Veteran actor Ed Asner hits The Players on Saturday

Michael H. Hodges
Detroit News Fine Arts Writer

Ed Asner, the lovable grump from the iconic TV shows "Mary Tyler Moore Show" and "Lou Grant," comes to Detroit on Saturday for a one-night-only performance of "A Man and His Prostate" at The Players in Detroit.

Actor Ed Asner recently wrote “The Grouchy Historian: An Old-Time Lefty Defends Our Constitution Against Right- Wing Hypocrites and Nutjobs.”

The one-man play was written by MTM Enterprises veteran Ed Weinberger, who suffered an attack of prostatitis while vacationing in Florence, Italy -- and faced the challenge of communicating with doctors and nurses, almost none of whom spoke good English. 

So what's this play about?

My producer and writer, Ed Weinberger, was on a tour of Italy with his wife. They were in Florence when he was struck with -- What am I trying to say? -- trouble in his key part. 

What attracted you to the part?

It's funny as hell, and does a good job of sounding cautionary notes for every man. 

Which raises the question -- how's your prostate?

I have no problems, but the number of men who die from prostate cancer is shocking. But so far I've been lucky. I'm just a fat tub. That's my problem. 

How old are you?

I'm 88. 

At 88, touring a one-man show seems very ambitious. 

I'm also touring with "God Help Us," that deals with a couple who were an item in the past, but have drifted apart and occupy different political extremes. I bring them together as God and prompt and coach and tickle and judge them.

You get around. 

Yeah. I kiss a lot of ass.

What's it like playing the divinity?

I was destined to play God. 

Have you done other one-man shows?

Yes, I toured with "FDR" for about four years. 

Actors playing long-running TV characters sometimes get imprisoned in that role. Did that happen with you and Lou Grant?

No. Even while doing the "Mary Tyler Moore Show," I ended up doing "Rich Man, Poor Man," which was a big crossover. And the following year I appeared in "Roots." But it's funny -- generally people don't rush to put me in high drama. 

Did you always want to be an actor?

No. I was an editor on my high school newspaper. My beloved teacher once asked, "You thinking of journalism as a career?" I said yes. But he said, "I wouldn't. You can't make a living." So I went into acting. 

You recently published "The Grouchy Historian: An Old-Time Lefty Defends Our Constitution Against Right-Wing Hypocrites and Nutjobs." Are you worried about the country? 

Oh yeah - very. It's like the country's out to lunch.

(313) 222-6021


'A Man and His Prostate' with Ed Asner 

8 p.m., Saturday

The Players, 3321 E. Jefferson, Detroit

$60 general admission; $75 VIP Package, includes afterglow and meet-and-greet with Ed Asner

To buy tickets go to: 

(313) 259-3385