Belfast Telegraph

Rory Cowan explains Mrs Brown's Boys exit in TV interview

Rory Cowan has given his first television interview since quitting hit comedy series Mrs Brown's Boys, revealing it "really bothered" him that he couldn't visit his ailing mother while on tour.

Cowan announced last week he was leaving Brendan O'Carroll's company following his final performance at the O2 Arena in London.

The star insisted there was no argument with the comedian, who plays Agnes Brown,  and cited his unhappiness with the touring lifestyle as the reason for his departure - especially when he was unable to return home to Ireland when he was told his elderly mother had days to live, due to an insurance issue.

Appearing on RTE's Saturday Night with Miriam, the actor explained: "My mother has dementia. Before we left things were bad but she was still mobile.

"When I was in Australia I got word that she had days to live and I couldn't get home. I couldn't get home because it was an insurance issue.

"They said 'If your mother dies you can go home for a week and come back all the way to Australia, but if she doesn't die you can't go because if people want their money back for refunds, even if you're not in the show, even though Brendan is the star, you'd have to pay full price for every seat, which would have worked out at hundreds of thousands of dollars'.

"They explained it to me, they said 'It's just to stop other actors in a similar situation or musicians to not drop out of a tour'."

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Rory Cowan (far right in pink jumper)

Cowan continued: "It really bothered me that I was on the other side of the world and I didn't want to be there anyway because we'd only been there a couple of years before hand and if I stayed with Mrs Brown's Boys they're going back again in January next year and that would have been three visits to Australia in four years. I think that's too much."

The actor had worked with O'Carroll for 26 years, initially as a publicist.

He admitted he struggled with the lack of activity during the tour, and said he felt his qualifications were going to waste.

"In the early days I started out as Brendan's publicist and I was booking the gigs and I was doing the PR and all this type of stuff and I had a lot to do," he said.

"I have a Higher Diploma in Marketing and PR and a certificate in Journalism and a certificate in Philosophy so I am qualified. As the show got bigger and bigger and bigger then you have promoters and you have producers and all the stuff that I had been doing, someone else was doing.

"Now I'm bored because I didn't have other things to do. I just had to go on stage at night and play the part of Rory Brown. For the rest of the time I'm abroad in arenas and stuff like that I have nothing to do. When my mother was at home sick I would prefer to be at home. I didn't like the idea of not having anything to do. I'm too qualified to be doing nothing."

Cowan said he would hate for people to think that he and Brendan had a falling out, and praised the star's generosity and kindness.

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Brendan O'Carroll as Mrs Brown.

"I decided this year in Cardiff on June 16 and I just said 'I'm going to hand in my notice'. Brendan must have known I wasn't happy because I'd said to him 'Brendan I want to hand in my notice, how much notice do you need?' He said, 'You can leave at the end of the week if you want'. He never asked me why I was leaving, I never told him I was leaving.

"Brendan always made me feel like part of the family. I've know Brendan for 26 years. I've known Danny since he was nine, he plays Buster and I've known Fiona who plays Maria since she was 12...

"Brendan was paying me very, very well and it enabled me to leave because I have money behind me now. I would hate to have said I needed to stay because I needed a wage. Brendan was a very very generous employer, and he still is.

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Rory Cowan (Artur Widak/PA)

"I'm still friends with Brendan, mind you, when I did hand in my notice it was most bizarre. After I handed in my notice I was really enjoying it because I thought, now I'm counting down the days until I can try something new. I didn't have much conversation with anybody because I was staying on my own."

On whether ot not he would ever return to Mrs Brown's Boys, Cowan added: "The only way I would come back is if Brendan asked me, and I agreed or if I asked Brendan and he agreed. Brendan O'Carroll was never the reason I left. If I went back the reasons I left would still be there so I know I wouldn't be going back.

"I want to try other stuff on television and on radio. I would love my own weekend radio show and I think it might be popular because I was on the Ray Darcy Show and they did a Facebook live and there was over 100k views on it that day. It was the biggest they've ever had. That hit me that I'm quite popular."

Following Cowan's departure from the show, O'Carroll branded him a 'legend' stating he would be deeply missed within the programme.

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