Broad Appeal

Broad Appeal

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Mary Walsh and Cathy Jones, along with their alter egos, Mrs. Enid and Mrs. Eulalia, travel the country with funny bones intact proving age is nothing but a number 

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They are not just two ladies in their 80s proving life is better with age, they are so much more. Sassy, spry, and incredibly funny, Mrs. Enid and Mrs. Eulalia are what we all wish to become if we’re lucky: older, wiser, and still able to click our heels in the air a time or two. 

Mary Walsh and Cathy Jones are the brains and the hearts behind these two lovable and iconic characters and they couldn’t be more proud of their journey.

Comedy with a twist

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Now available on CBC Gem, season two of Broad Appeal sees these two ‘gems’ hit the road for some comedy with a twist. Walsh sat down to talk with The Herald on the life and times of two of her most favourite characters.

“It’s sort of inspired by two old friends of my Aunt May’s who had fairly difficult lives. They brought their children up on their own. They worked – one of them worked as a cleaner at St. Claire’s; one of them had six kids – and they worked hard,” Walsh opened. 

But once they retired? Things changed, she continued. “Retirement was like they were after dying and going to heaven, honest to God. They had Old Age pension and their Canada pension. And they just kicked up their heels and did what they always wanted to do.” 

Grand Dames

They went to Ireland. They went across the country and visited with their children. And like the characters, Mrs. Enid and this Mrs. Eulalia, what did they have to lose? “They could just live, and live it up,” she added with a laugh. 

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These “Grand Dames of Canadian Comedy” hit the road pre-COVID and, like their real-life inspirations,  just went wild. 

“At one point you had me, Cathy, and Margaret Atwood staying at The Fairmount Hotel, which begs the question; can you have too many Grand Dames in one place? If you call us the Grand Dames of Canadian comedy and Margaret Atwood the Grand Dame of literature, and The Fairmount the Grand Dame of hotels, we answer the question, can you have too many grand dames in the same place at the same time? The answer is no, definitely not. But we had a lot of fun.”

But this isn’t just about having a laugh. It’s about shining a light on some important topics too. From scams to a sit down with David Suzuki, these two didn’t miss a beat.  

“So many people, especially seniors, are targets for being scammed and they’re just praying on people who are alone and from another age where they’re much more vulnerable to believing what buddy tells them. 

“When buddy tells them he’s a prince from Nigeria or the captain of a cruise ship, well, when you are in your 80s you ask, why would somebody call me up and say that if it wasn’t true?”

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Something for anyone

Available online, Broad Appeal has just that: broad appeal. It has something for everyone. 

“It’s fun. it’s funny. And there’s meaning too. It’s just two old friends trying to take over the world, really. What have they got to lose?”  

We ask how Walsh’s been coping in these pandemic times. It’s hard for those in the arts community, she shared, but she also offered hope, too.

Hudson and Rex is coming back and it’s been the most popular show that’s ever been on City (TV) and people are watching it in droves and they’re definitely coming back to do another season and that’s shot here, so that’s great. The Surrealtor is coming back. Sweetland, based on Michael Crummey’s book will be made, and I’m making a little tiny film called Dad in the Fridge Box based on a poem by Agnes Walsh, and so everyone is busy as nails.” 

There’s more. So much more. There’s a series “that doesn’t exist yet,” with a working title she despises, but hasn’t yet gotten around to changing. 

“Honest to God, it has the most unfortunate name and I’m hoping we’re going to change that name because it makes me feel like I spilled gravy all down the front of my shirt,” she laughed. 

Live hoarse get water

But like you’d expect to hear from a comedian, even bad experiences – from pandemics to stained gravy shirts – can be overcome with the right attitude, a bit of elbow grease, and most importantly perhaps, a fine-tuned funny bone.   

“There will be stuff on the go when we can get going again. There’s going to be such a burst of creativity. There’s going to be such an amazing amount of things to do. All we have to do is live through this, right? And they used to say; live hoarse and you’ll get water. 

“Now, it’s not like you’re guaranteed to live if dying of thirst, but if you do live, you will eventually find water.” 

Two women who have survived: Mrs. Enid and Mrs. Eulalia. 

“Cathy and I really love those characters. For one thing, it’s our chance to get together. And we really enjoy that. And what’s not to treasure about two strong women in their 80s proving life gets better with age if we all just hang in there.” 

Broad Appeal Season 2 is available now, only on CBC Gem http://bit.ly/BroadAppeal-S2

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