Friday 24 November 2017

O'Carroll's radio stint lacked his trademark anarchic humour

Brendan O'Carroll
Brendan O'Carroll
Darragh McManus

Darragh McManus

Comedian, director, actor, novelist, businessman ... Brendan O'Carroll is like some cheery, foul-mouthed Renaissance man, whether you appreciate his shtick or not. This weekend he added another string to the bow, turning radio broadcaster.

The funnyman's sole hosting experience, he said, was filling in for Joe Duffy on Funny Friday. This time, he came on as substitute for Marian Finucane, on her weekend programme.

O'Carroll was fine but the shows were mixed. Saturday was good to very good, Sunday was a bit of a bore.

First, the man himself. Brendan possibly surprised people by being measured, easy-going and fairly well-versed on the issues under discussion. As host of a magazine show – an aural backdrop to browsing the papers of a weekend morning – he got the balance right.

Funnily enough, though, I'd have preferred if he'd been more ... well, more himself. It reminded me somewhat of Sky Sports' GAA coverage: so careful are they to be sober and un-showy, they sort of forget to include the pizazz and melodrama that makes millions tune in.

Same here: O'Carroll was grand, but this could have been any intelligent, engaged person, moderating a discussion.

I'm not saying you'd want endless Mrs Brown-isms and blue gags. But more of that anarchic humour, sense of mischief and schoolboy-esque high spirits would have, if nothing else, marked this out as different to the norm.

It also would have made Sunday's show less of a colossal bore. It wasn't really Brendan's fault, more that of the line-up.

Pat Rabbitte, Gerald Kean and Mary Hanafin. If ever they run out of sleeping pills, just play insomniacs a tape of those three droning on and on.

Joe Duffy, the final panellist, was okay, but his inclusion was an unpleasant reminder of one of RTE's most grievous faults: the national broadcaster is frequently incestuous and self-regarding.

That worsened when Brendan indulged himself by discussing his own movie, more than once, with the usual cribbing about the press.

Saturday was much better, with lively and entertaining sections on the economy, Suarez and sports psychology. Ronnie Whelan's hilarious comments on why "them brain fellas" aren't needed in soccer was amusing proof that sports pros shouldn't stray out of their mental comfort zone.

So was this a success? O'Carroll was, to a large degree; the show was and wasn't. Still an improvement on Marian, though.

Irish Independent

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