The Times We Lived In: Waxing lyrical – thumbs up for Bottler

Published: July 8th, 1989 Photograph: Jack McManus


We hear a lot about Brendan O’Carroll these days, thanks to his world-conquering Mrs Brown alter ego. We don’t hear so much about that other comedic Brendan: Brendan Grace.

There was a time, however, when Grace’s alter ego, the overgrown Dublin schoolboy known as Bottler, was everywhere, his peaked cap, scarf and shorts as instantly recognisable as Mrs Brown’s curls and specs.

Our picture was taken when Grace, plus Bottler – in the shape of his Dublin Wax Museum double – launched the Rehab lottery game Double Win in Mountjoy Square. Double exposure, in every sense of the word.

Like many wax “doubles”, the Bottler figure manages to resemble Grace without really looking like him. Rather, its mad facial expression reproduces with waxy wackiness what people think a stand-up comedian ought to look like – whereas Grace himself looks rather pensive, even slightly forlorn.

The kids, on the other hand, are loving their moment of celebrity. Our photographer has managed to get them to mimic Grace’s “thumbs-up” gesture; though their combined energy (and contrasting personalities) can be traced from the unfeigned exuberance of the boy on the extreme left, and the ebullient stance of the child next to him, to the more muted response of the two children on the far right.

But look at the mischief being made by the kid to Bottler’s left as we look at the image – who, while doing what he has been told to do with one hand, can’t resist picking Bottler’s pocket with the other. It would be interesting to know whether this young lad went to on become a stand-up comic; he certainly shows an aptitude for it.

What ever happened to Brendan Grace? Well, he mostly lives in the States now. But he plays here quite often. In fact, he’s playing at the INEC in Killarney tonight. So if you hurry, you’ll make it to Kerry in time to give him the thumbs-up for yourself.

This and other photographs from The Irish Times can be purchased from:

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