Loose Canons: Alice Snedden

2018 Billy T nominee, Snort member and hard-hitting television journalist Alice Snedden tells us all about the things that set her on the path to who she is and the work she makes.

Loose Canons is a series in which we invite artists we love to share five things that have informed their work. Meet the rest of our Loose Canons here.

Alice Snedden is a comedian, writer and leading stand-up artist in the New Zealand comedy scene. She was head writer on Jono and Ben and Funny Girls, is a regular on 7 Days and has a hit TVNZ OnDemand series called Alice Snedden’s Bad News that tackles the current and often controversial aspects of life in New Zealand.

Having quickly become a mainstay of the Kiwi comedy circuit it’s no wonder that in 2018 Alice was nominated for the Billy T Award at the NZ International Comedy Festival for Alice Snedden Self-titled: Volume II. She recently performed the show at the 2018 Edinburgh Fringe Festival where it received a five-star rating and Alice was described as “one of New Zealand’s top outputs, alongside Peter Jackson.”

Alice IS working with fellow comedian and friend Rose Matafeo, pulling out all the bells and whistles to create Basement Theatre’s tenth annual Christmas Show, Work Do. This year’s Christmas Show will feature a bumper crop of Basement-bred talent and a rotational guest cast of some of New Zealand’s most famous faces.

UCB long form special on YouTube.

No one thinks long-form improv works on TV, so I have no idea how this special was received – but I loved it. I hadn’t yet done any improv and I was so eager to learn. The special stars Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, Rachel Dratch, Ian Roberts and heaps of other amazing improvisors. I watched it dozens of times and wrote out the scenes to try and figure out where the jokes were. It’s literally the nerdiest and least natural approach to comedy you can take. I loved that they all seemed like friends and that no one hogged the stage. It seemed relaxed and they made it look easy. Watching improv on YouTube is a habit that’s stayed with me, I still check in now and then to a UCB YouTube channel and watch teams perform. The videos are only one camera and the audio is terrible but I love watching the different forms and the different playing styles. It’s a truly embarrassing habit and it’s not made less so by confessing it here.


Snort was how I got into comedy, and without it I’d be a lawyer right now, probably earning decent money, enjoying my life, completely unaware of what I was missing out on. So I guess, in many ways, Snort has both made and ruined my life. It’s introduced me to people whose talent I am completely in awe of and it’s given me some of my most treasured friendships. Without a doubt it’s had a defining influence on my life and I’ll never forget it – because I have a truly terrible tattoo to remind me every day.

The Nanny

This is a criminally underrated show and doesn’t get the enormous praise it should. Fran Drescher is a comedy and business hero. Together with her husband at the time, she created, wrote, produced and starred in this HUGE hit series. The Nanny operates at such a sophisticated level, and I’m not being ironic. It’s like a Pixar movie, it can be enjoyed by children and adults alike. Layered with subtext and innuendo, so much of it can entertain an adult and go over the head of a child, who will relate more to the younger characters. It’s a master class in sitcom writing. Sure, in the later seasons when she gets shipwrecked on an island, it does jump the shark a little, but honestly, this show can do no wrong in my eyes. Last year I found and purchased a jumper with Fran Drescher on the front and it is my most prized possession.

Amy Sedaris on Letterman

No one is better at talk-show appearances than Amy Sedaris. For years Sedaris was Dave’s call-in when other guests fell through. Appearing on the show dozens of times, sometimes she’d have work to promote and other times she’s just give updates on her relationship with her imaginary boyfriend or her rabbits. She is wildly funny, and watching compilations of her appearances have had me in fits of laughter. One of my favourites is her nighttime tour of her neighbourhood; everything is closed, you learn nothing about the neighbourhood and it’s perfect.


I mean, if you’re not influenced by her, what is wrong with you? Oprah is literally the be-all and end-all of television entertainment. I’ve spent hours upon hours watching her and it never gets old. I can’t find a single fault with Oprah and I legitimately think we should all be striving to be a little bit more like her every day.

Work Do runs from 29 November to 21 December at Basement Theatre. Tickets available here.

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The Pantograph Punch publishes urgent and vital cultural commentary by the most exciting new voices in Aotearoa.

The Pantograph Punch publishes urgent and vital cultural commentary by the most exciting new voices in Aotearoa.

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