‘Chopper’ show: Laughing at the silence
THE Silencer, a show by comedian Heath Franklin adopting his on-stage persona 'Chopper', will land in Gladstone at the end of next month for an "irreverent" night of laughs backed up by a theme of "silence".
Sydney-based Franklin said he was looking forward to the road trip which was part of a two-country, 32-city, and 65-show tour lasting until June.
Taking in New Zealand as well as Australia, Franklin - who enjoyed watching Richard Pryor as a child - said this week he wants people to "laugh as hard as they can for an hour".
"And the theme is secondary to that - it's the garnish on the side of the dish."
Franklin was winner of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival's 'Comics' Choice Award' in 2018 and said his Chopper character was a sketch he had started while at university.
"I found it was a direct and interesting way of telling jokes and putting ideas into practice. It was a point of difference, and all of a sudden I've unlocked this whole world."
He said that while he wanted to give people laughter, he had also been affected emotionally last week when he took his humour to Kangaroo Island with the organisers of the Adelaide Fringe.
"Kangaroo Island was hit by the bushfires, so about 10 of us went on a bus and did a free gig to raise money and so the locals could let off some steam.
"Afterwards we had a chat and you can tell that they really needed it - they just needed that pressure valve to be released.
"It was crazy to think that all I did was 10 minutes of comedy but it seemed to make a world of difference."
The Silencer show, Franklin said, wasn't designed to tell people "you should think this or that".
However, it did encourage people to consider their use of the internet and how 'silence' can be positive.
"It's the age of the internet. We were all promised this amazing tool for information, but it's also led to pointless bickering with strangers and given outrageous idiots a platform.
"Sanity has been pushed to the background, and there's extreme left- and right-wing nutters trying to be as controversial as possible.
"That's the crux of this show - why doesn't everyone shut up a bit?
"The bottom line is encouraging people to disconnect from anything that doesn't have any value."
Franklin said that when contributing to online conversations, it was important to reflect on, "Are you helping this debate or are you adding to the noise?"
"I guess everyone has got an opinion and that's fine, but I don't need to hear them.
"I've made a conscious decision to spend less time on the internet and I'm quite happy. I haven't lost anything and I've gained a bit of clarity."
He said many people, after seeing the show, had told him they needed to hear what he was saying about worrying about other people's opinions online.
Franklin, who said comedy was easier than his previous jobs, which included retail, hospitality and trades, doesn't get nervous before or during a performance. "The last time I got nervous was when I spoke at one of my friends' weddings. Things don't get better when you're nervous."
He said his show, which also covers topics and recurring themes including horse racing, pawpaw ointment, and Nazis, was "irreverent without being offensive".
"But everyone's got people who are offended by them.
"I don't really have any rules for what I write about.
"It's just a great feeling when you get a room full of people, and whatever they've been through that week, you can make them laugh.
"It's healthy to be in the audience for that kind of thing and it's great for me too."
Tickets for The Silencer are $35/$38 and are available at tickets.oztix.com.au; the show will be from 7pm (arrive 6.30pm) on Sunday, March 29, at Harvey Road Tavern.