Review: Smell the Penguins

5 years ago
Stacey Waters

Smell the Penguins is a show about love. At least that’s what Harley Breen told us; personally it’s the only show about love that’s contained quite so many dick jokes that I’ve ever seen. From drugs to child-raising to doctor’s visits, Breen leads us throughout numerous events in his life, almost a how-to-not guide of particular things. Hot tip; try to follow the dosage recommendations from your drug dealer.


The almost hour-long show is packed together tightly, Breen manages to cover a range of topics in succession, all blending together seamlessly with no uncomfortable segues or moments where he falters. The show has clearly been practised and perfected over time, showing in the way that Breen flawlessly switches between material without hesitation. If someone can flip from talking about his son to discussing the genital hygiene of men with a monobrow and it’s not weird – you have to admire that.

Breen shows obvious delight at the enjoyment of his jokes, taking a moment after a few to grin at the audience anytime a particular one received a round of applause or continued laughter. A genuinely likeable figure, he was happy to meet each audience member at the door with a smile and nod as we entered the room.

This persona continued on stage, despite the vague mockery of his son (a nice change from some who rave on about how special their child is) it is clear how much he does love his five year old, despite the somewhat tiring times raising a child creates. His tales on being a single father are probably more accurate than you’d hear spoken about at other times, as well as the fear that may fill you when a child learns to use the Internet.

Smell the Penguins is probably one of the best shows I’ve seen so far at Melbourne International Comedy Festival and an excellent way to be entertained for the night. You’ll leave with some new advice about life – just advice you probably won’t want to actually follow.


Smell the Penguins is running 24th March – 17th April at Melb Town Hall as part of Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Tickets can be purchased here

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