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Harley Breen: Just A Fully Naked Encounter

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by Kiesten McCauley (subscribe)
My early career was in teaching, writing, producing and directing for theatre, comedy and impro shows. Now I'm a professional creative person. Mostly high-end branding, strategy, writing, editing and digital content creation.
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Comedian is Exposed in More Ways Than One
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Comedian Harley Breen

When the question of the meaning of his Brisbane Comedy Festival show's title arises, Harley Breen laughs.

"I've been titling shows for the last four years with 'whatever'. I do an hour of stand up and essentially my shows have always just been called Harley Breen and then you've got to say something, so then I'll add some kind of something (like) The Secret of Being Awesome," he admits, "Now I've got Just a Fully Naked Encounter which was actually said to me by a person in my life," Harley sighs, in that way a man does when he's transported back to a pivotal moment.

His show, Just a Fully Naked Encounter is currently playing at the Brisbane Comedy Festival. On Tuesday's opening night, Harley had my super grateful plus one and I laughing nonstop, with a combination of both a collection of his best material and musings on the show's title.

"It's definitely loosely following a theme of being exposed literally and figuratively," Harley notes, "And you know, as a single father I'm constantly exposed to the judgement of my four year old and the judgement of the greater society around me."

He laughs a big hearty tenor laugh this time, which, when you see him effortlessly plying his trade, you'll realise comes out of a perfect Colgate commercial smile, slightly obscured by a Lumbersexual beard. Harley's affable onstage manner immediately relaxes the crowd into feeling we're all best mates. We're seconds into the routine before everyone starts laughing, and we don't stop for the next fifty or so minutes, except to occasionally appreciate a salient point. Harley can be saying something edgy, blue, or downright wrong, but he executes it with such charm, it's no wonder his career's on a constantly upward trajectory.

"It's a natural progression in any job," he muses when I ask him about his recent stints on telly, "I think you stay in it long enough and all of a sudden you start doing all the gigs. It's funny… it's hard to look at it from the inside. I just go from one thing to the next and don't spend a lot of time sort of observing it in the grand scheme of things. I suppose if I'm forced to look back on recent years, it's been a good few years."

Harley's first gig was in February of 2001 when as a young, aspiring actor, he scoured the phone book for job opportunities and came across The Sit Down Comedy Club. He's done hundreds of gigs at home and abroad since those days.

"I think I'm a veteran now, I'm certainly past my long service leave," he jokes.

You can certainly tell Harley has acting skills. His stagecraft is flawless, his mic skills are tight and he brings energy and charisma to his performance. It's those little extra things that an audience doesn't notice when they're done right, but will be noticed when they're not as professionally executed as in Breen's hour of comedy. And so he should be slick, as he's hit Brisbane fresh off a successful stint at the Adelaide Fringe Festival.

"I had three shows there," Harley remarks, "A solo, a late night show and a kids show and it's only just wrapped up yesterday. Two nights ago I got a tattoo live on stage."

Throughout Adelaide Fringe Harley promised crowds he'd get the best heckle permanently inked on himself and was true to his word.

"I was holding up boards that had words written on them and as I was dropping one board after the other this guy from the audience just goes, 'Move on Bob Dylan' which I think is very clever, a very smart reference to Subterranean Homesick Blues."

While Harley clearly loves venturing into the very clever and smart territory, he also explores the cheeky, fun, embarrassing and silly sides of life in his beautifully paced set. A word of warning, this show contains adult themes and language. There's also the possibility you'll cop some full frontal male nudity but it's art so it's okay to look if you're over the age of consent.

You can follow Harley on Twitter @harleybreen or Facebook .

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*Kiesten McCauley was invited as a guest
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Why? You Can Never See Enough of Breen
When: 17 – 22 March, 7.15pm (5.15pm Sunday)
Phone: Book via the Powerhouse website
Where: Turbine Studio, Powerhouse Theatre
Cost: Fri/Sat $30, Weds/Thurs/Sun $27 ($24)
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