Mrs. Brown’s Brendan O’Carroll used to cut sticks and sell them door to door in his first ever job

The Mrs. Brown’s Boys star and creator recalled his working life as child and teenager before making it big as a comedian – and he can remember what he first earned

Brendan O’Carroll used to cut sticks and sell them door to door in his first ever job.

From there, the comedian left school with out telling his politician mother and began training as a waiter in Dublin’s Skylon Hotel.

Now, as the creator and star of Mrs. Brown’s Boys, he is living ‘so far past his dreams’, it doesn’t feel real to him.

Comedian Brendan O'Carroll (Image: Collins Photos)
Comedian Brendan O’Carroll (Image: Collins Photos)

Brendan told RSVP Magazine: “I used to cut sticks and sell them door to door. My mam was a widow so we used to get two bags of turf on her widow’s pension.

“When I was 11 or 12 years old, I would go down to the turf depot at 7am even though it didn’t open until 8am. I wanted to be first in the queue so I was home in time to play my football match.

“One morning this man came over to me, I could see him looking from across the green and I was a bit wary of him. He said I looked reliable because I was there every Saturday.

“It turned out he was Jewish and he wanted someone to light his fire every Saturday morning. He gave me a shilling for doing it as well as a glass of MiWadi orange and two Marietta biscuits.

“I did that for years and years, even when I was married, and every week I would still get the drink and biscuits.”

Comedian Brendan O'Carroll (Image: Gareth Chaney/ Collins Photos)
Comedian Brendan O’Carroll (Image: Gareth Chaney/ Collins Photos)

Brendan’s mother, who had been a politician, got him a union card so he could be a waiter.

The Mrs. Brown’s Boys star recalled: “The Skylon Hotel had just opened in Dublin so I went down there at age 12 looking for a summer job. The head waiter went into the kitchen and brought everyone out.

“He said, ‘I want to show you something. I asked the union for waiters and they sent me a leprechaun.’

“I fell in love with being a waiter but I didn’t tell my mam. I used to get ready for school, but instead I’d go into the hotel and serve lunch. I got away with it until my mother bumped into my Latin teacher in town!”

Brendan can still remember what he earned.

He said: “I was 18 years in the hotel business. I earned 1 pound, 18 shillings. For all my life at home I handed all my wages to my ma for housekeeping. I loved making a contribution.”

Like everyone, Brendan had jobs that he hated over the years.

He said: “Anyone who works shift work will tell you they want to work 9-5 and be off Saturday and Sunday. I got a job in the Colibri factory making lighters.

“My job was to polish the little lighter in the corner of the lighter for eight hours a day. I lasted three days!”

Brendan is now working in his dream job, with a hit BBC and RTÉ and global stage shows.

He said: “It’s funny you say ‘dream’ because people always say to me that ‘I’m living my dream’. I’m so far past my dreams, it doesn’t feel real.

“It feels like this success is happening to someone else. This is way beyond anything I could have expected. I’m writing books, TV shows and movies.”

What did he want to be growing up? “All I wanted to be was a pilot, but then I found out I was colourblind. I was devastated.”

For years Brendan’s mates used to say that he should be on stage, so he segued from the hospitality industry into writing and acting as a job.

He said: “I rang a friend of mine who was running The Rathmines Inn and I asked him for a comedy gig. I started doing a version of Blind Date every Tuesday.

“There were 40 people there the first night and there must have been 750 the third week. That brought me to the attention of radio DJ Gareth O’Callaghan and I told him I was writing a soap opera for radio.

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