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'Loose ... not too polished': What we know about Patrick Kielty's revamped Late Late Show

The comedian makes his debut tonight – here’s what he told reporters ahead of the new season.

PATRICK KIELTY HAD a tricky balance to strike at this week’s launch press conference for the Late Late – to give enough of a taste of what to expect so that reporters felt they had something to write about, while at the same time not really giving anything away at all. 

‘Wait and see’ was the three-word description he offered, when asked to sum up the revamped show in as few words as possible. 

He seemed more than aware that - as far as the nation’s press were concerned – that was pretty thin gruel. 

‘Loose’ probably would have sufficed as a description.

The word cropped up again and again in the comedian’s answers, as he was asked to spill the beans on the feel and tone of the show, along with the identities of any big-name guests  (unsurprisingly, none were forthcoming). 

After 20 minutes of questions at Montrose, and a very brief one-on-one chat – here’s what we learned about what to expect from Kielty’s inaugural show. 

k2 Daragh Brophy / Daragh Brophy / /

Don’t expect a Jimmy Fallon-style monologue 

He won’t be kicking things off with a tight ten minutes on politics, the weather, the migratory patterns of Irish barn owls – or anything else for that matter. 

“I don’t think there’s going to be any massive monologues,” he told reporters. 

“Obviously you want to come out and say hello – there’ll be a wee bit of that.

“I think that the Late Late has always been a talk show and talk is always going to be at the heart of it.”

He said he’d be aiming to emulate Gay Byrne’s approach to the show.

“I think the brilliant thing that he used to do was he talked to the audience as much as, you know, down the camera.

“It was like coming into the parlour and I think that, for me, is what this show is.

“The main lesson that I have learnt over the years from the show is you treat everybody the same, you know, everybody is the same on this show.

That’s what it does best and that’s why it’s stood the test of time.

The Late Late Show / YouTube

Producers aren’t too worried about the actors’ strike 

There’s been various reports in the UK over the summer of ‘headaches’ being faced by producers of weekend TV chat shows as a result of the ongoing actors’ strike in the US.

Big name US stars have pulled out of promotion for some projects until the dispute is resolved. While there are different rules governing what activity actors on this side of the Atlantic can take part in, many are staying out of the limelight as a show of solidarity with their American colleagues. 

It’s expected there’ll be fewer major Hollywood stars gracing Graham Norton’s studio this autumn, while ITV’s Jonathan Ross Show has been put on hold until the new year. 

Asked if the issue would impact the Late Late, the host responded: 

“For us, I think it’s very different. I think that the Late Late Show covers entertainment, it also covers sport. It also covers lifestyle and lots of different things.

“So, you know, I can see how that would have affected a show like Graham’s a lot more.

“For us – you know, we’re really chuffed with who we have for Friday and to be honest it hasn’t really affected us, which is pretty good news.” 

editorial-use-only-paul-rudd-michael-douglas-dame-judi-dench-hugh-jackman-michael-b-jordan-eugene-levy-pink-and-host-graham-norton-during-the-filming-for-the-graham-norton-show-at-bbc-studiowork Chat show couches may be a little less star-studded this autumn. Alamy Stock Photo Alamy Stock Photo

It won’t be ‘too polished’

The team had a live run-through with a studio audience on Tuesday night. 

“We learned a lot – that’s what it’s for,” Kielty said. 

“What was nice was just getting out onto the set and sortof seeing how stuff is going to feel.

“It was loose and everybody seemed to come away feeling that it was fun – and I think if we can replicate a bit of that on Friday we’ll be doing well.” 

Asked to describe the tone of a Kielty-fronted show, he said that given his standup background he was all for the idea of “not trying to make the thing be too polished”.

“I think there’ll be, you know, ebbs and flows and hopefully something in there for everybody.”

Asked – to laughter – if he’d care to guess how people might respond to his debut if asked to communicate only in emojis, he offered: 

“It’s going to be a couple of emojis that I’m going to have out the back before I head on.”

After a little more thought, he added: 


There will be a Toy Show – but any further details are being kept under wraps 

Kielty was asked several times for details on the Toy Show; who might be on it, whether a theme had been decided.

The presenter brushed off questions, joking that there was more chance of him being trusted with a set of nuclear codes than with any big secrets about the seasonal production. 

“The amazing thing about the Toy Show is that it’s a show that isn’t done anywhere else in the world – it couldn’t work anywhere else.

“I remember an American TV executive saying to me, ‘Oh my God, there’s a thing called the Toy Show – should we be doing that?’ And, no – no one can make it really. It’s uniquely Irish.

“People are obsessed with it because the ownership that people here have on that show – it’s unlike any other thing that happens on this island.”

lATE LATE TOY SHOW 137 Sam Boal Sam Boal

He won’t be afraid to tackle politicians 

Speaking to The Journal after the press conference, Kielty said the show would continue to host big political figures. 

By the sounds of it, however, there won’t be any major names from the world of politics visiting on the opening night. 

“I don’t know about the coming weeks. I think definitely over the run. I think that one of the things about the Late Late Show is that it sort of reflects Irish life, it reflects our society.

“One of the attractions for me coming to the show was, you know – we’re living in a time of change in politics, things are changing on this island.”

The Late Late show, he added, had “a ringside seat to some of those important discussions … and I think that, you know, fingers crossed, we can keep doing that”.

Asked whether, with an election looming, he’d be happy grilling politicians about policy detail, he said:  

“I think that until you see who’s coming on and until you see what week they’re coming on – I think that really determines how you’re going to talk to them or what you’re going to talk to them about.

“As I was saying earlier on, you know, what I’d like to do with the show is to keep it a tiny bit looser – so we can go with the flow and react to stuff like that and questions will probably change depending on all of that.”

the-late-late-show-patrick-kielty Andres Poveda Andres Poveda

Ryan Tubridy says good luck 

Kielty confirmed, before the press conference wrapped, that his predecessor had sent him a good luck message in recent days – but wouldn’t be drawn on what the message said beyond that two-word phrase. 

The new host said in previous media appearances that he hadn’t sought advice from either Tubridy or Pat Kenny since taking the job.

It was announced earlier this summer that episodes of the show would now end at around 11pm rather than the usual 11.30pm finish.

And, after some speculation that the famous Late Late Owl had been ditched from branding, it was also confirmed in recent weeks that the bird would in fact feature – at least in the credits, if not as an actual guest.

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