Each week Megan Nicol Reed asks a public figure to choose three of the seven deadly sins to confess to. This week, 30-year-old comedian Alice Snedden enters the box.
Your good friend and collaborator, Rose Matafeo, has said your work ethic is impressive. That doesn't sound very lazy …
One of my main things I'm known for among my friends is my ability to do absolutely nothing. I work really hard but when I'm not working I will do absolutely nothing. My favourite holiday is to go somewhere and do nothing. I'm exhausted by the idea of going to like Italy and having to see things. I would happily go there and sit on a deck and read a book.
So doing nothing still involves doing something?
Sometimes, but not always. Sometimes I can just sit there. I love full, deep relaxation. I pride myself on being able to compartmentalise my life and just be like, okay now work's over, now I'm here, and now I'm doing nothing … A perfect example is I will lie down on the couch and if I want something I won't go and get it. I will wait until somebody comes into the room and then wait until they're leaving the room, and go, "Hey, while you're up, do you mind?" I'll bribe people to pass me something that's just out of reach. It's abhorrent.
As the youngest of five children, though, I imagine growing up it was more a case of everyone fending for themselves?
Yeah, but our holidays weren't jam-packed with activities. Our holidays were like, "Okay kids, all jump in the car, we're going to a motel in Waiwera for two weeks." And then we'd get there and Mum and Dad would be, "Okay, we're reading a book, you guys entertain yourselves." That was the holiday.
I assume comedy hasn't made you rich. You originally trained as a lawyer, do you ever regret ditching law?
No, oh my gosh, no. Truthfully, it has made me a rich woman. I mean rich is like a relative term, right? I always kind of cringe when people are nervous to call themselves that when it's quite clear they have a certain level of wealth that is over and above the median income of New Zealand. I'm earning about what I'd be earning as a lawyer right now. I think money is such an important thing to talk about and people tend not to, especially in New Zealand. It's one of the things I've always been really clear about with myself, that you can talk about money and what you're worth in a way that doesn't have to be disrespectful to other people but is like an empowering tool. If every comedian knew what every comedian was getting for every gig then we'd all be in a better position to ask for what we wanted.
Why pick greed?
As a kid I was obsessed with money. We always had what we needed but my parents were not materialistic and they were extraordinarily generous with their money. But I was interested in business. My dad ran a publishing company and I always wanted to know how much everyone got paid and how to turn profit. It was never money for the sake of getting me things. I was just interested in who had it and how you got it.
On social media you come across as utterly confident. These days confidence is almost synonymous with pride, don't you think?
Yes and no. I feel like confidence is, in essence, a fallacy. No one ever believes in themselves 100 per cent of the time. But in terms of presenting who I am, I've always felt okay about that, because I've always felt like I couldn't really change it. I think it's good to take on the criticism of the people whose opinion you trust and then know that the rest is not important. So maybe that gives you a sense of confidence. I spoke about this in my last show, how maybe I was too confident, if that was my downfall. And I don't know what it is, but I've never felt the way people presume I feel.
Most comedians do that whole self-deprecating thing - why don't you?
It was deliberate initially. I was, like, I don't want to get on stage and make fun of the way I look or that I'm an idiot. Because I just didn't feel like that was true to who I was. But then it's mostly just about being funny and I think that's where I'm funniest; me assuming this air of superiority while clearly undercutting that with where I'm at.
Alice Snedden performs her show, Absolute Monster, at the 2019 New Zealand International Comedy Festival, Tuesday, May 7 - Saturday, May 11, see comedyfestival.co.nz