Arts Q&A: Nuala McKeever on Victoria Wood, Bruce Springsteen and being vegan

Jenny Lee puts performers and artists on the spot about what really matters to them. This week actress, playwright and comedienne Nuala McKeever

Nuala McKeever will be adding a touch of comedy to the Europa Hotel's Christmas Cracker lunches

1. When did you think about comedy as a career and what were your first steps into it?

At Queen's I hung about with a group of people that became The Hole In The Wall Gang. We did live gigs in Belfast, then the Edinburgh Festival. The BBC picked us up for radio, then television with Two Ceasefires and a Wedding and Give My Head Peace.

2. Best gigs you've been to?

Victoria Wood at the Waterfront Hall and Billy Connolly at the Waterfront Hall, but not on the same night. Best music gig was Bruce Springsteen in Dublin in 2002.

3. Fantasy wedding/birthday party band?

Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Leonard Cohen, Bonnie Raitt, Paul Brady and Joni Mitchell. There'd be a quare fight for the mic with that lot.

4. The record you'd take to a desert island?

The last phone message left by Mike (my late partner) on my voicemail a few weeks before he died, suddenly. He sang down the phone to me and it always makes me laugh and cry and be glad.

5. And the book?

It would have to be a compendium of all my favourite novels, far, far too many to mention, but including A Gathering Light by Jennifer Connelly and Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks. Also some poetry and a Gary Larson Far Side cartoon collection.

6. Top three films?

Some Like It Hot, Meet Me In St Louis and When Harry Met Sally

7. Worst film you've seen?

Anything with Jim Carey pulling stupid faces but especially Ace Ventura Pet Detective.

8. Favourite authors?

Michael Connelly, Anita Shreve and Alan Bennett

9. Sport you most enjoy and top team?

None really.

10. Ideal holiday destination?

Warm and sunny with calorie-free food and drink. In the real world, I'd love to return to Venice.

11. Pet hate?

Bad grammar. People over-using the word "wee" and people using "yourself" or myself, when they mean "you" or "me".

12. What's your favourite:

Dinner? I've just become vegan again, after 30 years. Discovered seitan, a type of imitation meat that makes great fried 'chicken' style dishes.

Dessert? My homemade vegan mince pies with vegan vanilla ice cream.

Drink? I gave it up a couple of years ago. Now I drink Lady Grey tea like it's going out of fashion.

13. Who is your best friend and how do you know each other?

My Mother. She gave birth to me.

14. Is there a God?

Yes, it's called love.

:: Nuala McKeever will be adding a touch of comedy to the Europa Hotel's Christmas Cracker lunches on Dec 16 and 22. Guests will be treated to her quick wit and a three course Christmas menu. Tel 028 9026 6012 to book.

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