Irish comedian Brendan O’Carroll has spoken about feeling hurt at how some people in Ireland have slammed his hit sitcom, Mrs Brown’s Boys.
The show, which features O’Carroll in the lead role of Agnes Brown, was voted the best comedy of the 21st century by TV viewers in the United Kingdom where it regularly attracts audiences of more than 8 million.
Those are huge figures by modern standards but the critics in Ireland remained unimpressed.
One of the harshest comments came from a TV pundit who said: “I would rather throw myself on top of a funeral pyre than watch Mrs Brown’s Boys.”
There have been similar remarks from critics who aren’t in the mood to pull punches. One described the show’s audience as idiots.
Speaking to Joe Duffy on RTE’s Liveline, O’Carroll said: “Some of it is hurtful but some of it is very annoying. Comedy is very subjective. Maybe it’s sour grapes… it’s a comedy show… it shouldn’t provoke that kind of anger. It’s just a comedy show.”
“The most hurtful part of it is that it does come from Irish newspapers… you’re thinking, ah lads, give us a break, we’re doing our best here.
“I’d be telling you a lie Joe, if I said it doesn’t hurt.
“I read reviews of the show and some of them are critical. Sometimes you read it and you say, he’s right, we can change that.
“We’re not doing brain surgery… it’s a comedy show.
“I’ve no idea what provokes the criticism. I think whoever writes that kind of stuff takes it far too importantly.”
Despite the criticism, the last laugh is with O’Carroll as Mrs Brown’s Boys goes from strength to strength.
He is now working on two specials to be shown at Christmas, but it can be tough going. “I put more in the bin than I put on the page,” he said.
He’s also developing a separate project, which could involve the cast of Mrs Brown’s Boys appearing live in a more general light entertainment show for Saturday night viewing.