Being funny is a serious business for 7 Days comediennes Urzila Carlson, Michele A’Court and Rose Matafeo. They’re witty, wacky and – as the Weekly learned during our photo shoot at Auckland’s Eden Garden – wonderfully weird.
We spoke to the first ladies of Kiwi comedy to find out what makes them tick – their favourite things, secret fears, and what they think of each other.
What’s your favourite thing in the world?
Rose: I started playing slow pitch social softball last year. Honestly, I’ve never liked something so much. The season just ended and I was so upset I cried in my car. We did just lose the final – it was a very Mighty Ducks moment. We nearly won.
Urzila: Well, I’ve got a kid, so that’s unfair, I have to say that. Apart from that – my watch. I bought it 20 years ago in San Antonio at the outlet mall. It started packing in, but I looked up the code online and found the exact same one.
Michele : Getting on a plane with my husband [comedian Jeremy Elwood] to go somewhere. I love travelling. I didn’t do it for years and years. If that somewhere is New Orleans, then I’m really happy.
What makes you laugh the most?
Urzila: When people fall over, and stuff like that. Awkward and embarrassing things – like when people talk and snot comes out.
Rose: There’s nothing funnier than someone falling down in an awkward way. Slowly.
Urzila: Yes! Slowly’s the best. Then they try and walk it out.
Rose: If I fall down – which happens a lot – I’ll just sit there and laugh at myself, because I know someone’s watching, and they’ll be like, “Well, at least she has a good sense of humour.”
Urzila: Yeah. You need to take the time to laugh about it. Sit back. Enjoy it.
Michele : I’m more into irony. And a little bit of toilet humour. One of my favourite moments was being at a hotel and passing wind in a lift by myself. When the doors opened, eight people walked straight in. I couldn’t even blame it on anyone else, so I just laughed and tossed my hair and walked out. To this day, I think it’s one of my most courageous moments.
What annoys you the most?
Urzila: Baristas who burn your coffee. And we’re in New Zealand, so you can’t do anything about it – we’re too passive-aggressive. As soon as they’ve handed it to you, you know they’ve burned it. You say thank you, walk out, take a sip, burn your throat, and your entire day is ruined. But you drink it because you paid $4.50.
Michele : For me, it’s when people get to the top of an escalator and stop.
Urzila: Yeah, I just drop my shoulder and barge through. Solid as a rock, mate.
What’s the strangest thing about you that people may not know?
Rose: I’m addicted to Twitter, so there’s nothing people don’t know. It really takes away from my mystique.
Urzila: I have a massive thing about germs and other people’s skin. Every time I go to a hotel, I take all the bedding off, chuck it in a corner and put my onesie on. I hate other people’s skin.
Rose: Wow. So you put on the onesie so you can sit down?
Urzila: No, the onesie is in case I touch something. Like, what if I black out and land on the floor? I just sit on the bed – I don’t watch TV or anything. If I’m there for a while, I’ll take Janola wipes and clean the room myself. God, I’m weird.
Rose: Mine is probably that when I think about dying, I have to touch my temples. I think it comes from touching wood.
Michele : I have a shrine to stroppy women at home. Lucille Ball is on the wall, with Carol Burnett and Wonder Woman. I make little offerings to it, like jewellery, chocolate, flowers...
Urzila: ... the occasional goat. See, their weird things are worse than mine – mine’s a practical choice.
How would your best friend describe you?
Rose: Always late and constantly piking on stuff. But also, cool.
Urzila: Fun and always stealing their stuff.
Michele : Stroppy, talk-ey, drink-ey, loud.
How would you describe each other?
Michele : Rose is intelligent whimsy. And Urzila is funny when she breathes.
Rose: Yeah, it’s really annoying how funny Urzila is. She was hilarious the minute she arrived in New Zealand.
Michele : She’s like a baby being born at age 10.
Urzila: Rhinos do that.
Michele : You’re the rhino of New Zealand comedy!
Urzila: Well, I have the legs and butt of a rhino. Michele is a trailblazer. She was the one who had to shovel the crap out of the way for the rest of us girls to come along. And Rose always sticks up for what she believes in. Loudly.
Rose: And Michele is a strong feminist mother hen. I look up to her as a strong woman. Wow, there’s a lot of feminine strength at this table right now!
Photographs by: Michelle Hyslop