While chatting to 10 play, Harley revealed that working on Making It Australia was his “dream job”, encapsulating the two things he loves most: creating things and comedy.
Having dabbled in DIY for much of his early life, Harley would spend hours inside his shed, letting all his creativity loose.
“It's kind of all I want to do, to be honest,” Harley said. “There was a period in my life where I went and did my prevocational course in carpentry joinery, but life threw different turns and I went in different directions. But I try to be busy with my hands making things.”
Getting an opportunity to host a show where all his passions were combined was something he just couldn’t give up.
“Oh it was great, I mean, it's a particularly distorted time for live entertainers given the current global pandemic. So, on one level, it was just really nice to have a job. But on another level, it's really nice to have a job that kind of encapsulated everything I'm into, which is crafting and making things and comedy. I was elated when I found out.”
Hosting the show came really easy to Harley, who “didn’t have to fake it” and was genuinely excited about every project the makers had to create.
“The only thing I didn't like is that I didn't get any time to make things. I really would have liked to get in with the tools and make my own version,” he laughed.
Working alongside such a successful woman, Susie Youssef, was an “absolute treat and dream”.
“Susie and I have known each other for a long time, I mean, the comedy world is pretty small. Susie was first of all a mate, but when we were cast together, we weren’t sure how it was going to work.
“We've never worked that intimately together. We've worked at festivals and she's a master improviser. I felt very safe with her, she was very reliable and easy to work with because I knew that if I did anything, she'd follow and likewise, whatever she offered, I would run with,” Harley said.
On the other side, Harley had never met Deborah Riley and Benja Harney prior to hosting Making It Australia.
“When I was given their brief, on paper they seemed like exceptional talent. Then as average people, they were both such a treat to be around. They had a harder job than Susie and I, I mean we did a lot of heavy lifting, but the idea of judging anything creative is really difficult, especially if you are a creative yourself because you've probably been judged in some way in the past.”
Judging the projects may have been difficult, especially considering the makers really outdid themselves time and again.
“They were amazing and incredibly diverse not only through backgrounds and age, but just who they were as individuals. None of them were alike, except, they were all very alike because they were all makers, and they were all very passionate about it. So, it was great to see their bond which seemed to happen almost instantaneously and the friendship sort of grew over time. I became fond of all of them as well. Great, amazing people with incredible skills.”
But the best part of filming, besides cracking jokes with his pal all day and watching the makers conjure up wild projects, was constantly learning new things.
“Every day I was learning stuff. I've said it quite a bit on the show, that my passion and desire outweigh my skill and ability. I love doing it. It's not that I’m great at it and there was just an exceptional skill in a lot of the makers from a whole diverse range of different skill sets.
“There are some days where I was being dragged away by the producers to move on to the next thing I had to do, but I actually just wanted to stand beside the maker and watch what they were doing and learn.”