Jimmy Carr backtracks on dissing New Plymouth, says has 'friendly people'

English comedian Jimmy Carr has seemingly backtracked after dissing New Plymouth as his New Zealand tour gets underway.

On Tuesday, the 8 Out of 10 Cats host tweeted: "In New Zealand. First gig of the tour is in New Plymouth, which is frankly no improvement on the original."

Alongside his post, he uploaded a picture of a knitted doll of himself.

Carr usually posts scabrous comments on the locations he visits during his tours, with reaction - and some outrage - swiftly coming from locals.

His tweet received a few responses from New Zealanders, ranging from "don't you start" to, "At least it's not Palmerston North." Palmerston North was famously blasted by Monty Python star John Cleese in 2005.

"We stayed in a little motel. The weather was grotty, the theatre was a nasty shape and the audience was very strange to play to," Cleese said.

He concluded by saying he had a "thoroughly bloody miserable time" and suggested the region was a good place to commit suicide.

His comments caused uproar and as a result, the local council named a dump in Palmerston North "Mt Cleese" after the star.

However, on Wednesday night, Carr seemed to backtrack on his pointed joke, although it appeared his tongue was firmly planted in his cheek.

"It's another day in New Plymouth and I saw the sight (singular), it's a ball on a stick. Still, a couple of great restaurants, friendly people and great crowds, so no complaints," he said.

The "ball on a stick" he was referring to was, of course, the infamous Wind Wand sculpture designed by Len Lye.

Commenters were quick to respond to Carr.

"A ball on a stick, eh? Still... It's one attraction more than proper Plymouth!" one said.

Another said: "I love how this is all that New Zealand has to offer."

Carr is due in Whanganui on Thursday night, before heading around the motu, taking in Wellington, Dunedin and plenty of other cities - including John Cleese's favourite, Palmerston North.