Remember Puppetry of the Penis?

Remember Puppetry of the Penis?
Image:Vince Talotta (Getty Images)

Truthfully, I have always been fascinated by the physics of the penis itself—a strange and delightful appendage that dangles like an enormous skin tag off the front half of a man’s body. It tickles me that men are walking around with penises just flapping around inside their pants like a half-deflated air dancer, and it baffles me that in the right moments, that appendage can be of any use. Putting a paper towel cape around a post-coital penis and calling it a superhero is my own version of penis puppetry, but it’s now clear to me that I’ve drawn inspiration for these antics from the men behind Puppetry of the Penis, the originators of penis performance art.

I don’t spend much time thinking about Puppetry of the Penis, but a recent conversation at the workplace in and around a forthcoming podcast (I’m sorry) about Chippendales (sounds good!) brought this to front of mind. Chippendales, for the record, are not masters in the art of penis sculpture like the Australian men who pioneered this art form are, but they are two sides of the same coin. Neither male exotic dancers nor performance artists who, I’ve been told, “stretch” their sacks like balloons to warm up, are particularly sexy. But both use their bait and tackle in ways that, I guess, are meant to suggest sex. The Chippendales grind up on you, thrusting their shiny pelvises into the air and the men behind Puppetry of the Penis shape their meat and veg into approximations of other objects, reminding the viewer of the penis’s remarkable ability to adapt to any situation.

Puppetry of the Penis was created in Australia by puppeteers Simon Morley and David Friend, two men who realized that making inanimate objects out of their dicks was funny and that people would probably pay money to see it. First, there was a calendar featuring the penis installations, and then, at some point, these men figured that they could take their show on the road. Beautiful. Inspiring! A call to arms for anyone with an unusual dream and enough gumption to make that dream happen.

I’ve never been lucky enough to see a performance of Puppetry of the Penis or Chippendales, but ideally, when this cruel period is over, I will be able to attend a double feature in Vegas, chasing the giddy high of a male exotic dancer revue with men doing fucked-up shit to their dicks for a laugh. The vision I’ve pinned to my mood board for 2021 involves me double-fisting margaritas, using my freshly French-manicured nails to hold a big-ass joint, telling anyone who will listen about what I’ve seen and how much I’ve learned. To tide me over until that day comes, I decided to do a small amount of research into what these men are capable of.

The Hamburger is arguably the most well-known trick in their book, and involves separating the two balls, then cramming the dick inside the bun, then rotating the entire thing a solid 180 degrees to create an approximation of a hamburger. Frankly, I love it for its verisimilitude, but it is decidedly uncreative? Other offerings that lack creativity but are also funny. The Windsurfer involves stretching the ballsack to one side and the penis, skyward, to the other on a diagonal, creating an abstract vision of a windsurfer, if you use your imagination. It’s lazy and seems not that painful, so it’s a decent entry point for the amateur penis puppeteer. The Wristwatch involves stretching the flaccid dick around the wrist and proffering said flesh corsage like a Rolex. Smart! Clever! Funny.

Since we’re all stuck inside anyway, find a willing penis, if you’re able, and see what you can create. Shakespeare wrote King Lear during the plague. Let that be your inspiration to see what a dick can do for you.

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