not a member? click here to sign up
Currently starring in the funniest comedy of the year, the outrageous Bridesmaids, Sligo actor Chris O’Dowd tells Roe McDermott about how being a bit chubby set him on the path to comedy, the advantages of being Irish in Hollywood and what it’s like taking on the girl’s role for a change. Oh, and then he threw a chair at her!
Roe McDermott, 20 Jun 2011
As I walk in to meet Chris O’Dowd, he notices that one of my arms is resting in a sling and immediately offers to help me out. But not in the normal, “let me get the door for you, are you alright carrying your stuff?” way I’ve been getting from kind strangers all day. No, instead, Chris O’Dowd offers to tell the world that he punched me.
“It’ll be brilliant! You’ll have a good story about your injury, get a good angle for your article and I’ll seem like one of those tormented rock star actors. We can say I got insulted by one of your questions and I punched you. Or maybe threw a chair at you in a fit of egomaniacal rage? Look, I just passed Johnny Rotten downstairs, I can’t compete with that level of cool without at least hitting a girl.”
Having moved to London in 2000, the Sligo-born star of The IT Crowd, The Boat That Rocked and Gulliver’s Travels hasn’t been home in a quite while.
“Yeah I thought it seemed like a good time to come back,” he wisecracks. “First you had the Queen, and then Obama, but it’s okay – the supporting acts are over. I have arrived.”
He certainly has. The obligatory rite of passage for Irish actors – appearing in Irish dramas such as The Clinic – done, O’Dowd moved to London in search of bigger roles. When he landed the gig as the awkward and workshy Roy in Channel 4’s hit comedy The IT Crowd, he instantly became known for his comic talent.
“It didn’t really occur to me that you could make a career out of it,” he says, “in the same way that growing up it didn’t occur to me that you could make a career out of being an actor. In Sligo that was like saying you wanted to be an astronaut. I think it just happened because when you come out of drama school you audition for everything, and back then I was a big dude, I was two or three stone heavier and had a shaved head – I was not an attractive human being! So I wasn’t going to get any of the serious or heartthrob roles – and that kind of led me into comedy. And it’s worked out!”