When I asked folks at the Reader‘s weekly staff meeting whether they’d heard of Irwin Corey, the younger ones—i.e., all but our elderly managing editor—went blank. I suppose that shouldn’t be surprising. Corey had his heyday during the 1960s, and even then his daffy-professor comic lectures were bizarrely out of sync with the prime-time variety shows on which he appeared. In his swallowtail tuxedo jacket and sneakers—his hair sticking out every which way like a forest of antennae picking up arcane wave lengths—he was a vaudeville throwback, a beat holdover, and a counterculture leap forward all in one. A 45-year-old video clip shows him floating through The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, stopping only to deliver a little speech that starts, “However.”
Corey is 97 now and still floating. In celebration of his birthday (which was actually in July), he’ll headline a variety show that also features comic Aaron Freeman, performance artist Andy Somma, drummer Jimmy Pizzillo, Curious Theatre Branch’s Beau O’Reilly and Jenny Magnus, an electro-swing version of “Minnie the Moocher,” and Silent Theatre’s live-action cartoon, ACME.
Sat 9/24, 8 PM-“after midnight,” Prop Thtr, 3502 N. Elston, 773-539-7838, propthtr.org, $15 or pay what you can.