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Who is Andy Corren? Irreverent obituary of mom Renay Mandel goes viral

Bruno Cooke December 21, 2021
andy corren


Andy Corren’s obituary of his mother, in which he describes her as “plus-sized Jewish lady redneck”, “bawdy, fertile, redheaded matriarch” and “talented and gregarious grifter”, has gone decidedly viral. Who is the man behind the obituary, and why has it picked up so much attention?

Who is Andy Corren, son of Renay Mandel Corren?

In the obituary he wrote of his 84-year-old mother Renay, Andy Corren refers to himself as “favourite son, the gay one who writes catty obituaries in his spare time”.

He’s a talent manager, and divides his time between Manhattan and the Catskill mountains in New York State.

Per The Guardian’s profile of him, Andy Corren writes “tight 1,500-2,500-word pieces” to perform at storytelling shows. He’s also written, produced and performed small pieces of theatre. 

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“I come from three ancient and proud traditions of storytelling”, it quotes him as saying. “Jewish, gay, and Southern.”

He has brothers, although it’s not clear how many, and a dog. Corren lives in what he describes as a “dirt hovel on the side of a mountain”, and is currently working on “a redneck Less Than Zero” (in reference to a 1985 novel by Bret Easton Ellis) about him and his family.

How has Andy Corren reacted to his obituary’s viral success?

Since publishing the obituary several days ago, numerous news outlets – both in the UK and the US – have written about Andy Corren’s creativity.

The first that he commented on publicly, via an Instagram post, was in the Mirror (UK). The Mirror described Corren’s obituary as “hilarious” and “funny”. 

Corren responded by writing: “The British are so unctuous and supercilious like they don’t have, right now, a big old gasbag redneck grifting their country for all it’s worth, just like my beloved mommy did to her family.”

He’s shared other news stories with similar irreverence. 

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He particularly enjoyed it when Inside Edition called his obituary “sassy”. 

Andy’s tribute sparks tributes of its own

Andy Corren’s irreverence has caught on. 

In a lengthy comment on his Instagram post about NPR’s article on Renay Mandel Corren’s obituary, one user has written about his 81-year-old mother, who died, he writes, on November 10. 

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I am Georgina | Date Announcement Trailer | Netflix

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“She was a real piece of work”, reads the comment. “Oversharing was not a word in her vocabulary.”

“Your mom’s obituary really has a special place for me. That is definitely ‘…how to do it’! Condolences about Renay.”

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Bruno is a novelist, amateur screenwriter and journalist with interests in digital media, storytelling, film and politics. He’s lived in France, China, Sri Lanka and the Philippines, but returned to the UK for a degree (and because of the pandemic) in 2020. His articles have appeared in Groundviews, Forge Press and The Friday Poem, and most are readable on Medium or