I PANICKED – I LOST SO MUCH HAIR
Jeanne is 60 and has been active all her life, playing sports and walking in nature. After a surgery a few years ago, she lost a lot of hair.
IN DECEMBER 2019, mere months before the COVID-19 pandemic sent the world into lockdown, Mary Walsh decided to take her show on the road. The Canadian comedian, 68, and fellow This Hour Has 22 Minutes alum Cathy Jones, 65, hopped a train and headed across the country for the second season of Broad Appeal: Living With E’s, their hit CBC series of digital shorts in which they play Mrs. Eulalia and Mrs. Enid, two seniors who offer “pre-posthumous lifestyle advice.”
Speaking over the phone from her home in St. John’s, Walsh says her inspiration to take the “Mrs. E’s” on a tripcamefromtwowomensheknows who began travelling when their pensions kicked in. “They were finally kicking up their heels after a lifetime of working their guts out for everybody else. And I was really inspired by them. Like, ‘If not now, when?’”
The trip yielded six new episodes featuring Walsh and Jones in the E’s trademark wigs, long coats and rain bonnets, dispensing witty nuggets of advice on aging – “The trick to getting old is to fake it until you’re cremated” – and interviewing notable Canadians along the way.
Poet and activist El Jones teaches the pair how to rap in Halifax; in Toronto, they sit down with Margaret Atwood and implore her to write something upbeat, lest her fictional dystopian plotlines keep coming true; in Vancouver, they meet David Suzuki and liken him to The Picture of Dorian Grey – “You remain exquisite, and the Earth crumbles around you.”
Interviewing people in character is old hat for Walsh, who ambushed Canadian politicians and celebrities as Marg Delahunty – a.k.a. Marg, Princess Warrior – or one of her other alter egos on 22 Minutes for years. In fact, she’d previously waylaid Atwood and Suzuki, so this time around they were probably just glad they saw her coming.
As an avid traveller, she was grateful for the opportunity to cross the country before the pandemic hit, and the trip opened her eyes to Canada’s natural beauty.
She jokes about how she once viewed Vancouver as “one of those beautiful, empty, gorgeous women or men who just live on ‘Look at me. Aren’tIbeautiful?Lookatthemountains. Look at the ocean.’ I resented that because I thought, ‘Nobody cares about Newfoundland. We’re pretty good-looking, too.’” Now, of course, she loves Vancouver, adding, “Thanks be to God, I got older. I was given the opportunity because I could have died still resentful about everything.”
Season 2 of Broad Appeal is available on CBC Gem. gem.cbc.ca