Suspected of murder, interrogated by police and threatened with arrest – for funnyman Brendan O’Carroll, this was no laughing matter but all too horribly real.
The Mrs Brown’s Boys star readily admits he did want to kill his former business partner, who had cleaned out the pub they co-owned and fled with the proceeds while Brendan was on holiday.
But actual murder? Despite bankruptcy, endless lawsuits and years of bad blood – no way! Yet wronged father-of-three Brendan rapidly became prime suspect when Kevin Moore – the man who betrayed him so badly – was found hanged in Dublin.
‘Honestly, you couldn’t make it up,’ says the Irish comic, writer, actor and all-round entertainment powerhouse, who is touring his hilarious stage show For The Love Of Mrs Brown in Australia early next year.
The sad part about it was – and it just shows how times have changed – Kevin vanished because he had AIDS, which was pretty much of a death sentence back then,’ says Brendan of those dark days in 1989. ‘At the time, I was very, very angry, but in hindsight I can’t even imagine the pain he must have been in.
‘He’d even sold the plates and light bulbs – I was finished! What destroyed me was knowing we both could have come out of the pub experience as seriously rich men. But Kevin sold us out for about 90-odd grand.
‘The police enquiries didn’t last long. It was soon established that Kevin had killed himself. God forgive me, it was terribly, terribly rough, but because of that I ended up in comedy!’
Desperate to earn a fast buck for his family – preferably behind the taxman’s back – Brendan hit Dublin’s stand-up comedy circuit, and the rest is history!
Today the Mrs Brown’s creator and the cast, most of them real-life relations, are a global success, just as a fortune teller once foretold.
‘It’s one of those ironic twists,’ chuckles Brendan, 62, now a multi-millionaire living with second wife Jenny Gibney in the same Florida street as their extended family – three kids and six grandchildren.
‘If Kevin hadn’t fecked off to Australia with the money, I might still be running a pub!’
Luck has certainly played its part. Brendan only stepped in as Mrs Brown when the actress originally cast to play her called in sick. As it was his script
and the character was based on his formidable mother Maureen – a former nun turned mother- of-11 and pioneering female politician – he had the radio audience in stitches.
Begged to keep the role, he went on to write in all his family – wife Jenny, sister Eilish, children Fiona and Danny, grandson Jamie, his sister-in-law and both his son and daughter- in-law. Knockabout, bawdy Mrs Brown soon become a global stage and screen juggernaut, voted the Best TV Sitcom of the 21st century by Britain’s Radio Times.
Do things get fraught, living and working so closely with his family?
‘Ah, we’re not the Waltons, believe me,’ laughs Brendan. ‘But it’s incredible when you see how comedy changes things. We do have spats and family rows, but then we get out on stage to make 7,000 people laugh. Then we come off and say: “What the hell are you raving about, it’s a great life!” And we just hug it out.’
He reckons he’s a lucky, lucky man. As Mrs Brown says: ‘It all works out the way it’s supposed to.’ And Brendan agrees: ‘It’s absolutely true, it always does.’
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