IRELAND IS home to the longest-running televised chat show in the world.
The Late Late Show began 57 years ago hosted by Irish national treasure Gay Byrne, and has since gone through 57 seasons, five hosts, countless interviews and live music, and almost 50 Christmas Toy Show Specials.
Generations of Irish people have been raised on the chat show—and while as children most of us found it boring (Apart from the annual Late Late Toy Show, of course) almost every adult watches it if they’re home on a Friday night (Usually to the tone of “Ah there’s nothing else on anyway”).
The Late Late Show has had its fair share of controversy and stand-out moments—one that immediately comes to mind is Pat Kenny ripping up coveted Toy Show tickets live on air after the woman who won them said she had no interest in going.
Or the time when Pat Kenny (the man seems to draw these people) was accosted live on air by an annoyed man who gatecrashed the show to call Kenny and his predecessor Gay Byrne “arseholes”. (Skip ahead to 3.20 to see this!)
The Late Late Show also brings with it every Irish child’s (and many adults) favourite day of the year—The Late Late Toy Show.
The show transforms the usually serious chat show into a wonderland of bright colours, pantomime-esque acts, excited children and an even more excited audience of adults in Christmas Jumpers.
It also turns some of the child guests into Irish celebrities for the rest of their lives—who could forget JohnJoe from the 2009 Toy Show?
The Late Late Show may not have the glamour or international pull of other late-night chat shows (The below comparison of the Late Late and the Graham Norton Show which were being aired at the same time on different channels may give you an idea of this) it’s absolutely a part of Irish culture.
Here’s to 57 years of the world’s longest-running chat show. Long may it continue.