26 Aug 2018

Rose Matafeo 'overwhelmed' by Edinburgh Fringe Festival win

3:48 pm on 26 August 2018

Top comedians from New Zealand and Britain are praising stand-up comic Rose Matafeo who's won one of the world's most prestigious comedy awards.

Jackie van Beek, Rose Matafeo and Laura Daniel

Rose Matafeo starred in TV comedy series Funny Girls. Photo: Supplied

The New Zealand comedian has won the award for best comedy show at the Edinburgh Fringe, the world's largest festival for comedians, for her stand-up and sketch show Horndog.

Matafeo is only the fifth woman to take the title, beating out nominees from America, Russia, India, Ireland and the United Kingdom.

She is also the first non-white person to win the award in its 38 year history.

The 26-year-old, who is of Samoan, Scottish and Croatian heritage, is best known for her role in the late night sketch programme Funny Girls. Ms Matafeo is a past winner of the prestigious Billy T Award.

Ms Matafeo took to Twitter and said she was "completely overwhelmed to win this award".

She told the Edinburgh newspaper, the Scótsman "It feels so exciting to be part of and I feel really lucky to be doing comedy at a time when space is being made to hear stories by women and their voices."

Among those who have been sending congratulatory messages are New Zealand comedian Rhys Darby, and top British comics Dara Ó Briain, Richard Osman, Sara Pascoe, Nish Kumar and Justin Moorhouse.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has also tweeted her congratulations.

The director of the Classic Comedy Club in Auckland, where Ms Matafeo started out said he was "completely blown away" by her win at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Scott Blanks said hundreds of comedians perform at the festival.

"I was completely blown away. I knew she'd been nominated and that alone is a feather in the cap when you think there's 600 or 700 live comedy shows going on at Edinburgh, but the win is incredible."

"This award will open doors for her, particularly in the UK, but all around the world."

Mr Blanks said Ms Matafeo started out doing stand-up at the Classic about a decade ago.

He said her win at Edinburgh showed her humour appealed to more than just her target demographic of women aged 20 to 30.

"The judges for that competition are quite diverse - older judges and males who definitely aren't in her demographic but she still proves she's got what it tales no matter who's watching."

He said she was breaking ground for female comedians.

"There's a real movement in world comedy at the moment particularly for female performers and she's at the forefront of that, she's basically kicking the doors in all over the world."

Ms Matafeo's show, Horndog, is about sex and social mores. The director of the Edinburgh awards, Nica Burns, describes it as 'an utterly original show, a totally hilarious spoof".

The Guardian's critic, Brian Logan said her show was "blissfully funny".

The win comes with prize-money of £10,000 pounds, just over $19,000 NZ.