Pee-wee often claimed the Playhouse and everything in it to be all his, and he often played the role of an authority figure to prove his point during various games—becoming power-drunk and exaggerating the role he was playing to an extreme scale (as a judge, a boss, and a librarian, to name a few). During these games, he gave everyone else the "lesser" positions in each game (such as readers/customers in his library in Love that Story, courtroom employees in Heat Wave, or passengers and crew members on his airliner in Rebarella), and treated them in a very abusive manner—pretty much like slaves. The abusive behavior often consists of shouting, name-calling and overall verbal abuse (rather than physical abuse). The tables were eventually turned once and for all in the final episode, when Miss Yvonne finally snapped and said "How could you even think of selling the Playhouse without first consulting us?! It belongs to all of us! You just remember that, Pee-wee, it's all our Playhouse!".
Oddly, it is during these games that he actually acts very adultlike as well.
As Herman himself admitted at the 2011 San Diego Comic Con when speaking about mistreating Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello during the Pee-Wee's Playhouse Christmas Special, however, he is merely following the script and he is not really mean to his friends in real life.
Additionally, when he didn't get his way, he would whine and cry like a two-year-old, leading to a more mature character (like Reba or Miss Yvonne) to scold and reprimand him.