Puppetry of the Penis

Puppetry of the Penis was first performed in 1998, making the show now 20 years old. It was originally going to be a calendar. The idea for the show was conceived in Australia by Simon Morley, and he convinced his friend David “Friendy” Friend to join in. They performed it for the first time at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, which resulted in an eight month Australian tour.

There have been many traveling versions of the show, and it has been performed in Australia, UK, USA, Germany, Ireland, New Zealand, Canada, Belgium, The Netherlands, Italy, Portugal, Iceland, Norway, Spain, France, Denmark, Argentina, Mexico, South Africa and Switzerland. They currently have a resident theater in Las Vegas at the Erotic Heritage Museum, and you should check the museum web site for more information as I could not find a mention on the main Puppetry of the Penis site. The show is in this unique venue because a show like this can not be legally done in showroom in a casino.

Yes, it really is a bare ass naked show

It is a modest theater with limited seating, but the good news is that you are never too far from the stage for a good view. There is also a video screen so you always have a clear view of the penises. That might be a good thing, or a bad thing for the more squeamish unused to seeing male penises unencumbered. They claim that this is the ancient Australian art of genital origami, but there actually is no such thing. I think a better metaphor might be genital based balloon animals.

If I could describe the show in a single word, though, it would be funny. Give me four words and I would say laugh out loud funny. Yes, if you have ever seen Dane Cook or Dennis Miller perform, you know that dicks in comedy are nothing new. This just takes it more literally. Sure, there are nervous and embarrassed laughs, but there are plenty of straight out “these guys are hilarious” laughs. The penis bending and twisting can be impressive, but the show is really about comedy.

Almost as entertaining as the show is looking around at the audience and how they react. There are bachelorette parties, and groups of birthday celebrants. There are gay men and a smattering of heterosexual men, apparently drug into the show by their female partners. For most, this is the first time they have spent an hour staring at two guy’s penises. I have been in many situations involving naked men, but even I have never spent an hour staring at their penises before. There were a lot of “Oh my Gods” throughout the show.

They do ease you into the show, with a warm-up act featuring comedienne Kristeen von Hagen. I found her set quite entertaining. When Jamie Morris and Robert Ryan come out, they are wearing capes, so we don’t get to the full frontal nudity immediately. We do get there before very long, though. There is more variety than you might imagine, and a lot of the humor is unexpected and goes beyond just their penises. I am not even going to describe the various things they make with their penises, which include “The Pelican,” “The Windsurfer,” “The Eiffel Tower,” and “The Loch Ness Monster.”

The biggest surprise to me in the show was when they asked for volunteers from the audience who would be willing to be taught on stage how to do the signature figure The Hamburger. It is not a huge theater and the audience was mostly women. I thought it would be very unlikely they would get anyone. They got three. The gentlemen turned their backs to the audience as they were talked through the moves, and then turned around to put their origamed penises on display.

Jamie and Robert demonstrate their signature Hamburger

I found this to be a very entertaining show, way beyond my expectations. More significantly though, I think this is an important show. America is a very prudish country in comparison to most European countries. Most women in this country have limited opportunities to view two fully naked guys showing off their penises (and very nice penises they are indeed) and also quite frequently their behinds, which I understand many people enjoy looking at perhaps even more than penises. Many have never even spent much time staring at their partner’s penis.

Demystifying the penis is a good thing, just as with performance artists such as Annie Sprinkle who have worked to demystify the vagina in their performances. Until very recently, even showing a limp male penis in a movie qualified for an instant X-Rating. I think it is healthy for both men and women to become more comfortable with penises (and vaginas as well), and that seeing penises live on stage is healthy and positive, even if it is, in this case, a little twisted.

For a Vegas show, it is quite inexpensive, and well worth seeing. You’ll never see anything like it.