Writer-actor-comedian Rose Matafeo is what you might call a live wire. During her frenetic stand-up gigs, the 28-year-old New Zealander bursts with confidence and energy, making her one of the most exciting new voices on the global comedy circuit.
Now a regular face on our screens – she recently starred in the Taika Waititi produced parenthood comedy Baby Done and on Channel 4’s challenge-based telly hit Taskmaster – Matafeo has a new stand-up special arriving on the BBC this weekend. Titled Horndog, the show won her the top prize at the Edinburgh Comedy Awards in 2018 – and is every bit as chaotic and disarmingly self-aware as the comedian herself.
In the show, we learn that Rose has kissed nine men in her 27 years – her popularity with the boys at school was always low, she admits – as well as some other uncomfortably honest truths. It’s all part of Matafeo’s shtick, jumping from one thread to another like a kid hopped up on sugar and fizzy pop. It’s addictive stuff. Her enthusiasm and frankness are not only contagious, but they also make you feel as free and upbeat as she is.
From K-pop to Love Island, via tales of getting banned by a Franz Ferdinand fan site in the early 2000s because she expressed too much desire for lead singer Alex Kapranos, Matafeo runs the full gamut of millennial topics in Horndog. She’s even unafraid to broach one of the longest standing telly taboos – including a routine about female masturbation which gets the biggest laugh of the night. And while not all of her punchlines land as graciously as she would have intended, Rose’s self-deprecating brand of humour keeps the audience fully in her grasp.
Ending with a hilarious and elaborate dance routine, Horndog proves itself well worth the wait for British viewers, who finally get the chance to catch up on the HBO special six months after it premiered in the US. Matafeo’s ability to navigate a huge array of subjects while barely pausing for breath is what makes her a true pro, even if she gives the impression that she’s there by pure accident. Wide-eyed, funny and irresistibly likeable, Matafeo is the embodiment of mid-20s angst – plus a big dollop of talent and relatability in a world where authenticity is hard to come by. One to watch.
‘Horndog’ is available on BBC iPlayer from February 21