Feeling snap-happy

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At first glance, you might not necessarily pick Tom Sainsbury out of a crowd.

But throw on a Snapchat filter and he’s instantly recognisable as one of New Zealand’s most popular comedians.

The Auckland funny-man became an online sensation after his Snapchat parodies of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Bill English, and, of course, Paula Bennett went viral.

With the trilling “hello sweeties” greeting and penchant for a panini and bowl latte, Sainsbury’s version of Bennett has become a fan favourite – and one that will soon be heading down to Queenstown (although possibly not in a Crown limo).

Sainsbury says his Bennett parody will feature at his first ever stand-up show in the resort tomorrow.

The gig, part of the Winter Pride line-up, will also feature support from performer Sir Dame Judy Ginger.

Sainsbury himself seems surprised he’s never performed in Queenstown before.

“It’s outrageous,” he says.

He’s looking forward to showing off his stand-up comedy, as well as the popular Paula.

While Snapchat has shot him to stardom, it wasn’t really a conscious decision, he says.

“It started with me sending silly things to my friends.

“My agent kind of urged me to make a public page, and then it took off.”

Took off indeed.

His Facebook page has more than 33,000 followers, while his videos regularly attract thousands of views.

He’s also appeared on a slightly bigger screen, with a role in the hit Kiwi comedy series Wellington Paranormal.

The whirlwind success has also brought him into contact with his politician muse.

“We’ve had a couple of interactions; the first time was quite strange,” he laughs.

“I did this charity thing called Poker Face, where I had to make someone laugh and I didn’t know who it would be.

“It was Paula Bennett watching me, which was a bit awkward.”

The second time the pair met they says.

As well as Bennett and some stand-up, the gig will also include a game show hosted by Sainsbury and Sir Dame Judy.

Sainsbury’s planning to make the most of his first visit to Queenstown – he’s staying for a few days and getting involved in some other Winter Pride events as well.

“It’s going to be a crazy time.”

To see Tom Sainsbury in action, head to The London tomorrow, 7pm, tickets $30-$40