Curmudgeonly actor Ed Asner has been squeezing humor out of digital rectal exams for more than a year now, and the imagery is handy, even when the conversation turns to his beloved television co-star, Mary Tyler Moore.
“She was always brighter, always smarter, always more talented than anybody recognized or gave her credit for,” Asner says of the trailblazing star of “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” who died Jan. 25 at 80. Recalling the show’s premiere episode, in which his Lou Grant told Moore’s character he hated her spunk, Asner sighs, “Oh, yeah. She had spunk up the wazoo.”
Speaking by phone from Toronto, where he just wrapped up scenes for the film “The Parting Glass,” starring Anna Pacquin, Asner allowed that Moore’s Emmy-winning show was blessed with great writers and actors.
“But her talent is what drew all those flies. She inspired those flies and created the happy work atmosphere we had and stimulated the talent that each of us had,” Asner says. “We couldn’t have been that good without her.”
A seven-time Emmy winner, the 87-year-old Asner is on his way to the Coral Springs Center for the Arts for a March 3 performance of “A Man and His Prostate,” a critically lauded one-man show that is as funny as its intentions are sober. Just as it sounds, the show stars Asner as an average Joe, in a ball cap, tropical shirt and shorts, sharing his experience with the nefarious gland in all its glorious detail, beginning with the glove story.
After a 2016 New York performance, a Huffington Post reviewer gushed over Asner’s portrayal in “one hilarious ‘you-just-can’t-make-this-stuff-up’ scenario after another.”
The Coral Springs theater offers a warning that the show “contains adult language and explicit content.”
“There are no weenies exposed. That I know of,” Asner says. “It’s a frank discussion, with comedic overtones, of the prostate. I call it the male response to ‘The Vagina Monologues.’”
The show was created by Asner’s longtime friend, writer and producer Ed Weinberger, whose prostate was discovered to be the size of a “fresh caught branzino” when he fell ill while on vacation in Italy.
“The biggest laughter seems to come from women,” Asner says. “The men are too depressed to hear how delinquent they are, but the women are enjoying the discomfort that men put themselves through.”
Other than skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in American men, according to the American Cancer Society, which estimates more than 160,000 new cases will occur in 2017, and nearly 27,000 deaths. Roughly one man in seven will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime, with 60 percent of cases diagnosed in men age 65 or older, according to the ACS.
“A Man and His Prostate” will be performed 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 3, at the Coral Springs Center for the Arts, 2855 Coral Springs Drive. Tickets cost $43.46-$54.06. Call 954-344-5990, or visit CoralSpringsCenterForTheArts.com.