Saturday, May 18, 2024

A detail of the poster for “Ken Reid’s Shirt Tales,” running Saturday in Central Square.

Moving is a pain for anyone, but for Ken Reid — a comedian and storyteller with a broad and obsessive interest in pop culture — it’s a monumental task. Never mind his music collection and thousands of DVDs and videotapes, many of them rare or unique; when he went down to his basement a couple of years ago for a move to the suburbs he realized he also owned literally thousands of T-shirts.

“It was the first substantial move I’d done in about 10 years,” Reid explained. “But I was like, ‘This is ridiculous.’”

When someone asked him to do a show, he made the practical and possibly vital decision to do it about those T-shirts, telling a story about several grabbed at random and then auctioning them off. “It was fun and people went nuts for the auction part. So I said, ‘I could do this without the auction part.’ I rented the theater the next day — which was probably a bad idea,” he said.

The result of all this arrives 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the YMCA theater in Central Square: “Ken Reid’s Shirt Tales.”

“My T-shirt collection is kind of the catalyst of the stories, but I’m also going to get into why people — specifically me — tend to collect T-shirts, since most people I know tend to have a bunch of T-shirts from different things, especially guys. I also get into the history of the T-shirt and how it got to where it is today. It should be funny and weird, and everyone gets a T-shirt at the end of the show,” he said.

Here are some T-shirts you probably won’t be getting at the end of “Shirt Tales”:

A “Just the 10 of Us” cast T-shirt autographed for Reid by Bill “Coach Lubbock” Kirchenbauer. Many won’t remember this three-season ABC sitcom spinoff from “Growing Pains,” but Reid has sent some of his consuming passion in pop culture down even this minor cul-de-sac and said he’s even supplied former cast members with scans of continuity scripts and their attached Polaroids showing wardrobe changes. He got Kirchenbauer’s autograph the obvious way: by being Facebook friends with him. “I don’t know anyone who could verify this, but I’m fairly certain I have the world’s largest ‘Just the 10 of Us’ memorabilia collection,” Reid said. An autographed T-shirt, though, “was like the one piece that was missing.”

A T-shirt autographed by Joel McHale, star of the NBC sitcom “Community” and the E! Entertainment Television pop culture review show “The Soup,” saying “Ken Reid, you’re fat and you watch too much television.” “I’ve actually never met him,” Reid said. But while opening for McHale at a comedy club, friend and comedian Shane Mauss talked about Reid and asked for a gift to bring back. “And that’s what he decided to write about me,” Reid said of McHale.

This is the fourth of Reid’s long-form shows, starting with “Ken Reid’s Cusack Attack,” which sold out the Boston Center for the Arts in 2006 with crowds eager to hear him chart his life via the films of John Cusack; “Very Special Episode: Portrait of a Pop Culture Victim” in 2008, revealing through clips of shows obscure and otherwise how television affected him, including his  appearance on U.K. game shows and a humiliating encounter with Adam West; and “Music to My Years” in 2009, which was featured by for its stories of the dead bodies Reid has found (while working in local radio) and his time with the 1990s punk band 30 Seconds Over Tokyo.

“Shirt Tales” might be the end for Reid, in a way.

“This might be the last long show I’ll do. I have other stories, but I don’t know that I have anything else I can string together into a theme,” Reid said.

But at least he’s not quitting comedy, a rumor that dogs Reid because — despite touring with Todd Barry and work with Jonathan Katz, Eugene Mirman, Patton Oswalt and Bob Saget, endless acclaim from fellow Boston comedians and two Best Comedian nominations by The Boston Phoenix — he doesn’t really enjoy doing it.

“I never have. It’s a weird thing. Sometimes I don’t know why I do it,” Reid said. “It’s like bleeding a radiator. Sometimes you have to.”

If this is indeed the last long-form show of Reid’s, there’s still a chance to get in on it: Tickets are $15, including an opening act by retro chanteuse Niki Luparelli — and that free T-shirt. The YMCA Cambridge Theatre is at 820 Massachusetts Ave., Central Square.