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A 2am Facebook Messenger conversation between comedians Rose Matafeo and Alice Snedden

We asked comedians and Boners of the Heart co-hosts Rose Matafeo and Alice Snedden to have a conversation about women and comedy to mark International Women’s Day. The following (lightly edited and hyperlinked) Facebook conversation is what we received.

Alice:

Na, it’s still the same

Someone brought them back from America

i just realised this is just like that Jonathan Safran Foer/Natalie Portman exchange

Shotgun being Natalie Portman

Actually, I can be Jonathan if you want.

Also, I looked up Jonathan Safran Foer’s name to make sure I was spelling it right.

Rose:

I always pussy out of saying his last name

Ok Alice, real talk.

Who was the first comedian you ever saw live?

live as in ‘live’ not ‘live’ as in ‘alive’

Alice:

Kk. Real talk, honestly I think it was Michael McIntyre

I went with my family

I was quite old, cause I wasn’t into stand up comedy as a kid. It was never something I would have even considered going to see. But I used to love the old fashioned roasts, hosted by Dean Martin and stuff.

We had them on video and I would watch them and Marx Brothers quite a bit

Rose:

I didn’t realise you grew up in the 1930s

Alice:

Fuck you

Sorry f**k you

Rose:

Zeppo Marx has the same birthday as me

Actually, I have the same birthday as him, if anything

Alice:

That’s dope

Groucho was my favourite

Rose:

You are sort of like Groucho

The good thing about being a woman in comedy is that you can pretty much be influenced by the style of any dude and no one notices

Alice:

I like to think there’s a little bit of Groucho inside of me

Rose:

Whereas when you’re a white guy who is clearly influenced by another white guy people totally notice

Alice:

Yea that’s true.

White guys have it the hardest

Rose:

And don’t you forget it

Alice:

Do you remember the first joke you told?

Rose:

The first joke I ever properly wrote was one about the Denny’s jingle that I did in one of the Class Comedians workshops when I was 13. I was too young to do the programme, so I came back two years later with the same joke, which I’m going to be honest with you – it bloody killed in the room

Alice:

I’d prefer you lie

Rose:

I don’t know if Sam can really put gifs in this article but I don’t care

(Editor’s Note: I can’t, but you get the gist.)

Alice:

That’s amazing that you were doing it so young. How did you know so early on that you couldn’t do anything else?

Rose:

I was super into drama and media studies and english, and I guess for a while I thought I could become an actor or something. But the idea of taking myself seriously enough to do drama sort of embarrassed me, so comedy was the perfect avenue for me to be able to use acting in a way where I could always just palm it off as a joke rather than taking myself seriously.

Alice:

I feel like you’re getting more into acting now though

Do you feel less self conscious now?

Rose:

I don’t know. I think being earnest and fully committing to something is the funniest thing ever, so I like to do a lot more act outs and stuff in my shows and stand up. But the idea of like, actually having to act and inhabit a serious role makes me cringe.

I hate seeing myself on screen

Alice:

I hate watching myself on screen

But I wonder if you get used to it

I used to hate listening to myself, but now I’m kind of immune

Rose:

Same

Since we’ve started the podcast

I’ve learnt to hate myself

Alice:

Though looking at yourself is tough

That’s because you’re growing

Sometimes I’ll hear myself talk on the podcast and I’ll want to curl into a ball at the things I’ve said

Rose:

Same

Alice:

Or how much of a dick I sound like

But I also think there’s something weirdly comforting about having these versions of yourself in public that aren’t 100% curated, or what you’d want to present

I feel like it makes me relax about other work in general

The more stuff I have out there that’s not perfect or that I’d like to change but can’t

Rose:

I still post pretty thirsty selfies which is embarrassing but I try to own it

Alice:

Yea

Your insta is thirsty af

Rose:

I’m fully aware

Alice:

But I support you 100

Rose:

Thank you

Alice:

I like the way you put your shit out there

I think it’s a good move

Have you ever had a non-comedy job?

Rose:

Yeah, I worked as an usher and bar person at the Aotea Centre and Civic Theatre when I was in uni for a bit

It was a weird crossover where I was on 7 Days and still working there

So sometimes people would recognise me when I was selling them an ice cream

Alice:

I’m crying rn

Rose:

I hated that job but only because I get stressed out when handling money sometimes.

Alice:

When I worked at a cafe easily the most stressful part of my day was balancing the cash register

Rose:

Totally

Alice:

If it was ever out I would get so paranoid that I was subconsciously stealing from the till but I just couldn’t remember

Rose:

Do you reckon comedians are terrible with money?

Alice:

Hmm

Yes

On the whole

Esp in the early days. I think you get better. I feel like I’m just becoming responsible with my day to day money. I got an accountant etc. That’s a big relief

But the space sometimes in between money and no money, means when you get it, you just want to spend it, instead of save

HOT TAKE

Rose:

I think I’m running out of money

I’m so bad at budgeting

I’ve never had to borrow money off my parents or family members though, which I think is a small achievement in this day and age

Alice:

That’s amazing

I can’t even say that about this week probably

Rose:

That being said, I will probably hit you up for some cash when I get back

Alice:

You can stay in my house for free

If you do the dishes and some light weeding in the garden

Rose:

I’ll for sure do that

Alice:

And also my washing

Rose:

Do you actually have a spare room? Because I do need somewhere to stay for real.

I refuse to do any chores but I WILL pay.

I’ve spent all my savings to be able to come live up here [Editor’s Note: Rose moved to the UK in 2015], which makes me very depressed sometimes haha.

Alice:

Yea, it’s hard to see all the money go

But you’ve 100% made the right call

I also spent so much money going overseas

But it was worth it

Rose:

You did. And you loved it

And I think it has made you a better person/comedian

Alice:

haha

I’m not sure you’re in a position to say that

I don’t think you knew me pre/post overseas experience

Maybe I’m much worse

Rose:

Genuinely though, your style is so much more American, more so than I see in a lot of other people in NZ

I’d say you and Nic Sampson and Guy Williams all feel very American to me

Alice:

You for real rn?

Rose:

yes!

Alice:

I do a pretty good impression of a southern bell

 

Rose:

Do you prefer American comedy to British stuff? What were you drawn to when you were first starting out?

Like, who are your comedy idols

Alice:

I think my first ever comedy idol was Billy Connolly because that’s what my parents watched

But once I was making my own decisions, Sarah Silverman had a really big impact

And Tina Fey

I was obsessed with 30 Rock

I don’t think I’ve ever laughed harder at a show

And I’d never seen a character really like Liz Lemon who was such a mess

But also self righteous

Rose:

It was a seminal text for many young women of our generation I think

Alice:

Yea

Which sometimes makes me reticent to name check her

But the heart wants, what the heart wants

Rose:

I remember every time I would go over to see Alex Casey (off Spinoff fame) she would have 30 Rock playing on her TV constantly on loop like it was just music in the background

Alice:

Yea 100%

Rose:

Tina Fey has said some salty things but she is so talented

Bossypants is salty

Alice

Alice:

So many salty things

Sometimes, she doesn’t quite get it right

But, I think she’s on the right side of more stuff then she is on the wrong side

Rose:

Yeah, totally.

Do you think you’re a competitive person?

Alice:

Yes

Next question

Are you?

Rose:

Yes

Also though

When I first started doing comedy in NZ, there were genuinely like, less than 10 women performing regularly. Ever. Even in Raw nights and stuff

That was 2007/08

Alice:

Fuck

Rose:

And I feel like you were made to be competitive, because there would be slots for women

Like you were a magician

And I remember feeling so conflicted about feeling like I had to compete with other women to get that shot. Because I didn’t even want to feel like that, it was sort imposed on women performing at that time.

Alice:

I would never want to shut other women out

It’s a false dialogue we’re made to believe

Rose:

I’m so glad I can be ruthlessly competitive and jealous and horrible to any comedian now, despite their gender

Because that is true equality

Alice:

And a lot of that is to with opportunities being male dominated and then the women being an after thought

Rose:

Of course

Alice:

But I agree that hating another women’s comedy is the high water mark for equality

Rose:

100%

Something I want to see more are women performer’s styles being more appreciated for how varied and unique they are. I don’t know if that makes sense

Alice:

It does 100%

It’s frustrating that female comic voices are homogenised

Rose:

Like, if I hear another fucking dude talk about how his influences are Louis or Hicks I will genuinely blow my brains out

When do you ever hear men who do comedy talk about any of their influences being women?

Alice:

Shit, never

I have such a conflicting stance about Louis CK now

Rose:

I don’t care about him

hahaha

Alice:

I used to love him, but there’s so much shit out there about him now. I just feel like, can I really be looking to you for cultural commentary

Rose:

He writes a good joke, he just doesn’t get me going. I will take silly voices over biting cultural commentary any day of the week

Alice:

I just have zero time now for male comedians being creeps and then being forgiven cause they’re funny

I love a bit of biting cultural commentary

Rose:

You do

Alice:

But I’m tired of hearing it from predominantly men

I just want to mix it up

Rose:

I love silly voices.

Alice:

Yea

I like the silly joke

Rose:

I totally know what you mean about women’s voices in comedy being homogenised though – that’s exactly it

Alice:

As if our experiences are all the same, so you just need to hear from one of us

Rose:

That’s the next fucking frontier isn’t it

Women In Comedy Is Not A Genre

Yeah. But also as if all our styles are the same?

Alice:

Yea

It’s crazy

There’s so much that you do that I would never do

Because it’s not funny!

(Editor’s Note: The next message happens after what I can only assume is a long pause)

Are you mad?

Rose:

No, I was replying to a work email actually

Just remember that I’m a Pisces who never forgets anything

Alice:

Like an elephant!

(Editor’s Note: See above re: assumption, long pause)

Are you mad again?

Rose:

No

Alice:

You fuming rn?

Rose:

No I’m hungry

Alice:

K

Go eat

I don’t like to be around you when you’re hungry

Rose:

I’ll talk to you tomorrow

Alice:

It makes me nervous when you get low blood sugar

Rose:

me too

Alice:

Good luck out there

Rose:

Cheers mate

Speak in the morning

Alice:

We’ll see. We’ll see.

Alice and Rose both have shows in the comedy festival, Alice Snedden: Self-Titled and Rose Matafeo: Sassy Best Friend. They also co-host a weekly podcast, Boners of the Heart, on the Little Empire Podcast network, which you can find here.

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