Pat Kenny says Patrick Kielty was tipped to host Late Late 25 years ago
“It’s surprising they announced it before Ryan’s last show, that’s the only thing that surprises me to be honest with you”
Pat Kenny says he was “taken aback” at RTÉ’s announcement yesterday of Patrick Kielty being confirmed as the new presenter of The Late Late Show.
Ryan Tubridy (49) will host his last Late Late next Friday, with Kielty (52) taking over as the fourth presenter of the world’s longest running chat show from September.
“It’s surprising they announced it before Ryan’s last show, that’s the only thing that surprises me to be honest with you,” Pat (75) tells the Sunday World.
“Unless they have an arrangement where Ryan will kind of literally pass the baton on air. I’m not sure. Maybe the word was out and they had to announce it. But it just seems a bit odd they would not wait until he bowed out.”
He points out the announcement has “finally put an end to all the speculation and becomes irrelevant”.
“I wish him well, I hope he does very well. At least now there have been multiple hosts of The Late Late, so that kind of pressure is not there, I don’t think,” Pat says.
“When I took over from 37 years of Gay Byrne, it was ‘should it not be axed and finished with?’
“It was like a poison chalice handed to me to carry on the legacy if I could.
“Happily, I did it for 10 years and then it wasn’t such a big deal then there would be another host, and now having had Ryan and myself following in the footsteps of Gay it’s not such a big deal, its not a poison chalice in that sense to carry on.”
He adds that no one should be surprised that Kielty, who is more known for being a comedian, was in the running.
“I’m not surprised. He was mentioned in dispatches 25 years ago. I did 10, Ryan did 14, so at the time I was asked to take over his name was knocking around there along with Gerry Kelly’s.
“So they were obviously thinking in that time that he was a stand-up comedian which was mostly what he was famous for,” he explains.
“I can’t think of other things he was celebrated for at that time.
“So maybe they were thinking if they offered it to him they would go down the road of the American talk show, where they’d do a monologue for about 10 minutes at the beginning of the show, which is effectively a stand-up routine, whether they were thinking that in those days.
“But Paddy has done a lot more; presented television programmes. He has talked very openly about his own family tragedy, when his father was killed by loyalist paramilitaries and so on. There’s a lot to Paddy.”
Co Down man Kielty lives in London with his TV presenter wife Cat Deeley, and Kenny believes he can move between the English capital and Dublin.
“With everything online being available you can keep in touch with other parts of the world.
“Gay, don’t forget, commuted from Manchester in the early days of The Late Late Show. He was working for Granada during the week and then he’d fly home for the weekend,” he recollects.
“I believe he missed a show because of fog in Manchester Airport and Frank Hall or somebody like that had to step in at the last minute, so there is a precedent for someone not living in the jurisdiction and jetting in to present the show.”
Bookmakers Paddy Power announced a month ago two large bets had been placed on Kielty, forcing them to dramatically drop their odds.
“You’ll never get to the bottom of this,” notes Kenny.
“But if there was a leak, to put a big bet on in Paddy Power, that would be very strange indeed and whether Paddy Power will pay up.
“Don’t forget that Claire was the favourite, and she was so hot they stopped the betting and then of course with her announcement that fell away and the bookies opened up again.”
However, Paddy Power have confirmed they will pay up. Kielty was originally 66/1 to be the new host before the odds dramatically plunged to 2/1.
The maximum bet punters could place was €20 at 66/1 odds, meaning those who backed him at these odds will get a cool €1,340 pay out.
Miriam O’Callaghan was an original favourite to be the first female presenter of the show but later ruled herself out.
“I’m lucky enough to know him (Kielty) a little, he’s a lovely guy,” Miriam (63) tells us.
“He’s got big shoes to fill, but I know he will be absolutely brilliant. He’s intelligent, empathetic and funny and I think his appointment brings us all a bit closer together on this island.”
Ireland’s biggest comedian Brendan O’Carroll beams that he is “delighted” a fellow comic has got The Late Late job.
“I think it’s going to be a very different Late Late Show,” Brendan (67) tells the Sunday World.
“It kind of reminds me when Stephen Colbert took over from David Letterman – a completely different show, but still really entertaining and I think that’s going to be the case with Patrick.
“I’m a little disappointed that it’s not a woman. I would have liked to have seen a woman getting a crack at it.
“But at the same time it’s great for comedy that someone like Patrick has got the job.”
He said he himself would have never considered The Late Late Show as it would have interfered with his BBC shows and also his live tours.
Brendan describes Kielty as being “top class”.
“Nobody is going to get on there and pull the wool over his eyes, believe me,” he stresses.
“He has a journalistic bent to him which I think will stand to his favour, but as well as that he has the ability to not take himself too seriously and that’s important.”
He recalls working with him on Don’t Feed The Gondalas.
Asked if Kietly can juggle living in London and working in Dublin, he notes: “I don’t think a weekend is going to be enough.
“Doing The Late Late Show requires a week’s work. You’ve got to do your research, rehearsals and make sure you’re prepared for it.
“You’d have to be working on it from Monday to Friday, and then be off on Saturday and Sunday,” Brendan says.
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