People take the penis so damn seriously. For Generation Boom, Generation X, Generation Y and just about everyone else in this too-often humorless country, male genitalia is no laughing matter. Leave it to the Aussies to have a good, hard chuckle.
Back in 1996, Australian comedy promoter Simon Morley took a cue from his little brother and published an artsy calendar of highbrow dick tricks. “The Ancient Art of Genital Origami,” he called them. What grew from the hilarity of the calendar turned out to be every semi-cocksure male's bathtub dream: Morley's johnson turned into a demigod, replete with sold-out comedy-theater routine and high-flying documentary about the funny shapes boys can make with their penises.
Puppetry of the Penis is no cousin of The Vagina Monologues. Not even a distant in-law. Through installations, Morley and his partner-in-penile-manipulation, David Friend, create people, places and things-hamburgers, snails, bullfrogs, boomerangs, the Loch Ness monster and the like-using the skin and mass of their penis and testicles.
It's not overtly sexual. It's not shameful. It's that frat trick from back in the day done as profitable theater.
Morley and Friend-and their new touring cast of performers hired to satiate the international audience that called for the expansion of this Australian, British and Canadian theatrical hit-have left behind the taboo of male façade. Men and women crowd spaces to watch flaccid genitals on a big screen for an hour, and they laugh. Not because they take pleasure in crushing male feelings (and organs), but because no one has ever jumped on stage, sans clothes, plus cape, and celebrated the liberation from oppressive penile servitude.
Morley told the San Francisco Chronicle back in October that he has never known such job satisfaction: “I once had an 80-year-old lady come up to me after the show, give me a big cuddle and say, ‘Son, I've been waiting 65 years to laugh at a penis like that.'
“We've been waiting for someone to tell us to stop this, but everyone keeps encouraging us,” he said.
But not everyone thinks Puppetry is all that funny. Some newspapers in London and the U.S. won't even mention the show in calendars or in theater lineups. Jay Leno caught on to Morley and Friend's hype back in 2002, but the Salt Lake City NBC affiliate wouldn't even air the Puppetry segment. And both men were fully clothed!
Getting to the meat of the matter, we at CityBeat wondered: What would a “Puppetry” penis say, had it the gumption to speak out about its twisting, warping, bending, tickling and sculpting?
CityBeat: How, Penis, do you deal with the physical requirements of such a demanding job?
Penis: I'd like to think that any male could do this. Boys train serendipitously from a very young age to play with their yogurt slinger: in the bath, on the couch, in the grocery, under the table at dinner. But as much as we don't like to talk about size requirements, let's just say: the more clay the sculptor has to work with, the more he can create.
What was your first ‘Puppetry' trick?
How does that work?
Have you ever seen an uncircumcised penis before?
Then don't ask.
What do your friends think about your new career?
I think they really understand that this is a valuable and substantial move forward for other penises around the world. No more suffering through “The Vagina Monologues.” No more strange looks when we turn to “adjust.” Just pure puppetry.
When do you hope to retire from genital origami?
If I'm not outta here in a year, my balls will be sweeping the kitchen floor.
At this point in the interview, the subject went flaccid, apparently no longer inspired to respond. It's a common fault of ego, when penises grow too big, too fast.
Yet for frat-boys-who-take-party-tricks-too-far everywhere, the partially decorated Christmas tree has spoken, and we are left with the repercussive genius of Simon Morley and David Friend who have only one thing to say:
“Get over it, it's just a piece of skin.”