Brendan O’Carroll says Mrs Brown’s Boys saved his life when he plunged into depression over a $4million debt.
The Irish comedian, who writes and stars in the award-winning sitcom, begged God to let him die after he was left penniless after he poured the cash into a film flop.
He said: “It was the first time I’d felt depression like that. I sat in my house with the curtains drawn for days, thinking, ‘God, just take me now. I’m fucked. I just could not see a way out of it. I was absolutely screwed. The thought of going back and starting from scratch after all that was devastating.”
The disaster struck in 1998 when Brendan decided to borrow a fortune to fund 1998 movie Sparrow’s Trap, which he wrote and directed.
A film company had been due to stump up the cash but pulled out two days before filming began — leading to Brendan’s fateful move. The movie, about a boxer in Dublin, was made but never released, leaving Brendan with the monster debt but only $50,000 in the bank.
He recalled: “I had no one to blame. I couldn’t point the finger at anybody. I was out in a desert — but I hadn’t been put there, I’d walked there myself.
“A lot of people I was close to abandoned me and I watched their backs as they walked away thinking, ‘I never thought you would walk away.’
“That was the worst thing, feeling so totally alone. A perfect dream had turned into a fucking nightmare. I was broke and felt like a loser.
“But eventually I realised I had to get up and get back out there. Mrs Brown saved me because coming up with a play about her helped me to start paying the money back.”
He added proudly: “I finally paid my debts off last year.”
The dad of three had created the foul-mouthed matriarch character in 1992 for an Irish radio series before using her in a string of hit plays.
But Mrs Brown, who he plays in drag, only became an international smash when he was commissioned him to pen the sitcom that began screening in 2011. Former milkman Brendan only turned to writing comedy because of an earlier financial debacle.
Aged 25 he was left on the brink of bankruptcy when a pal made off with cash from a shared investment, leaving him $130.000 in debt.
He said: “I owned a pub with a friend and one day he was just gone with all the cash, the stock, the bank account. I was scared shitless.
“I literally had nothing. I lived by borrowing and doing odd jobs.
“It took me weeks to understand that this was real, that it was actually happening to me.
“I can remember sitting outside my friend’s house on Christmas Day in the pouring rain, just thinking to myself — he has to come home. But he didn’t.
“Back then I was so angry. If I’d seen him I’d have fucking killed him. But now I believe that everything happens for a reason.
“That situation was the reason I ended up in comedy. I was desperate for money and I begged a friend to let me go on stage at a club he owned.
“It was a success and it made good money, so I decided to keep going.”
by Lorelle Heath