The Fair City actor on his rescue cats, dishonesty and not recognising Robert Plant
Born and reared in Ballyfermot, Rory Cowan worked in a record shop before becoming the publicity and logistics man for Mrs Brown’s Boys. He later took over the role of Rory Brown and left the show in 2017 to look after his mum. Cowan wrote his autobiography, Mrs Cowan’s Boy, in 2018. He has played the character of John ‘Bosco’ Walsh in RTÉ’s Fair City since 2019. He lives in Kilmainham with his two cats.
What’s your earliest memory?
My uncle Harry carrying me in his arms to spend the night with him and my auntie Eileen. It was my first time leaving my mother. I was maybe two and a half.
When and where were you happiest?
Caravan holidays in Rush in the 1960s with my family. We’d go for two weeks and have a great time.
What is your biggest fear?
What’s your least, and your most, attractive trait?
I can be very lazy if I’m not careful, and my most attractive trait is my sense of humour.
What trait do you deplore most in others?
What’s the first thing you’d do if you were Taoiseach?
I would replace the HSE.
What’s your biggest insecurity?
Looking my age.
Who would you most like to go for a pint with?
The person I go most for a pint with — Robert Doggett, maître d’ of the Trocadero restaurant.
Which fictional character do you most identify with?
Michael Novotny from Queer as Folk USA.
What is your most treasured possession?
My pop/rock memorabilia. I love The Beatles and Kate Bush. And I also treasure my two cats, Pebbles and Bam Bam. They had a rough start; they were born under a truck. I went for one and came home with two when I heard they were brother and sister. Now they are living their best lives with tuna and spring water.
What’s your guiltiest pleasure?
Desserts. My absolute favourite is bread and butter pudding. I love it but I really shouldn’t because I’ve type 2 diabetes.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Find yourself a Chelsea supporter as a boyfriend. They’ve already shown they’re loyal.
When did you last cry, and why?
I cry all the time looking at TV shows.
Who would play you in a film of your life?
Do you believe in a god?
Yes. I always wanted to be holy. Travelling the world with Mrs Brown’s Boys, I’ve been to churches and cathedrals all over the world, but the only time I ever felt in a state of grace was when I was at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem.
What’s your favourite word?
What’s the last TV show you binge-watched?
What advice would you give your 18-year-old self?
Don’t waste your time or women’s time pretending you’re straight.
If you could have a super power, what would it be?
What’s your most embarrassing moment?
When I was a DJ in the Pink Elephant in the early 1980s, a customer came up and asked me if I had any Led Zeppelin, and I said to him, ‘This is a disco.’ When I looked again, that customer was Robert Plant, lead singer of Led Zeppelin. There was no coming back from that.
The book you wish you’d written?
The Front Runner by Patricia Nell Warren.
The book you couldn’t finish?
Bleak House by Charles Dickens. I tried a few times but I could never get into it.
What’s the worst job you’ve ever done?
I never had a job I didn’t like. My mother wanted me to have a job in a bank, so I deliberately failed maths in exams so she wouldn’t be able to nag me, and I got a job in a record shop, which I adored. I was promoted over the years and eventually became marketing manager of EMI.
Tell us a secret...
I get radio frequency on my face every month.
What song would you like played at your funeral?
When The Saints Go Marching In by a ragtime band. They can play it when the curtain closes and I’m on my way to being flambéed.