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He is a product of the night clubs, bistros and radio, where he has been practicing his special brand of surrealistic comedy under the soubriquet "The World's Foremost Authority." He is proud of the fact that he and his five brothers and sisters are alumni of the Brooklyn Hebrew Orphan Asylum, and that he is the former 112-pound boxing champion of the Civilian Conservation Corps.
A minor role in "Pots and Pans," a borscht circuit production, whetted his appetite for the stage. Irwin's night club career began with an appearance at the Village Vanguard and the past master of the non-sequitor has broken records for long runs at the Ruban Bleu, The Cotillion Room, the Copacabana, and Chicago's Palmer House. On the radio, Mr. Corey has starred on the Edgar Bergen and the Ballantine Radio Shows.
His first appearance in a musical comedy was in the U.S.O. presentation of "Oklahoma" in Europe, in which he took over Joseph Buloff's role as the peddler Ali Hakim, and he has subsequently been seen in "Heaven on Earth" and "Happy as Larry" on Broadway, and as the zany genie, Abou Ben Atom, in "Fla-hooley," by Yip Harburg ("Finnian's Rainbow" and "Over The Rainbow,") and Mrs. McThing. Off-Broadway he played the title role in The Good Soldier Schweik. In the 70's he played Marlo Thomas's father in the Herb Gardner play THIEVES and followed it by reprising his role in the Paramount film of the play.
In the words of internationally known theatre critic Kenneth Tynan, Corey is "a cultural clown, a parody of literacy, a travesty of all that our civilization holds dear and one of the funniest grotesques in America. He is Chaplin's clown with a college education."
He gained prominence in television on the talk shows of Steve Allan, Jack Paar, Johnny Carson and Ed Sullivan. On Jackie Gleason's show as a regular with Jayne Mansfield and Frank Fontaine. He did the Martha Rey Show, Sgt. Bilko, Andy Griffith, Andy Williams, "Doc" Bernard Hughs tv series, The Smother's Brothers, and Others in scripted shows. And all the rest of the Talk Shows from Dick Cavette, Merv Griffin, Mike Douglas, Pat Boon (Co-host for 1 week) Woody Woodberry, Joe Franklyn, to David Letterman, and I forget the rest... In radio he was Charlie McCarthy's tutor, and some people believe he was hiding in Fibber MaGee's closet.