Cadbury Crunchie Comedy Chamber, Auckland

19/05/2009 - 23/05/2009

Ilott Theatre, Wellington

12/05/2009 - 15/05/2009

Baycourt - Addison Theatre, Tauranga

27/10/2010 - 27/10/2010

NZ International Comedy Festival 2007-09, 2013

Production Details

"Australia’s funniest comedy character…" *****, Sunday Mail 2008  

Sometimes life seems a bit tough, and you just feel like finding a quiet corner and having a cry. Well its times like these that Chopper thinks you should take off your skirt, grow a moustache and harden the fuck up. 

As seen on C4’s sketch comedy show The Ronnie Johns Half Hour, Heath Franklin brings his award-nominated comedy alter ego ‘Chopper’ to New Zealand for the first time. After selling over 100,000 tickets in Australia and the UK, ‘Chopper’ takes no prisoners as he headbutts his way from Wellington to Auckland for the NZ Comedy Festival*. 

The world’s gone soft since the ANZACS first stood on the beaches of Gallipoli. Sure Jake the Mus could wallop Hugh Jackman in a fight, but New Zealand needs a new kind of motivational speaker. It’s time for The Land of the Long White Cloud is about to meet the Man of the Long Brown Mo. From the Smurfs to hands-free mobiles, mangoes, Switzerland, to anti-smoking ads, even Darth Vader gets a punch in the soft guts by the International Ambassador of Hard. 

Through a series of multi-media presentations, motivations, puppetry and extreme but justifiable violence, Chopper hopes to change the way people look at themselves. Unlike Oprah, his idea of a ‘book club’ is hitting someone with the Yellow Pages and, let’s face it; Dr Phil’s moustache is weaker than a light beer with ice-cubes. 

So, New Zealand, it’s time to take a good hard look at yourself. You’ve become a nation of bloody sooks. Join life coach Chopper for a night of comedy, audience participation, and finding your ‘inner mongrel’. 

*Heath Franklin’s Chopper will also be appearing in Hamilton on May 16 

Dates:  May 12-15 (Preview May 12), 7 30pm
Venue:  The Illot Theatre, Wellington Convention Centre
Tickets:  Full $32/conc and groups (+8) $28/ Preview $25
Bookings:  Ticketek (0800 TICKETEK)/

Dates:  May 19-23 (Preview May 19), 7pm
Venue:  The Cadbury Crunchie Comedy Chamber, Auckland Town Hall, The Edge
Tickets:  Full $32/conc and groups (+8) $28/ Preview $25
Bookings:  The Edge: 0800 BUY TICKETS/


2010 – Tauranga
Baycourt Theatre 27 October 2010

1hr, no interval

His eye for detail and lateral thinking makes him very funny

Review by Vanessa Byrnes 27th Oct 2010

“Go South, young man, there’s money in them there audiences!” could well be the catchcry for Heath Franklin’s show currently touring NZ. Baycourt Theatre (over 500 seats) was packed to the gunnels in Tauranga on a Wednesday night.

Lots of men in the audience; a stronghold of Chopperophiles were indeed in the house. This is big comedy business. Heath Franklin has tapped into a vein of comedy culture that’s sure to support him for a while yet.

David Quirk did a rallying job of warming up the audience. He’s a bright young thing who won the audience over in a matter of minutes and I would pay to see him again.

Chopper, a parody of the convicted criminal Mark ‘Chopper’ Read, is a vision of bogan relaxedness in his track pants and blue t-shirt with a beer in hand. Nothing is sacred in this hour of standup. Be prepared to take an audience oath and undertake an exploration of all things that need “hardening the F**k up”; punctuation, rugby, nationality, psychoanalysis, flying, and ventriloquism.

Some clever links between each set up, too. It’s a short sharp ride into (sometimes) shared perspective with a man who sees the ‘softness’ in nearly everything. He’s actually very funny. 

The exterior veneer of westie humour belies an intelligence that I didn’t expect. Franklin is a wordsmith with razor-sharp timing. The analysis of a complaint letter written to him, and his ensuing reply, left me in stitches as it stressed the need for better punctuation.

Despite the billing, I think the eye for detail in his comedy and lateral thinking is what I most enjoyed from Franklin’s performance. He’s a clever chap who has an eye for timing both on and off stage. Fabulous use of compliant and non-compliant audience members, too.

My only bugbear was that the show was too short. Yes, brevity is the soul of wit, but to see such a large audience pack the theatre out on a Wednesday night (in a recession), I reckon an extra 15 minutes more – or at least an encore – would have left us feeling satisfied. I did leave feeling slightly short changed that the work was over so soon so I can only hope Chopper will harden the F**k up to make it not harder, but longer.

Sorry, Chopper, despite the quality sometimes size does count. 
For more production details, click on the title above. Go to Home page to see other Reviews, recent Comments and Forum postings (under Chat Back), and News. 


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“It scares me that I agree with practically everything he says”

Review by Andra Jenkin 21st May 2009

When I saw that a big name in comedy like ‘Chopper’ didn’t have a reviewer, I was surprised. Having heard excerpts on the radio that I enjoyed, I signed up in excited anticipation of the Aussie hard man’s show. It wasn’t until I thought about it that I realised why no one wanted to be the reviewer. This is a man who appears to have poor impulse control and violent habits. If he doesn’t like you, you know it, and if I don’t like him? What then? This is a man who promises to break into your house and ram lego into your cat’s eye if you don’t come to see the show. So I made sure I went.

Situated in the Town Hall with cabaret style seating in the front, the Harden the Fuck Up New Zealand show is packed out. It’s a beautiful venue, more used to chamber music than stand up comedy, so the staff have to think twice before letting the punters know that yes you can bring a beer into this show. You can even buy it at the bar downstairs, in a plastic cup.

Up in the nose bleed section all of the show can be seen, and strangely it feels close to the stage, but it is still worth getting seats up front. The prices are thirty two dollars either way, and for the brave there is a whole lot of audience interaction. Certainly the eleven year old in the front row got more than he bargained for.

The show isn’t exactly politically correct.  I think I know where all of the deleted expletives from the Watergate tape ended up. Chopper’s got a filthy mouth and it scares me that I agree with practically everything he says.

A short film introduces Heath Franklin’s Chopper character, and if you’ve listened to The Rock you’ll know the dialogue, but it’s still worth watching.  He immediately grabs control of the audience and doesn’t let go. We all take the ‘fuckin oath’ oath, and if you go, you will too.

Consistently funny, the audience shows their appreciation throughout, even those who were resoundingly mocked for being soft. Some can’t help themselves but repeat his lines right after he says them and you just know that those lines will go round the office like wildfire tomorrow.

Chopper was on top form with the ad-libbing rolling off the tongue, making the show a unique one. He’s a skilled performer and it’s obvious he’s been on tour all over Australia (pronounced ‘Straya) and has no fear of his audience. He mixes a well rehearsed routine with topical jokes, and hilarious stories about what he’s seen in the last week just touring around New Zealand. This gives the show a fresh and friendly feel. He knows what to say to a crowd to get them onside. He may be tough, but he isn’t stupid. 

There are times that the show is pure stand up comedy with a spartan set and few props, but also there are visual aids, official documents, correspondence, and surprisingly a ventriloquists dummy which, for the first time in history, is actually funny.

The end is rather sudden, and though I’m expecting an encore, in usual passive New Zealand style we file out. Chopper has promised to have a chat with those that want to say ‘Gidday’ after the show. True to his word he’s out front signing autographs and letting people take a picture with him pulling the finger. For a hard man he’s a big softie.

So if you’re feeling down, and feel like having a bit of a cry, then harden the fuck up and come to see Chopper’s show, and have a laugh instead.
For more production details, click on the title above. Go to Home page to see other Reviews, recent Comments and Forum postings (under Chat Back), and News. 


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