My Talk With Ed Asner...About The Prostate

“So how’s your prostate?” I asked Ed Asner the other day.

It’s not a question I pose to many people I interview. In fact, I’ve never asked it. But Asner was bringing his show A Man and His Prostate to Old Saybrook’s Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center Aug. 16-17, where he also did his solo show about FDR a few years back, and it seemed appropriate.

“Oh, my prostate is in fine shape,” says the unmistakable crusty voice on the phone. “It’s peripatetic.”

But the show is really based on experiences of Ed Weinberger, who was writer-producer of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, the series that earned Asner an armful of Emmys.

Asner says the story follows Weinberger’s travails when the comedy writer was vacationing in Italy and developed medical issues in the nether regions.

Prostate talk may be one of the last frontiers for polite conversation, at least by men in a public setting, says Asner, 87. “I think it may tend to reflect their waning sexuality,” he says, “Maybe, too, it’s their prudery.”

But the hesitation is not just for embarrassed men of a certain age.

Asner says that he showed the work to leadership in the prostate medical community. “But they didn’t seem to want to pick up the banner [of the show], no matter how informative — and funny — the show is. They showed their own prudery.”

But Asner persevered anyway and waves the prostate banner proudly.

“I call it the male response to The Vagina Monologues,” he says.