97-Year-Old Comic Fronts As Street Beggar

I’ve hung out at Professor Irwin Corey’s home a bunch of times but had no idea he was up to this. And those people stuck in midtown traffic have no clue what kind of gem is hitting them up for change.

Going over Corey’s place is a lot like visiting your own grandfather — if your grandfather was a longtime supporter of Cuba and Palestine, an entry on Senator’s McCarthy’s Hollywood Blacklist, a regular at the Playboy Mansion and Plato’s Retreat, a mentor to Lenny Bruce, and loved to smoke a fat blunt.

There’s probably a lot more that I don’t know about the oldtimer, but we should all try to retain something about this obscure legend. So I’ve included a few highlights from the oldtimer’s charmed career below.

A regular at Hugh Hefner’s Playboy Mansion, Professor Irwin Corey farcically campaigned for President during the 1960 Election under the Playboy ticket.

In 1973, Corey accepted the National Book Award for Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow. Corey told me that he never met him but was apparently selected by the reclusive author to give this speech.

Corey was a go-to goofball for the variety show circuit in the 1960s on programs such as The Jackie Gleason Show and The Tonight Show. Here’s a clip of the lefty on The Smothers Brothers from 1966.

Here’s a nugget from his typical stand-up act, which he still performs today.

Corey’s home in Murray Hill, Manhattan.

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