Comedian Oliver Callan sensationally defended himself against accusations of homophobia last night by revealing that in fact he is gay himself.
The Monaghan comedian and mimic, star of the hugely successful satirical show Green Tea, went on RTE's Saturday Night Show last night to set a few things straight about the ongoing controversy over his feud with Kerry GAA star and fashion guru Paul Galvin.
The pair hit the headlines 10 days ago when Galvin and Callan were involved in an altercation in the Dublin pub Kehoe's.
In his first ever interview as himself, Callan said on The Saturday Night Show that he had been bemused by some people implying that his caricaturing of Galvin and others, including David Norris and Louis Walsh, meant that he was some kind of hate-filled homophobe.
So he decided it was time to come out about one aspect of his private life and tell people that he is gay.
Callan said he didn't think his sexual orientation was a big deal and didn't really think people should have to "come out" in this day and age.
He joked that he knew he was gay from an early age because, growing up in Monaghan, he was late learning to drive a tractor.
GAA star Galvin's unhappiness with Callan was originally thought to be connected with sketches on Callan's hugely popular RTE radio show Green Tea regarding Galvin's alleged relationship with TV star Grainne Seoige.
However, the Sunday Independent revealed that Galvin had in fact taken offence before the summer to Callan making a camp joke about Galvin on The Saturday Night Show.
In March, playing David Norris, Oliver joked that Galvin was Norris's stylist and that the reason Galvin was such a fashion expert was because of all Galvin's years spent in the closet.
Galvin apparently contacted a staff member on The Saturday Night Show at the time to say that having to sit on the couch with his parents, watching Oliver's routine made for the most excruciating night of his life.
The hugely successful Callan, who came to fame with his Nob Nation sketches on the late Gerry Ryan's show, has also been criticised in the past for his camp portrayal of David Norris.
He also revealed last night that David Norris had told him he loved his impression.
Louis Walsh is also a big fan of his portrayal. Callan's answer to the odd critic who called him homophobic is quite simple: He's not homophobic. He's gay.
Callan revealed that the first person he came out to was his best friend and the producer of Green Tea, who is, he said, a roaring heterosexual. While the producer was initially concerned about losing his wing man, Callan said that in fact, a gay guy is a great wing man for a straight guy.
He also revealed that he gets approached by a lot of women himself, some of whom have unusual requests, like the woman who wanted to go to bed with Jack Nicholson and wake up with Enda Kenny.
However this is not the first time Oliver has been "outed". The late Gerry Ryan outed Oliver at a dinner party in Dublin a few years ago. Callan later heard about it from a friend of his who had been there.
While Callan said it wasn't easy growing up gay in Monaghan in the late Nineties, he thinks it is no big deal being gay these days.
Callan is a regular contributor to The Saturday Night Show. Last week, over half a million people watched his presidential debate, in which he played six of the seven Aras hopefuls, as well as Eamon Dunphy, Paul Galvin and Charlie Bird.
The hugely successful Green Tea has been recommissioned for a further run by RTE Radio 1.
After the show, he was planning to drive back to Monaghan to have a pint with his Dad Tony in Leegan's Lounge in Inniskeen, where Oliver favours a large bottle of McArdles.
The Callan family religiously celebrate Halloween with a bonfire on their farm and fireworks from Crossmaglen.
Callan was keen to avoid any furore that might follow last night's interview. Friends said he hoped it would be something that might help other lads around the country who are struggling with coming out.
But he didn't want to get involved in a media circus so he went home to be with his family, who are of course standing by him through this.