Now author, actor/director/ script-writer, playwright, video star as well as stand-up comic, the Brendan O’Carroll story begins very modestly.
The youngest of eleven children, Brendan O’Carroll was born in Dublin’s inner-city in 1955. His mother, Maureen was a Labour TD (MP) and a huge influence on his life. He left school at 12 and worked as a waiter, trying many other occupations in his spare time - disco manager, milkman, pirate radio disc-jockey, painter-decorator etc.
For a time he ran his own bar and cabaret lounge before being persuaded to try the comedy circuit. The gigs were small at first and even included his own version of ‘Blind Date’, but word soon got round about this original and outrageous funnyman and then there was standing-room only.
The real turning point in Brendan’s career was his first appearance on The Late Late Show, Ireland’s longest-running chat show, also shown weekly on Channel 4 in the UK. The studio audience and the viewers loved him. His first video Live at the Tivoli went straight to No 1, knocking U2 out of the top slot and pushing Garth Brooks to No 3. In 1994 he was voted Ireland’s No 1 Variety Entertainer at the National Entertainment Awards.
He went on to make 4 top-selling videos, and a bestselling record, as well as touring in Ireland, the UK and the USA.
The radio show Mrs Browne’s Boys, written by and starring Brendan, had a phenomenal daily audience on 2FM and led to the creation of Agnes Browne as the central character in Brendan’s first novel, The Mammy, published in 1994. The book topped the bestseller charts in Ireland for months and the film rights were snapped up. The Mammy is now also available as a talking book.
The sequel to The Mammy, entitled The Chisellers, published in 1995, was also a long-running bestseller, and the final book in the trilogy, The Granny, (1996) went straight to No 1 in the Irish Bestseller list; the first print-run sold out immediately.
Meanwhile Brendan wrote a play, The Course, which had a five-month sell-out run in Dublin in 1995/96 and has toured in England (London, Manchester, Birmingham, Liverpool) and Scotland as well as in Canada.
Brendan can be seen on the big screen in the film of Roddy Doyle’s The Van, in which he plays alongside Colm Meaney of Star Trek and The Snapper fame. His performance has been described by the critics as 'spot-on'. He also hosts a quiz show on RTE - Hot Milk and Pepper.