State Senator Linda Dorcena Forry will be the first woman, first Haitian-American, and the first Dorchester resident to host Sunday’s St. Patrick’s Day Breakfast, where politicians poke fun at themselves and colleagues. Correspondent Patrick D. Rosso asked her what she is excited about and what the audience can expect.
Q. When did you start preparing for the breakfast?
A. We started in earnest back in November, but, really, as soon as I was elected we started thinking about it. The last month or so has been getting increasingly intense.
Q. What are you most nervous about?
A. I’m nervous, but very excited. I guess I am most focused on making sure we get to all of the dignitaries who need mike time. We have a great lineup and one or two special surprise guests planned, so it’s a tight program.
Q. What will be different this year, how will we know this is an LDF event?
A. I don’t think anyone will confuse me with Bill Linehan, or any other previous host for that matter! But, I think in some ways they will recognize key elements: songs, local references, and the focus, of course, on Irish and Irish-American culture.
Q. What are some jokes you have planned for the audience this year? Who has the best jokes?
A. I’m the host, so, of course, I have the best jokes. If anyone tells you otherwise, let me know, and I’ll find them a choice seat — on the sidewalk.
Q. How do you plan to bridge the gap between generations and cultures in the audience?
A. That comes naturally to this event. Everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day, and my hosting is just the next step in that concept. I think younger folks will relate because we’ll have some components that are new both visually and using social media.
Q. Who are your favorite performers at the breakfast?
A. The Dropkick Murphys will be amazing. They have a great performance planned.
Q. What’s the most unusual thing you’ve seen happen at one of these?
A. Whatever Bill Weld was doing last year. . . . That was pretty unusual.
Q. What’s your favorite part about St. Patrick’s Day?
A. When it’s over. (Laughing.) I really do love the songs, and I love when everyone in the hall sings along. We’ll have the lyrics printed and on the screen, and I want to hear them singing at home, too.
Q. What Irish traits/traditions have you picked up/learned since you married an Irish-American?
A. The Irish know how to have a good time, even in difficult moments. Wakes, funerals, political roasts. Never easy, but it’s easier when you can try to focus on the good times. The Irish are experts are that. But, really, in most ways us Haitians and Irish have a lot in common: Both are countries that were once colonized/enslaved; both freed themselves through revolutions; both have Catholicism as their main religion. And the people. They are both great people who’ve made giant contributions to this country. I think it’s a natural pairing.
Q. Did you attend the parade and breakfast growing up?
A. I never went until I was in politics in the 1990s. But I was aware of it. My pastor growing up in Dorchester was a South Boston native with a great sense of humor. My husband, Bill [Forry], grew up going to the breakfast. His father and his family would go to it as far back as the 1960s.
Q. Could a breakfast like this happen anywhere but South Boston?
A. Sure, but it would be lame. This event has the benefit of a regional audience and 70 years of tradition. It’s the marquee event of its kind.