Netflix’s A Madea Homecoming may be the twelfth movie in Tyler Perry‘s Madea franchise, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have something new to offer. In fact, for Irish fans of Madea, this new movie—which began streaming on Netflix today—comes with a very special treat: An appearance from Irish comedian Brendan O’Carroll‘s beloved character, Mrs. Agnes Brown.
If you’ve seen the trailer for Homecoming, you know that Mrs. Brown shows up at Madea’s door as one of the few white guests to come to the house to celebrate the college graduation of Madea’s great-grandson. Of course, being Mrs. Brown, she doesn’t know how to read a room and greets Madea by saying “Wakanda forever!” while crossing her arms over her chest. The cultural goofs don’t stop there—we’re sure we’ll be cringing at Agnes’s missteps the entire film.
That said, if you’re not familiar with British sitcoms, you may not recognize Mrs. Brown’s appearance—as well as the appearance of a few of the Brown family members—as the crossover event that it is. Read on to learn more about Brendan O’Carroll and Mrs. Brown.
WHO IS MRS. BROWN IN A MADEA HOMECOMING?
Agnes Brown, aka Mrs. Brown, is a character created and played Irish comedian Brendan O’Carroll. The character—a foul-mouth matriarch not dissimilar from Tyler Perry’s Madea—first appeared in a short radio play O’Carroll performed in 1992 called Mrs. Browne’s Boys. Reportedly, the actress cast to play Agnes Brown, an aging widow, in the show did not show up, so O’Carroll took on the role himself.
The character was a hit, and O’Carroll brought her to the stage in five plays that toured around the UK between 1999 and 2009. Then, in 2011, the play was adapted into an Irish sitcom staring O’Carroll, Mrs. Brown’s Boys, which ran for three seasons in Ireland on RTÉ One, and also aired in other countries, including in the U.S. on BBC America and in Canada on BBC Canada. The show also featured a number of annual Christmas specials, including one broadcast last year in December 2021. For those who don’t know anything about the Mrs. Brown TV show, the basic premise is that Agnes Brown is a widow and mother of six children. She is often rude and always speaks her mind. The rest of the Brown family has learned to deal with her eccentricities—you’re laughing at her, not with her.
And now, Mrs. Brown is making her debut in the Madea universe, alongside Agnes’s daughter Cathy Brown (played by O’Carroll’s IRL wife, Jennifer Gibney).
The crossover in Madea Homecoming couldn’t be more appropriate, considering both Madea and Agnes Brown are rude, older women played by male comedians in drag. In an interview for the Madea Homecoming press notes, Perry said he has been hoping to work with O’Carroll on a project for some time. “I’ve wanted to work with him for a very long time and we both started doing these characters around the same time,” Perry said. “He started doing Mrs. Brown and I started doing Madea and we were in different parts of the world. And to realize we were on a parallel path for the most part, and then to get a chance to work together was really exciting for me.”
In that same interview, O’Carroll recalled Perry expressing that feeling of connection with him the very first time they spoke. “I got a call from my agent in L.A. about six years ago, maybe seven years ago. And he said, ‘Here, I’ve got an odd one for you here. Tyler Perry called looking for your number.’ He called and he said, ‘I think we’re brothers from another mother. Your birthday is within two days of my birthday. We both were raised by our moms, and we both do a similar type of show. You know, we got to do something together. We got to do something together.’ And that’s where it started.”
Sounds like a match made in heaven. Hallelujer!