herald

Tuesday 24 October 2017

I put Brendan on the road to fame – when I bought him a Fiat 127 ace

Brendan O'Carroll. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Brendan O'Carroll. Photo: Gerry Mooney

BOTTLER always got blamed. But it really was Brendan Grace's wisecracking schoolboy who gave Brendan O'Carroll his break into showbusiness.

Grace (62) has revealed how he paid for Brendan O'Carroll's first car, hired him as his assistant, and was responsible for his TV debut decades before Mrs Brown's Boys aired on the BBC.

The two men met, not at a comedy club, but at Grace's wedding reception in 1973.

"Brendan was a waiter working in Pat Quinn's club in Kilternan. He cracked myself and my wife up so much during the dinner. I asked him if he wanted a job." What followed was eight years with the young O'Carroll on the road writing and sometimes joining Grace on stage at his shows.

So crucial became the future Mrs Brown star to the operation, Grace ended up buying O'Carroll his first car. "He was costing me so much on taxis," he said.

"It was a Fiat 127, I can't remember how much it cost but there was a bank strike on which probably explains how the cheque went through," he joked.

But the little Finglas man was always by his side at the rowdy gigs he played. "I remember this gig down the country where I had a guy heckling me all night.

"Brendan somehow climbed out from under the stage and all I can remember is that the heckler suddenly went very quiet."

"I always knew Brendan would make it in the business. He's just as funny now as he was then," said Grace still on the road this week with shows in Gorey (Thursday), Wexford (Friday) and Baltinglass (Saturday).

hnews@herald.ie

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