Wednesday 13 December 2017

Dara O'Briain and Ed Byrne find body of man murdered in gang violence in El Salvador

Dara O Briain and Ed Byrne outside Publisher El Diario in San Salvador, El Salvador
Dara O Briain and Ed Byrne outside Publisher El Diario in San Salvador, El Salvador

Robin Schiller

Dara O Briain has told of the shocking scenes that went on off-camera during filming of his latest TV series.

The Irish funnyman and fellow stand-up Ed Byrne travelled to Central America to retrace an intrepid journey originally made in the 1940s by a trio of adventurers from Detroit known as “the three damn fools”.

While filming Dara and Ed’s Pan Am Adventure for RTE and BBC2, they travelled along the Pan-American highway recording their exploits.

However, O'Briain soon realised why they were constantly accompanied by armed guards.

Standing in a US-Mexico frontier town, the pair learned about the mechanics of the illegal drugs trade – the money and guns go south and the people and the drugs go north.

“The bit they didn’t mention in the press releases was this murdered guy we saw on the side of the road outside San Salvador,” said O'Briain.

“We stopped at this coconut stall and there was this dead body being bundled into a body bag.

“Not one of those zipped-up ones but a big plastic sack which was put in the back of a pick-up truck.”

The image stuck with O'Briain and was a constant reminder of the volatile environment.

“A police officer told us the dead guy was one of 39 who were shot in gang-related violence that weekend,” O'Briain told the RTE Guide.

“That was a sharp reminder why we were travelling under armed guard, having been told by our local fixer in San Salvador not to mention we had family in London or where we were staying or anything like that.”

Despite the added fear, the two comedians remained composed through out the trip, behaving more like “an old married couple” rather than colleagues.

“I suppose it could all be characterised as bickering,” O'Briain said.

The pair have been pals since the 1990s, and O'Briain even introduced Byrne to his future wife.

Dara and Ed’s Pan Am Adventure is on RTE1 on Thursday at 10.15pm


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