We begin with a look at the repeat offences Chopper has committed in recent times, and why he is so grateful to be with us in Wellington after coming to us from the much-maligned city of Hamilton. Heath Franklin's character uses lists on several occasions as an effective means of reeling off sayings and life advice which you really shouldn't pursue. “Follow your dreams” may seem like a good way to live life but not according to Chopper, whose dreams involve such nonsensical ideas as [spoiler averted].
He is clearly playing to a crowd of fans who are familiar with his brand of comedy. Any heckles he does receive, rather than being abusive and requiring a put down, are of a bizarrely friendly and jovial nature. This is something which takes Chopper by surprise, so much so that he has to ask the audience to stop, as he states hasn't got time to have nice agreeable conversations all night long.
Swearing is a frequent part of Chopper's material, but there is surprisingly less than I was expecting to hear. There is a cleverness and intelligence to much of his set which makes for an entertaining show. Many comedians garner laughter from New Zealand audiences by making jokes at the expense of Australia. This can be tiresome and generic at the best of times, but when it comes from an Australian with a unique twist it has added impact and feels refreshingly honest.
“How the f-king hell are ya?,” Chopper, aka Heath Franklin, exclaims as he strides out on to the stage, popping a coldie as he goes.
Remarkably, or perhaps not, the venue’s pretty much stuffed to capacity. You’d wonder why. What would Kiwis really know about the real Mark Brandon "Chopper" Read, Australia’s most notorious dweller from the underbelly Downunder. Turns out quite a bit.
Franklin uses a ‘stabbing’ as a platform for a series of gags about foreign call centres and phone company tyranny when members of the audience start shouting out the names of Chopper’s real arch enemies. Someone’s been reading Read’s elongated best selling seres of infamous adventures in crime land. To his credit, Franklin quips back with compliments to his hecklers – “You’re all so polite here. In Aussie they’d be swearing blind cr*p. But here you’re offering suggesting and compliments – cheers!”
Polite we all are tonight. Rude we are not. Despite Chopper’s rep and high profile on TV3’s 7 Days the crowd is not entirely Bogans. Admittedly the all knew the opening tune from ACDC, but that’s about as far as it goes. It’s an international group, too. Straight after Chopper’s been laughing at a specific expression that in German means “I want to slap your face”, who should he grab out of the audience but a German punk rocker. The slightly nervous victim is dragged on wearing a false handle-bar mo and aviators to do a variety of “Chopperisms’, which she fails dismally at.
Still it’s a good night and well worth the money. Come again? F**k Yeah!
Read more here: