Irwin Corey, Thomas Pynchon’s Stand-in, Still Up to His Old Tricks


Today The New York Times has a story about Professor Irwin Corey, the 97-year-old stand-up comedian who has spent the past 17 years begging on the street on behalf of his favorite charity, which donates medical supplies to children in Cuba. The article neglects to mention our favorite Mr. Corey stunt, when he accepted Thomas Pynchon’s National Book Award for Gravity’s Rainbow in 1973. It was an eventful evening: not only did Mr. Pynchon fail to provide a public appearance, but a streaker ran through the audience during Mr. Corey’s acceptance speech. “I want to thank Mr. Knopf, who just ran through the auditorium,” Mr. Corey said in his conclusion.