navigate Captain Carl to his destination by using his built-in RADAR system, and screams to the Secret Word as well. He screams again in Monster in the Playhouse after Randy scares him and the others.
In Ants in Your Pants, it is revealed that Conky has a built-in smoke alarm system, and we can hear him coughing. He then handed Pee-wee the fire extinguisher. The ants in the Ant Farm later crawled all over Conky and activated his turntable, causing him to play music against his will.
Conky was designed by Wayne White with some input on his final look from Gregory Harrison. His voice was created using Harrison and later Carlson's voice recording and some electronic modding.
Voice and suit performers
- Gregory Harrison and David Powers (Season 1)
- Kevin Carlson (Seasons 2+)
- Josh Meyers (The Pee-Wee Herman Show 2010 revival)
- Conky's 2010 voice actor, Josh Meyers, is the younger brother of late-night talk show host Seth Meyers.
- Conky was parodied in issue #228 of Cracked Magazine, in the four-page comic Pee-Yoo's Playhovel, as Cranky. He had an identical appearance to Conky except that both of his hands are in the "metal crab pincer" manacle shape. Pee-Yoo also, unlike Herman, cruelly mistreated Cranky.
- It is revealed in Rebarella that Conky reads PlayRobot Magazine.
- Even though the lyrics to the Theme Song say "Conky's still a-snoring", Conky is never heard snoring while he's in "sleep mode" during the night.