Chat Shows

Sofa Watch: Swap Ryan and Graham for Daniel O'Donnell at home?

All you need to know about your Irish and international chat show options.

IT MIGHT NOT look like it outside, but in the world of TV chat shows we’ve entered the summer hiatus – meaning the Late Late Show and the Graham Norton Show are off air. 

That means no more rousing bonhomie from Ryan Tubridy and – perhaps less regrettably – no more awkward interviews between isolating celebrities and Graham Norton. 

But don’t be alarmed – that doesn’t mean that TV has disappeared altogether. There’s still plenty of chat, cheer and all-round entertainment to cut through the bleakness that is the nightly news. 

In that spirit, thank goodness for the Americans. At the very least, we appreciate their chatshows. 

Across the pond

The grim news stories keep on coming from the US and talk show hosts haven’t shied away from it. Last week the death of George Floyd and wider police brutality dominated discussions and little has changed since. 

If anything, that discussion intensified. On The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, the host lamented the reaction of US President Donald Trump to the protests and probed calls to defund American police departments. 

One of the most significant discussions was between Colbert and award-winning reporter Wesley Lowery, who started his career covering the unrest in Ferguson following the shooting of Michael Brown by a police officer, and is now calling for police data to be provided publicly as a key tenet of reform. 

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert / YouTube

If Youtube metrics are anything to go by, Jimmy Kimmel’s monologues remain resoundingly popular. But his guests still packed a punch this week.

Actor and performer Keke Palmer spoke about feeling her ‘upbeatness’ challenged by the mood in the US and discussed her starring role in a protest moment that went viral – when she encouraged National Guardsmen to take a knee during a rally. But she said that more needs to be done and that the symbol wasn’t enough. 

Jimmy Kimmel Live / YouTube

Over on Last Week Tonight, John Oliver also offered a satisfying history of how US policy and white supremacy are inextricably linked, as well as offering some potential solutions. 

LastWeekTonight / YouTube

Closer to home

All is not lost on Irish TV screens, however. Some hot-shot executive in TG4 had the bright idea to commission Daniel sa Bhaile – truly one of the greatest decisions in Irish television history. 

While we’re not sure that the charms of Daniel O’Donnell flailing around in a hula hoop will survive after post-pandemic, it’s certainly a welcome diversion from the world outside. 

And if you really are missing the Late Late Show, here’s some good news. Tonight, there’ll be a “Best of the Late Late Show” programme on RTÉ One at 9.35pm – so get your final fix before all traces of the show vanish for the rest of the summer. 

TG4 / YouTube

From the Archives

Four years ago may not seem not that long ago, but watching guests huddled on a sofa seems otherworldly enough to make this clip worthy of an inclusion here. 

As we all cope with unshorn locks and increasingly messy hair, it’s nice to know that it’s also movie stars like Colin Farrell who have bad hair days. 

If you’re feeling insecure without a barber or hairdresser, take some pleasure in this. 

The Graham Norton Show / YouTube

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