Before Eric Bana immortalised him in the classic Aussie film ‘Chopper’, Mark Read was infamous for his criminal antics: armed robbery, arson, and – when he was bored – torturing criminal members of the underworld with bolt cutters, hence his nickname.
The real Chopper died from liver cancer in late 2013, leaving a void for Heath Franklin to fill. The movies’ dark humour appealed to Heath, but it was also fairly brutal so Heath had the idea of toning the gruesomeness down and turning the comedy up. Although Heath has been performing for enthusiastic crowds for some time as Chopper, he only met the real deal once in a self-described ‘awkward’ photo session for a magazine.
You have claimed that your new republic aims to throw the shit bits of Australia and New Zealand out to create the world’s newest superpower. Expand.
It’s about getting the best bits out of both countries. We need to lure the idiots off-shore then sink their boat. If you’re trying to take power and win approval of the population, you don’t want to throw around words like ‘cull’ or ‘breeding programme’ but they’re in the back of my mind. The bottom line is don’t be a fuckwit. That’s pretty much where it peters out, and if anyone does anything, run it by me and I’ll think of the appropriate punishment.
You have a ‘yes we can’ approach with your political ambitions. What’s the basis in this?
I’m trying to borrow from all of the greats, you know. If you look closely, some of the world’s most violent dictators get a gentle nod as well because despite their massive body count, people like Mao and Stalin got some stuff done, didn’t they?
What do you think of the current mob in parliament?
I was just saying the other day since Tony’s gone, no one cares about politics anymore. It used to be every second day ‘ohh whinge this, they’re doing that, blah blah’, but he was contributing his fair share of weirdness by eating onions and stuff, now good old boring Malcolm is in, you don’t even hear about it and you can concentrate on stuff that matters like sport and the weather.
You do have a list of people who can ‘get fucked’, so would you care to explain who they are and how they should go about getting fucked?
The list is constantly evolving. It’s an organic process. Basically, just get out of my way, I just don’t want to hear about you anymore. Ever wake up in the morning and think ‘who the fuck is Selena Gomez?’ and realise you just want them to disappear? Like you can exist, I just don’t need to know about you ever again. How many fucking Kardashians and Jenners are there? Some of these celebrities are like a bonfire made of human souls and the more you look at them, the bigger they get, so if we all turn our backs to them, we’ll be right.
Are there any other celebrities that really piss you off?
Anyone who’s been a judge on one of those singing shows where they look for new pop stars. It’s like, ‘A: we’ve got enough pop stars, and B: if you’re so good at it, why don’t you write a good song? ‘You fucking idiot, Delta Goodrem. The thing I hate about those shows is that I don’t like pop music so I don’t want to see how it’s made. If you have a mate who is a vegetarian, you don’t take him on tour of an abattoir do you? I don’t want to hear all the screaming and the blood, I just want to bloody ignore it.
Would you say that you’re an angry person or just passionate?
I’m an angry person. But I like to think I’m pointing my anger in the right direction you know what I mean? I like a bit of road rage therapy, take all the frustration of the day out on some total fucking random who happened to cut you off accidentally, so I think I’ve saved thousands of dollars in psychologist bills by swerving at fucking idiots in traffic.
Do you have an opinion on Aussie drivers in general?
People in Queensland and Canberra are bad drivers, people in Sydney are good drivers but they’re total fucking psychopaths, which makes it unpleasant, and I don’t think people in Melbourne ever drive anywhere because they’ve all got their little fancy trams. You know when you’re stuck behind a driver and they’ve got that look on their face like their bloody magic mushrooms have just kicked in? Like confusion and panic? That makes me nervous.
What sort of people come to your show?
People with a face. That’s pretty much my cut off point. Only because I haven’t been presented with anyone without a face. People who get uptight about swearing should probably fuck off a little bit. If a cluster of different sounding syllables can ruin your day maybe you should fuck right off. Anyone can come. Bring your kids. I mean, leave them in the car, windows rolled down with an iPad or a box of matches.
Is Australia too politically correct?
The thing that I don’t like is that people get outraged and upset about everything as if getting righteous and indignant is going to solve everything. It’s like, all you’ve done is had a big cry to your friends on Facebook, all you’ve done is make your friends who already agree with you agree with you even more, so you don’t even want to fix the problem, you just want a pat on the back for being a bleeding heart fuckwit. Do you want to fix this problem or just sit around crying about it? If you want to sit around crying about it, that’s fine, you can do it somewhere else but if you want to fix it, then getting 50 likes from your little hippy mates won’t help.
What are your thoughts on the current fashions in Australia?
When you see someone dressed in a suit in 40 degree heat you think, ‘you’re a fucking idiot’. Like if I went for a job interview and I went in dripping with sweat in a three-piece suit, the boss would think I’m a fucking idiot with no understanding of the basic climate so why would I put you in charge of anything? If I come in in shorts they’ll think ‘he won’t fuck around in the morning getting ready and he’ll be on time and also I can send him outside without him fainting or asphyxiating because he’s a useful fucking short wearing motherfucker that I can get along with.’
Your thoughts on Bunnings are well documented, so what are your thoughts on the Masters stores which recently announced they will be sold off or shut down?
I didn’t even know they existed to be honest. It was one of those things I read about in the newspaper and I thought, ‘oh yeah, I’ll probably drive past one of them’, but I never did. Maybe the reason it isn’t going well for them is that they neglected to open any stores anywhere as I’ve never seen any. Maybe look at your business model. If you have a store that isn’t making any money, then maybe open it.
Masters was owned by Woolworths. What are your thoughts on Woolies?
I don’t like them. I won’t play it safe, it’s not like they’re going to come to me and say ‘look Chopper, we were gonna put you in a very lucrative campaign but you fucked it up by being outspoken’. They’ve got one day a year where they give back to the farmers and I think, ‘well why don’t you spend the other 364 days in the year not fucking farmers in the arse’, you know what I mean?
Any supermarkets you do like?
I love Aldi. Any shopping list that can help you out with milk, bread, a motorbike helmet, cheese, spare front seats for a Barina – they’ve just got all your bases covered.
What’s your love life like?
It’s pretty slow. Everyone asks ‘do you get a lot of groupies?’ But no. I don’t think anyone in comedy gets a lot of groupies. You kind of just get weird sort of comedy nerd people. You know people who don’t cut their toenails and still live with their parents so I don’t want to steal their innocence.
Do you have a type?
Again, just a face. A heartbeat, if there’s not a heartbeat, I’ll try to resuscitate it. When you look like I do, you can’t be too bloody fussy. I’m not one of these idiots who is clearly a 4/10 waiting for a supermodel to come along. My plan is to find someone as ugly as I am and then settle down in a dark house without too many reflective surfaces.
Someone asked you to review Jetstar on your Facebook page. Thoughts?
I’m starting to realise that the problem with Jetstar isn’t the airline, it’s the passengers. There’s some fuckwit that tries to bring four cases of beer on in his carryon luggage and it’s like; ‘how did you ever get it into your head that that would be acceptable?’ Then there’s the passenger that can’t find their seat and they reckon that ‘A’ is the aisle seat and it’s like ‘no, we didn’t change the alphabet all of a sudden you fucking idiot’. Or you’re going through security and someone says ‘oh I can’t bring a machete on to the airplane?’So I think they just attract a certain kind of idiot.
What can we expect from the tour?
You can expect a seat in a room with me doing a show at the front of it. You can expect to laugh. You can probably expect to be asked to leave the theatre once it’s over. I just want people to laugh for as long as they can and then fuck off home again.