Heath Franklin is setting off on the road with a new show featuring his Chopper persona called ‘Bogan Jesus’.
Religion will obviously feature but what else can audiences expect from this new show? Heath’s answer might surprise but follows the first golden rule of comedy: “Hopefully they kind of don’t expect anything to be honest. I mean they can expect it to be a funny show and then maybe somewhere on a secondary level I’m making a point but for the most part every show that I do with Chopper is just about trying to maximise the number of jokes. Just to make sure the people coming to see the show laugh as hard as they can for an hour and then leave again basically. My show has a point of view but ironically I’m definitely not preaching to anyone.”
The character has been part of Heath’s life since his early university revue days and when Heath was part of ‘The Ronnie Johns Half Hour’ in 2005, the network wanted Chopper to feature in every episode. Since his television debut the comic performer has done many shows with a twist on his beloved character. So how does he keep it fresh?
“Recently a lot more I suppose I am trying to sneak a few more of my political standings into jokes and so the interesting way of doing that is taking me, who I’d say is a bit of a leftie, and trying to make a point with Chopper, who’s definitely super conservative, and then sort of seeing what the result is. You’ve got to come up with a new and interesting way of taking the issue apart which is kind of a nice challenge and it also makes you rethink all your own positions too when you’re forced to translate it into Chopper’s words,” Heath explains.
Success is not something the funny man takes for granted, saying “before we were given the TV show, in my head I was like this is something I love and I’m going to do it when I’m awake and when I’m not working kind of thing and it was going to be my hobby. There was this moment where we had this great opportunity where our hobby got turned into our job and even then I was very suspicious and I sort of hung onto my old boss’s phone number for a while.
"I’ve had friends who I think are exceptionally funny who gave stand-up comedy or live comedy a real crack and eventually had to choose between their job and stand-up comedy. I was just so fortunate that I didn’t have to make that decision. I was given this great opportunity where it was my job and I have been super fortunate to be able to keep doing this as a job.”
“If you had told me 15 years ago that I was going to spend most of my adult life catching aeroplanes with a little moustache in a box with some textas to create fake tattoos with I would’ve quite rightly laughed in your face to be honest. Even in hindsight it’s pretty ridiculous.” Ridiculous or not, based on Heath’s talent and the enduring appeal of Chopper, he better hold on to that box and its contained items just a little bit longer.
‘Bogan Jesus’ Tour Dates6-11 February – State Library Theatrette at Fringe Central (Fringe World Perth)
16 February-4 March – Corona Theatre at The Garden Of Unearthly Delights (Adelaide Fringe)
10 March – Arts Centre Gold Coast
11 March – Brisbane Powerhouse (Brisbane Comedy Festival)
22 March – Spiegeltent Hobart
23 March – Penrith Panthers (NSW)
25 March – Laycock Theatre (Gosford, NSW)
28 March-22 April – The Athenaeum Theatre (Melbourne Comedy Festival)
17-20 May – The Factory Theatre (Sydney Comedy Festival)