Review: Heath Franklin's Chopper @ Brisbane Comedy Festival 2024

Heath Franklin
Lloyd Marken likes to believe everyone has a story and one of the great privileges of his life has been in recent years to tell stories as a freelance writer. He has proudly contributed to scenestr magazine since 2017 and hopes to continue long into the future.

It has been three years since we last saw Heath Franklin as his Chopper character on stage, and it's good to have him back.

A lot has been happening in the world and your Uncle Chop Chop is here to, if not exactly make sense of it all, then at least give you some helpful suggestions on how to approach life.

Ten years on from the death of the real Chopper Read, we’ve now also had over two decades of Heath doing the impersonation. That distance of time allows the space between character and creator to shrink. The topics of his show reflect the age and outlook of the man behind the character, from arguing against the bad rap that millennials get, making fun of vegans, creating better branding for the LGBTQ+ community, to pop culture references of The Red Hot Chili Peppers and the 1992 action movie ‘Under Siege’.

The long-time performer creates a relaxed atmosphere in the air, unafraid to work the crowd and mine gold from even the shyest of participants.

On a Saturday afternoon with a little less alcohol flowing in the crowd, the stand-up proves game when he feels the energy dip, or the audience get nervous. He always calls attention to the mood before the confidence in his own logic and the hammer blow of a punchline always lands the joke safely.

Far from the ruthless killer that the persona comes from, Heath’s Chopper is a useful creation to provide catharsis for the comedian and his audience at the frustrations of life. The Chopper persona gives his comedy bite and sarcastic wit, but if you look carefully, Heath himself is often just asking that we don’t take ourselves too seriously and that we be better to each other.

The classic use of an alter ego to champion kindness through the appearance of a hard edge.

If Heath is Clark Kent and his Chopper persona is Superman, then it is good to look up in the sky once again and see not a bird, not a plane, but a super comedian.

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