In the boganning

GOOD NEWS FOR CHOPOSTLES: Heath Franklin, aka Chopper, star of satirical TV panel show 7 Days, is about to bring his show Bogan Jesus to Gisborne.

You know him as the unchained, Ozzie with a languorous whine as he delivers off the chain jokes on the satirical TV show 7 Days. Underneath mustachioed Chopper the comedian’s felt-tip tattooed skin though is Heath Franklin, a completely different character who is amazed when anyone recognises him at the supermarket.

Lately, when he feels he’s got something to say, he’s let more of himself slip into his Chopper character. He plans to bring some of that Franklin-infusion to his show, Bogan Jesus, when Chopper swaggers onto the War Memorial Theatre stage next week.

“I’ve got to the point if there’s something I want to say I can say it as Chopper without too much of a gear change,” he says.

“It’s an idea I’ve had kicking around in my head for a while. People want Chopper’s world of crime and violence. It’s a cathartic thing but you have to grow and expand.”

Playing Chopper has been Franklin’s bread and butter since the character put on his sunglasses and short-sleeved shirt in 2003 when Franklin performed in university reviews. Chopper became “legitimate” as a character when Franklin was a regular on Australian sketch comedy TV show, The Ronnie Johns Half Hour.

The comedian has performed stand up as Heath Franklin but his comedic career has been “pretty much” Chopper.

“I’ve done stand-up as myself but there are a lot of white, 30-something males doing stand-up. As Chopper you can joke about putting the parking meter warden into the trunk of the car.”

The real life Chopper would approve of that. Possibly.

Franklin met the Australian criminal during a photo-shoot for Zoo magazine, a lad-rag that specialised in “women in bikinis and speedboat accidents”.

“He was really aloof and monosyllabic in trying to assert himself as the real-life Chopper,” says Franklin.

“After processing the experience, he seemed to me a bit insecure. He tried to suggest if I wanted to do a good job I should cut my ears off. In prison he cut his ears off when he thought he was going to get murdered.”

In the late 1970s, Chopper, Mark Read, had a fellow inmate remove his ears so he would be transferred from Pentridge Prison’s H division to the mental health wing.

Does Franklin find it ironic real life Chopper went on tour with his own show telling the story of his hardnut history?

“He used to do spoken word shows.”

Poetry?

“No, stories. I think people used to laugh out of shock.

Franklin discovered his alter-ego when his peers were quoting American spy comedy character Austin Powers from the popular Mike Myers movies. The comedian instead repeatedly watched the movie Chopper, in which actor Eric Bana played criminal hardman Mark “Chopper” Read.

“I just really enjoyed watching Eric Bana perform.”

Franklin did impressions of the villain. His girlfriend suggested he develop his version of Chopper for a sketch. The Australian comedian has never trained in performance art but he did take on the improvisatory platform of theatresports. The freedom to cut loose with spontaneous material in his shows as Chopper still needs a solid foundation to deviate from though, he says.

“You look at everything to see if anything funny is going on. It’s a mindset — being as receptive as possible. I do trial shows with a small audience, I need an audience in front of me. I find that way, you write down an idea and when you do it in stand-up it comes out the way it should.”

Chopper’s megalomania meant Bogan Jesus was a natural evolution. The concept of Bogan Jesus is a front, says Franklin.

“Chopper’s godlike opinions should be met with respect.”

One last question O Mighty Chopper. Do New Zealanders get his jokes quicker than Australians?

“I’m going to do the PR thing and say yes,” says Franklin.

No one’s going to recognise him at the supermarket anyway.

“Yes, they do.”

  • Heath Franklin’s Chopper presents Bogan Jesus, War Memorial Theatre, May 2, 7.30pm. General admission tickets are $42 while seniors and students will be charged $36. Purchase at http: www.ticketdirect.co.nz

You know him as the unchained, Ozzie with a languorous whine as he delivers off the chain jokes on the satirical TV show 7 Days. Underneath mustachioed Chopper the comedian’s felt-tip tattooed skin though is Heath Franklin, a completely different character who is amazed when anyone recognises him at the supermarket.

Lately, when he feels he’s got something to say, he’s let more of himself slip into his Chopper character. He plans to bring some of that Franklin-infusion to his show, Bogan Jesus, when Chopper swaggers onto the War Memorial Theatre stage next week.

“I’ve got to the point if there’s something I want to say I can say it as Chopper without too much of a gear change,” he says.

“It’s an idea I’ve had kicking around in my head for a while. People want Chopper’s world of crime and violence. It’s a cathartic thing but you have to grow and expand.”

Playing Chopper has been Franklin’s bread and butter since the character put on his sunglasses and short-sleeved shirt in 2003 when Franklin performed in university reviews. Chopper became “legitimate” as a character when Franklin was a regular on Australian sketch comedy TV show, The Ronnie Johns Half Hour.

The comedian has performed stand up as Heath Franklin but his comedic career has been “pretty much” Chopper.

“I’ve done stand-up as myself but there are a lot of white, 30-something males doing stand-up. As Chopper you can joke about putting the parking meter warden into the trunk of the car.”

The real life Chopper would approve of that. Possibly.

Franklin met the Australian criminal during a photo-shoot for Zoo magazine, a lad-rag that specialised in “women in bikinis and speedboat accidents”.

“He was really aloof and monosyllabic in trying to assert himself as the real-life Chopper,” says Franklin.

“After processing the experience, he seemed to me a bit insecure. He tried to suggest if I wanted to do a good job I should cut my ears off. In prison he cut his ears off when he thought he was going to get murdered.”

In the late 1970s, Chopper, Mark Read, had a fellow inmate remove his ears so he would be transferred from Pentridge Prison’s H division to the mental health wing.

Does Franklin find it ironic real life Chopper went on tour with his own show telling the story of his hardnut history?

“He used to do spoken word shows.”

Poetry?

“No, stories. I think people used to laugh out of shock.

Franklin discovered his alter-ego when his peers were quoting American spy comedy character Austin Powers from the popular Mike Myers movies. The comedian instead repeatedly watched the movie Chopper, in which actor Eric Bana played criminal hardman Mark “Chopper” Read.

“I just really enjoyed watching Eric Bana perform.”

Franklin did impressions of the villain. His girlfriend suggested he develop his version of Chopper for a sketch. The Australian comedian has never trained in performance art but he did take on the improvisatory platform of theatresports. The freedom to cut loose with spontaneous material in his shows as Chopper still needs a solid foundation to deviate from though, he says.

“You look at everything to see if anything funny is going on. It’s a mindset — being as receptive as possible. I do trial shows with a small audience, I need an audience in front of me. I find that way, you write down an idea and when you do it in stand-up it comes out the way it should.”

Chopper’s megalomania meant Bogan Jesus was a natural evolution. The concept of Bogan Jesus is a front, says Franklin.

“Chopper’s godlike opinions should be met with respect.”

One last question O Mighty Chopper. Do New Zealanders get his jokes quicker than Australians?

“I’m going to do the PR thing and say yes,” says Franklin.

No one’s going to recognise him at the supermarket anyway.

“Yes, they do.”

  • Heath Franklin’s Chopper presents Bogan Jesus, War Memorial Theatre, May 2, 7.30pm. General admission tickets are $42 while seniors and students will be charged $36. Purchase at http: www.ticketdirect.co.nz

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