Melissa Wiley, managing editor at Tails, spoke with actress Bonnie Hunt about life, laughter, and the comical dogs who make Bonnie’s life whole. Here Melissa reflects on what it was like to interview Bonnie, who in addition to actress is an inspiring animal rescuer, writer, comedienne, and oncology nurse.
As seasoned a performer and comedienne as Bonnie Hunt is, there was nothing “on stage” about her demeanor when I spoke with her—no one could have been more down to earth. One of the first things I detected from her voice was real pathos, which only deepened as she spoke in more detail about the rescued dogs in her life.
Then, as she told me the stories of how she had rescued various dogs in her life, a lesser-known aspect of Bonnie grew in intensity—the writer. Her verbal wit was delightfully versatile. By equal turns, she created images both comic and heart wrenching. And as we continued to talk, I realized more and more how truly her ability to celebrate life through comedy comes from her extraordinary empathy with suffering. So when she briefly relayed her professional transition from oncology nurse to improvisational comedian on the Second City stage, it hardly came as a surprise, but seemed refreshingly consistent with Bonnie’s giving nature.
And true to character for someone like Bonnie Hunt, the resounding theme of our talk was her appreciation for the dogs in her life. She even remarked toward the end of the interview how dogs have “rescued” her many times. To which I responded that laughter too—which Bonnie specializes in eliciting from audiences everywhere—is often the best medicine, for any ailment. Bonnie graciously agreed, launching into further moving anecdotes about past dogs of hers who used to serve as therapy dogs. As the end of our talk drew near, I definitely got the feeling that there was no end to these stories. Of course, the interview ended in a note of humor and praise—for who else?—Charlie, the endlessly entertaining four-legged love of her life and co-cover star on this month’s issue of Tails.
Read Melissa’s interview with Bonnie—which appears in our March issue—here.