Ed Asner will perform his one-man comedy show on prostate health at a Barrington retirement community next month, a rare small-venue appearance for the legendary actor and comedian.
The May 9 show at the Garlands of Barrington, which is open to the public, also will be a reunion between Asner, 87, and his former college roommate from the University of Chicago, whom he hasn't seen in 68 years and lives in the community.
Ed Asner's show"A Man and His Prostate" will be performed at 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 9, at the Garlands of Barrington. A limited number of tickets is available. They're $75 each and include a three-course dinner and cash bar. Purchase tickets at thegarlands.com.
Asner's one-man show, "A Man and His Prostate," retells the true story of Ed. Weinberger, the producer and writer on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" (as well as others including "The Cosby Show," "Taxi," and "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson").
Weinberg collapsed while on vacation in Italy, leading doctors to discover his prostate problem. Weinberger wrote a script about it and showed it to Asner, who loved it and decided to turn it into an act. Asner's been touring with it nationally for the past year.
Asner also will perform the show May 7 at the Woodstock Opera House in Woodstock.
While it's mainly a comedy about an old codger fed up with the American health care system, the show contains a message about the importance of men over the age of 50 to get their prostates checked regularly. Or, as the notoriously blunt-speaking Asner puts it, "They need the finger up the (expletive)."
"It's funny and informative," said Asner, adding that he and his prostate are in good health. "We say this show is the male response to 'The Vagina Monologues.'"
Asner, who grew up in Kansas City, has strong ties to Chicago and spent many formative years here. He launched his acting and comedy career here as a college student (although, he originally came to study political science) and worked many odd jobs while doing small theater performances on the side. He sold TV advertising over the phone, drove a Checker cab, and even worked in the Gary steel mills, always struggling to get by. He said he wasn't good at any of those jobs and spent much of his time as a taxi driver parked in gas stations reading plays.
"I had to borrow money to go to work for God's sake," he said, with a very Lou Grant-like tone. "I'd let guys buy me a sandwich for lunch."
His career soon took off, and he's since won seven Emmy Awards. Today, Asner lives in Los Angeles, and despite pushing 90 years old, has no interest in retiring. He and Weinberg have a book coming out, being published by Simon & Schuster, on the origins of the U.S. Constitution. He's also filming a new movie in Rhode Island this summer where he'll again play the role of Santa Claus (one of his famous roles was as Santa in the 2003 movie "Elf").
"The freight train hasn't derailed just yet," he said. "My goal is to make a living. And I'm happy to be able to entertain when I'm doing it."