Proust questionnaire: Bette MacDonald

One of Cape Breton's most beloved comedians is now an author. Bette MacDonald shares her love for Shakespeare and more in our holiday Proust Questionnaire
Bette MacDonald Mary Morrison’s Cape Breton Christmas (Nimbus Publishing)
Photo by by Murdock Smith

Comedian and Gemini-winning actor Bette MacDonald has delighted audiences for over 20 years. Her beloved character, Mary Morrison, a kerchief-wearing, handbag-carrying Caper, has left viewers rolling in the aisles nearly as long. MacDonald’s new book, Mary Morrison’s Cape Breton Christmas (Nimbus Publishing), is a treasury of all things holiday, including advice for coping with family, gift-giving dos and don’ts and her favourite seasonal recipes.

What do you consider your best quality?
My sense of humour.

A quality you desire in a partner:
The same, a sense of humour. And kindness.

What do you appreciate most about your friends?
I appreciate loyalty and discretion (no one needs to know what we get up to.) And, of course, a sense of humour.

Your worst quality:
I am too impulsive. I often find myself having to undo things. Also, I’m indecisive. Or am I? Yes, I am.

Your favourite occupation:
Fortunately, I’m doing it, writing and performing.

What is your idea of happiness?
Being with family and close friends, being alone in my office writing or being anywhere with my husband, Maynard.

Favourite colour:
It changes. Right now it’s orange.

Your present state of mind:
Happy. Grateful. Excited about what’s next.

Mary Morrison's CB ChristmasIf you could be someone else for a day who would it be?
I would be a famous opera singer performing Tosca at the Met with Bryn Terfel in the role of Scarpia and Jonas Kaufman playing Mario.

Where you would most like to live?
New York. Specifically, anywhere within walking distance of Lincoln Center.

Favourite animal:
Dog. We have two, Roxie and Sam. Their good looks make up for their lack of good manners.

Your favourite poet(s):
Shakespeare, Pablo Neruda, Tennyson, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen and so on…

Favourite author(s):
Ed Macdonald, Alistair MacLeod, Shakespeare, Ruth Rendell, Agatha Christie, Harold Bloom, Alice Munro, Stephen Fry… and on and on…

Your favourite fictional heroes:
Miss Marple, Hercule Poirot, Sherlock Holmes, Floria Tosca, Don Giovanni and Falstaff, among others.

Your favourite food & drink:
Anything in the high carb family. Also, I recently had a Manhattan and quickly realized that one is enough. I like many kinds of food but it’s the company that makes or breaks any meal.

A natural talent you’d like to possess:
I would love to be a musician who can play all kinds of music so I could be in Symphony Nova Scotia and in a jazz combo. Sweet.

How you want to die:
Well, I don’t. But if I must, I would like to die of happiness just after learning that I have been cast to play Mrs. Lovett on Broadway with Bryn Terfel as Sweeney Todd. That way, I get the part but I don’t have to learn the lines.

Favourite or personal motto:
One of the most sensible and lovely things I’ve ever read is by Stephen Fry, it ends with, “…all the big words–virtue, justice, truth – are dwarfed by the greatness of kindness.”

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