Alice Snedden review: This is NZ's best stand up comic in the making

Alice Snedden is going from strength to strength - watch this space. 

The tickets for Alice Snedden’s final Auckland show are selling out fast - I urge you to leave this tab, buy a ticket quickly then come back and finish reading this review (please come back, we need the page views).

Her new show, Absolute Monster, is the best I’ve seen so far this festival (closely followed by Leon Wadham’s delightfully insane and oddly poignant Funk, but I paid my own money to go see that so I won’t review it beyond saying it ends on Saturday and you’d be an idiot not to go).

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I first reviewed Snedden two Comedy Fests ago. “It's exciting to think how good she will be in a couple of years,” I wrote at the time. I feel incredibly smug now for making that call, because in the intervening years Snedden has become so, so good. Incredibly energetic and polished, she had complete control of the crowd for the duration of her set.

The element of surprise is what elevates a comedy set from good to great - jokes are never as funny when you guess a punchline halfway through the setup. I found myself caught off guard again and again as Snedden subverted a punchline at the last moment, which speaks to the discipline in her writing; an unwillingness to take the lazy option for an easier laugh.

Absolute Monster follows a loose but cohesive narrative about the unearned self-confidence many of us employ to distract (ourselves and others) from the deep flaws we fear we possess. It’s insightful and personal without being too narrow in scope, and explores common experiences without being too broad or obvious. I particularly loved Snedden’s exploration of how we justify our own bad behaviour to ourselves, often by invoking the ways we believe we are good - like, yeah, this might seem bad but it’s actually very feminist when I do it.

Snedden is going from strength to strength at the moment, working on multiple TV shows including Bad News and Funny Girls, and co-hosting an extremely infrequently updated but very funny podcast with Rose Matafeo, Boners of the Heart. I’m going to finish by making another call I reckon I can feel smug about in a couple of years - Snedden's on track to become New Zealand’s top stand up comedian.

Alice Snedden is perforning at the Basement Theatre until May 11. Tickets selling fast.

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