Rose Matafeo

Rose Catherine Lettitia Matafeo[3] (born 25 February 1992)[1] is a New Zealand comedian, actress, and TV presenter. She was a writer and performer on the NZ late-night comedy sketch show Funny Girls.[4]

Rose Matafeo
Born (1992-02-25) 25 February 1992[1]
ResidenceLondon, England
NationalityNew Zealand
OccupationComedian, actress, television presenter
Years active2007–present

Early life

Matafeo grew up in Auckland, New Zealand and attended Auckland Girls' Grammar School, where she was head girl. She has two older brothers.[5] Her father is Samoan and her mother is of Scottish and Croatian heritage.[4][6] Her parents are Rastafarians and Matafeo has described her upbringing as "quite relaxed".[7][8]

At the age of 15, Matafeo started doing stand-up comedy through the platform of the "Class Comedians" programme put on by the New Zealand Comedy Trust, and went on to win the "Nailed It on the Night" award at the New Zealand International Comedy Festival in 2007. She's been a regular at the festival since.[9]


Since graduating from the "Class Comedians" programme, Matafeo went on to win best newcomer at the 2010 New Zealand International Comedy Festival.[9] She became a host of the popular comedy festival show "Fanfiction Comedy"[10] in 2012. She has had success with her solo stand-up comedy shows at the festival: Life Lessons I've Learnt from the 60s Based on Things I've Seen on Television (2011), Scout's Honour (2012) and The Rose Matafeo Variety Hour (2013).

Matafeo won the Billy T Award, which recognises the potential of up-and-coming New Zealand comedians, for The Rose Matafeo Variety Hour in 2013, having previously been nominated for her show Scout's Honour in 2012.[6][11][12] Her 2014 show at the festival was titled Pizza Party.[13] In 2015 she performed a duo show at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe with Guy Montgomery titled Rose Matafeo and Guy Montgomery Are Friends.[14] On 25 August 2018, Matafeo won the Edinburgh Comedy Award 2018 for Best Show at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, for her show Horndog,[15] collecting a £10,000 prize.[16] She was the first person of colour to win the prestigious award for a solo show,[17] and the first New Zealander.[18] Only four other female solo stand-up comedians had won the award before her.[17]

She was a TV presenter and host of U Live, which ran on the TVNZ U channel from 13 March 2011 until 31 August 2013, when the channel came to an end. Upon TVNZ U finishing, she took on a new role as a writer for Jono and Ben at Ten, a satirical news and comedy sketch show.[19] Matafeo co-created and starred in the New Zealand sketch comedy show Funny Girls for three seasons from 2015 until 2018.[20] She has been playing the role of Talia in the ABC comedy Squinters since 2018.[21]

Matafeo appeared on Jon Richardson: Ultimate Worrier as an investigator into worrisome topics. She is a contestant on the ninth series of Taskmaster.

Having toured as a stand-up comedian for ten years, Matafeo said in 2018 that she wanted to "take a break from hour long comedy" and instead act more, write more, and also direct.[22] Matafeo went on to serve as director on five episodes of the 2019 New Zealand TV comedy Golden Boy.[23]

In March 2019, it was announced that Matafeo had been cast as the lead in her first feature film, Baby, Done.[24] Her co-star is Matthew Lewis, who played Neville Longbottom in the Harry Potter film series. The comedy film is executive-produced by Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi[25] and is expected to be released in 2020.[24] In August 2019, HBO Max and BBC Three announced they had ordered a scripted comedy created by, written by and starring Matafeo. Entitled Starstruck, the show will be broadcast by BBC Three in the UK and be available for streaming on HBO Max.[26]

Matafeo had her US television debut as a comedian on Conan O'Brien's talk show Conan on TBS on 9 May 2019.[27]

She currently hosts the podcast Boners of the Heart with comedian and writer Alice Snedden on the Little Empire Podcast Network.[28] She was a guest on Deborah Frances-White's The Guilty Feminist podcast[29] and on the RHLSTP podcast with Richard Herring.[30]

Personal life

Matafeo has previously dated English comedian James Acaster[31][4] and New Zealand comedian Guy Williams.[32][33] Matafeo partly lives in London; when she first moved to the UK in 2015, she shared a flat with comedian Nish Kumar in Shepherd's Bush for a while.[4][34] Comedian Richard Herring was living in a house behind theirs at the time.[30]

Matafeo is a fan of Burt Bacharach and named her cat "Bert Bachacat" after him.[30]


  1. Rose Matafeo - My World on Fresh. Fresh TV. 31 March 2013. Retrieved 8 June 2018.
  2. Salter, Caitlin. "Enter Stage Left: Rose Matafeo". The Southland Times. Retrieved 21 May 2015.
  3. "Current details". Retrieved 2019-10-23.
  4. Logan, Brian (3 August 2017). "Comic Rose Matafeo: 'I definitely probably have a moderate amount of talent'". The Guardian.
  5. "A day in the life of Rose Matafeo". Stuff. Retrieved 2019-10-20.
  6. Robinson, Michelle (13 April 2014). "Rose Matafeo - the thorn within". Retrieved 2019-10-20.
  7. "Rose Matafeo". Private Parts Podcast. Retrieved 2019-10-20.
  8. Bruce, Greg (2016-05-14). "Rose Matafeo on the highs and lows of stand-up comedy". ISSN 1170-0777. Retrieved 2019-10-20.
  9. "Biography at Johnson&Laird" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-10-04. Retrieved 2013-10-03.
  10. Barry Hill, Rebecca (16 April 2012). "Why making it as a comedian goes beyond a joke". The New Zealand Herald.
  11. "The Billy T Award Nominees announced for 2013". 18 October 2012.
  12. Beresford, Jessica (20 May 2013). "Rose Matafeo takes out Billy T award". TVNZ One News.
  13. "Rose Matafeo - Pizza Party". Archived from the original on 2 November 2014. Retrieved 31 October 2014.
  14. "Rose Matafeo and Guy Montgomery Are Friends". Edinburgh Festival. Retrieved 2019-10-20.
  15. Premier. "2018 Winners - Edinburgh Comedy Awards". Edinburgh Comedy Awards. Retrieved 2018-09-28.
  17. Logan, Brian (2018-08-25). "Edinburgh award champ Rose Matafeo's Horndog is a comedy smash". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2019-10-20.
  18. "Rose Matafeo wins Best Comedy Show at Edinburgh comedy festival". Stuff. Retrieved 2019-10-20.
  19. "Comedian leaves TVNZ U for Jono and Ben at 10". The New Zealand Herald. 13 July 2013.
  20. "Funny Girls, Television Series, 2015-2018". Retrieved 2019-10-19.
  21. Knox, David (7 February 2018). "Squinters". TV Tonight.
  22. "Why Rose Matafeo won't be doing NZ stand-up comedy any time soon". Stuff. Retrieved 2019-10-20.
  23. "Edinburgh Festival: How Rose Matafeo went from teen star to awards". Retrieved 2019-10-19.
  24. "Kiwi comedian Rose Matafeo to star in first feature film". Stuff. Retrieved 2019-10-20.
  25. Tartaglione, Nancy; Tartaglione, Nancy (2019-03-04). "Taika Waititi Exec Producing 'Baby, Done'; Comedy Stars Rose Matafeo, Matthew Lewis". Deadline. Retrieved 2019-10-20.
  26. White, Peter (2019-08-12). "HBO Max & BBC Three Team On Rose Matafeo's Millennial Comedy 'Starstruck' From 'Catastrophe' Producer Avalon Television". Deadline. Retrieved 2019-10-19.
  27. Rose Matafeo: It’s A Tough Year To Be A Straight Woman - CONAN on TBS, 2019-05-09, retrieved 2019-10-19
  28. "Boners Of The Heart". Little Empire Podcast Network.
  29. "The Guilty Feminist: 112. Instincts with Rose Matafeo". Retrieved 2019-10-20.
  30. Rose Matafeo - Richard Herring's Leicester Square Theatre Podcast #191, retrieved 2019-10-20
  31. Rose Matafeo [@Rose_Matafeo] (3 September 2015). "it was after James' show and she was like "isn't be brilliant?" and I was like "yeah he's alright" - absolutely negged my bf in front of her" (Tweet) via Twitter.
  32. Anderson, Charles (2 June 2013). "The tale of a cat named Burt Bachacat".
  33. Rawson, Emma (27 February 2014). "Meet funny girl Rose Matafeo". New Zealand Woman's Weekly.
  34. "Rose Matafeo's life changing move for love". 2015-11-16. ISSN 1170-0777. Retrieved 2019-10-20.
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