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Just A Fully Naked Encounter With Harley Breen

10 April 2015 | 6:12 pm | Cyclone Wehner

“This title came from a conversation I was having with a young lady who lives on the other side of the world in Belfast, Northern Ireland."

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Harley Breen is touring a candid show, Just A Fully Naked Encounter. “Essentially it’s me just doing a brand new hour of live stand-up that I’ve loosely connected together again with a basic overarching theme of exposing myself, either figuratively or literally,” Breen explains, laughing. “So, without giving too much away, if you come and sit in the front row, you might be in pole position!”

“This title came from a conversation I was having with a young lady who lives on the other side of the world in Belfast, Northern Ireland. She said to me, ‘If you get over here, you’ll have just a fully naked encounter.’ I said, ‘That is a funny title for the show.’ She goes, ‘I dare you to do it’ – and so I did. Then I had to try to figure out, well, what’s ‘just a fully naked encounter’ mean?” Breen has already performed JAFNE in Adelaide, Brisbane and Melbourne ahead of the Sydney Comedy Festival (where he’ll also stage a pirate-themed kids’ show with Heath Franklin, aka Chopper).

"We just love telling a story. I’ve had a desire to tell stories for as long as I remember."

Breen lives in St Kilda East but he’s “a country Queensland boy”. He moved to Brisbane’s suburbs as a teen and at 22 left for Melbourne. It was here he established himself as a comedian – or “storyteller”. Breen has had small acting roles (notably in Peter Helliar’s It’s A Date) and appeared on TV. But stand-up is his “passion”. Mind, he feels uncomfortable about how comedians are lionised. “I think we’re just the ones who choose to tell the story – which is amazing in itself, to be a storyteller and choose to narrate your life to an audience – but we’re no more interesting than anybody else. We just love telling a story. I’ve had a desire to tell stories for as long as I remember. I’m captivated by them and I love watching an audience be captivated by mine – whether that audience was around the dinner table as a young fella or a paying audience at a festival, I get off on it.” And Breen is particular about acting parts, not seeing himself as another Eric Bana. “I’d run towards any kind of comedic acting role, definitely,” he says. “[But] I’m not that interested in being in serious situations, mostly!”

Breen gigged at 2007’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe but, while having “an absolutely wonderful time”, he holds “no desire to go back” – it’s too far away. “I’ve got a small child – a four-and-a-half-year-old – who I have shared care of and so I only really do the tours that can allow me to still achieve my commitments as a parent.” Nonetheless, Breen is a regular visitor to New Zealand and has recently enjoyed performing in Asia. He guested at India’s first Oz Fest (as did MasterChef Australia’s judges, “who are massively famous in India – they had a bigger motorcade than Julia Gillard”). Most of all, Breen is a homebody. “I just think the comedy scene in Australia’s so strong. For the last nine years I have been a full-time comic and met all my bills – sometimes by the skin of my teeth, but I’ve done it.”