Lisa Durupt is funny. I don’t mean in that “she’s a comedy actor so she must be funny” way, but more in that “genuine, charming, and adorably funny” way. She’s the type of person that would be on everyone’s friends’ list for movie night, late Sunday brunch or just for hanging out.
You’ll see what I mean by the time you’ve finished reading this interview with the woman who has carved a niche for herself on both sides of the border in productions like the hit Canadian television show Less Than Kind, and the popular Hallmark Channel Murder She Baked series.
On a normal weekday when you’re not working, what’s an average breakfast for you?
I love an oatmeal pancake. You take half a cup of oats, one egg and one egg white. Mix it up with cinnamon and you cook it like a pancake. Then you can add apple sauce or a low-sugar jam. It’s so good. It’s like a treat but it’s actually very healthy. It’s my favourite.
When you have a day off, and you’re at home with time to cook for yourself, what do you like to make?
I’m one of those people that can make breakfast food for supper. I love breakfast food! I love huevos rancheros. I love it with beans and avocado. I could eat that for dinner. And I love a good spicy garlicy stir fry. It takes time to do it right.
When you’re on set, what do you tend to gravitate towards for breakfast at crafty?
I tend to not. I tend to always make breakfast at home. I feel it sets me up for my day properly if I take an hour to myself every morning and have my breakfast, my coffee and watch the news. I function better. I’m cranky if I have to get up and go. Maybe it’s a control thing but I feel like breakfast is the one thing I can control to ensure that I’m energized for the day.
What’s your favourite brunch spot in the city and what do you tend to order most often?
I live in the suburbs so my favourite place to go is a little pub in my area called John B. Pub. I go for that classic breakfast with the two eggs, the side of ham, and hash browns. I’m very boring when it comes to that, but to me that’s exciting.
Where’s the most exotic place you’ve had brunch?
I’m not fancy. I like those little “diner-hole-in-the-wall” Mom and Pop shops. I think Corner Brook, Newfoundland has been my favourite. When I was eighteen I was there in the winter and I loved it. It was down-home cooking. It was great.
Are there any places on your bucket list?
I love tacos. I’m obsessed with Mexican food. Someone was just telling me about Tacofino. I wish I could say I go out more. I don’t know enough brunch places. I’m a rookie when it comes to going out for brunch. I go to the same three places. Suggest some for me!
What’s it like working with Mark McKinney? The guy’s kind of a legend.
Everything you would expect of Mark McKinney is true. He’s extremely intelligent, extremely funny; he’s very gracious and he’s a great teacher. When I worked with him I’d never done comedy before. It was my first experience and he knew that and was okay with it. He and the rest of the writing, producing and directing team made sure to educate me about how to do comedy. He was always the most experienced person on set in the genre and he never made you feel like you weren’t equal with him. He’ll come up with stuff on the fly that makes you wish you could live in his brain for one day. He’s a comedic genius and a never-ending ball of energy, too.
You’ve been nominated for a Gemini and a couple of Leo Awards. Were those experiences similar or different? How were those experiences for you?
I don’t think it’s ever not exciting when you’re nominated for something, because it means people genuinely took the time to watch your work, appreciate it, and got it. It just feels really good that people took the time to do that. To be very honest, I was completely shocked by all three of them.
The Gemini was the most shocking because it was the first time I’d been nominated for anything. That was surreal because you go to Toronto, get all dressed up, and it’s one big party that happens so fast. You’re in a room full of people you look up to. I was so excited to meet Rick Mercer.
The Leos were exciting because I was new to the city, only been here about six years, and I look up to a lot of people in the industry that are either a part of the Leos or tend to get nominated. I was flattered. A part of you inside is this little kid that’s so excited that you’ve been invited to the party. I was excited to go to the Leos my first year that I was nominated. When I got to go again, I appreciated it more. The process of meeting the other people in your category and knowing their work was equally as exciting as the nomination.
You’ve done television, Canadian and American, and then here’s this little indie Canadian film that gets great press. Tell us about the experience of working on Preggoland.
It was great. With television everything happens so fast you never know if you’re coming back for another episode or not. Having been on a Canadian show, I understood not having as big a production value as some of the big American shows you get to work on. I understood going into it that it was a smaller budget, but I always find that on the smaller budget stuff it tends to bring out the best in people because they’re there because they want to be. It becomes a passion project. It was comforting for me to work on a Canadian production where the writer was involved not only as the writer but also as the star of the show and she was someone I really wanted to work with. I was a big fan of Jacob Tierney and couldn’t wrap my head around that I was working with him until the first day when he knocked on my trailer to introduce himself.
We knew when we were making it that it was something special because everyone was excited about it. It was so well written. You knew it was different than some of the other stuff you get. There was never a day you wished would end. Everyone was sad when it was over.
You’re on the Murder She Baked series with Alison Sweeney, Barbara Niven and Cameron Matheson. How good of a baker are you?
I like baking. I don’t feel that I have the proper attention span to be a great baker. It’s an art. My best friend is a great baker. My sister is a brilliant baker. She had to make her own wedding cake and now she does it all the time for people for birthday parties. I definitely don’t possess that skill. I make basic cookies but I never leave the cake long enough to chill. I’m great at licking the bowl and the spoon. I just want to make it and eat it.
Chatting with Lisa Durupt did not feel like an interview. I could have stayed until it was time to order a late lunch and just kept talking, but then again, that might cut into my Murder She Baked viewing time. You can catch Lisa, Alison, Cameron and the rest of the cast on the Bravo Network in Canada.