The Late Late Toy Show
Joey Walsh was chosen to be the young person to grill Ryan Tubridy on all things festive for this week’s cover story. Michael Doherty looked on
When it comes to famous TV interviews, a number of showdowns spring to mind. There’s the groundbreaking interview Oprah Winfrey did with Michael Jackson at his Neverland ranch in 1993, watched by a worldwide audience of 90 million. There’s that landmark moment during Russell Harty’s 1980 BBC interview with Grace Jones, when the Jamaican icon decided to get physical with her host; and there’s the infamous Frost/Nixon debate of 1977, when the English host interrogated the disgraced former US president about his actions and Nixon famously replied, “Well, when the president does it, that means that it is not illegal.” However, all of these chatshow moments will be overshadowed by ‘ The Toy Show Showdown’ or what history may eventually choose to remember as simply: Joey/Tubs.
In the red corner, wearing a natty Christmas jumper depicting five green elves, is seasoned interviewer Ryan Tubridy. About to undertake his tenth Late Late Toy Show, the Dubliner has more than 30 years of broadcasting under his belt, starting as a 12-year-old book reviewer for 2fm’s Poparama. He has a keen interest in all things
This is weird, I’m a guest on my own show?
Roald Dahl, a passion for US politics and he numbers Paul McCartney and JFK among his heroes. For relaxation, the broadcaster likes to head out west. Ryan’s entourage comprises his stalwarts on the Late Late Show team who have him honed, primed and fully prepared for the big day. It’s a tough gig, but the fact that he has sung and danced live on TV (while dressed as a red lobster) means he will never have to prove his courage again.
In the blue corner, wearing an equally natty Christmas jumper with just one elf, is Joey Walsh, a native of Lusk village in north Co Dublin. Picked as winner of our ‘Talk To Tubs’ competition from a Santa sack-load of applications, Joey has dealt with a tough year, when he wasn’t feeling too well, with dignity. An avid reader, he also shares a sense of humour and a good knowledge of history with his interviewee. Joey has a keen interest in all things Lego, a passion for soccer and he numbers Lionel Messi and David O’Doherty among his heroes. For relaxation, Joey likes to take the controls of his Playstation 4. His entourage comprises his biggest supporters: his Mam Suzanne, Dad Brian and younger brother, Cillian (8) who have him fully prepared for his big day. It’s a tough gig, but the fact that he has smiled his way through a di cult year means he will never have to prove his courage again.
Entering the Late Late Show studio, Joey takes his place in the interrogator’s leather chair, while Ryan settles into the unfamiliar surroundings of the interviewee’s couch (“ is is weird,” he declares, “I’m a guest on my own show?”) As an opening gambit, Joey presents Ryan with a tub of his favourite jelly beans and asks him to autograph a copy of his new children’s book. e disarmament is complete when he o ers the Late Late Show host a Lego model of himself. “You’ve even got the side parting right!” exclaims Ryan, before it’s time for the o . Ding ding; seconds out; shake hands and come out chatting.
Joey: If you were a kid right now, what would you love for Christmas?
I’d love two weeks’ o Fortnite. I’m not a computer games guy, so it would be all about board games for me. I’m very old-fashioned.
You’ve had a lot of guests on the Toy Show over the years; who was your favourite surprise celebrity guest?
ere are guests like David Walliams, who I liked because he writes books; Ed Sheeran, because he was so nice to Amy when they were playing together. But my favourite was the man from the army who burst out of the box to his son and his daughter. You think you see your Mum and Dad and they annoy you and give out to you, but imagine if your Dad was away a lot, in the army, and you didn’t see him and then suddenly he emerged from a big box on the Toy Show! It was beautiful and brought it all back to what is important.
Probably my toughest and most controversial question: what will you be dressing up as on the Toy Show this year?
All I will say to you is that there are big secrets in life and this is one of them. It’s like e Da Vinci Code with tinsel. We will never know what lies beyond the wall of Toy Show 2018. Obviously, I know what it is but all I can tell you, Joey, is that [adopting Trump voice] ‘It’s gonna be yuge.’
Will it be something to do with your book?
You think I’m going to dress up as a multicoloured sheep? Not baaaad! Yep, the book is full of that kind of stu .
Apart from your own book, what book would you like Santa to bring to me and the children of Ireland this year?
Any book that adds to a young person’s curiosity would be a win. If I said something like an encyclopaedia or an atlas, you might think that sounds boring; but if you think of being bored between Christmas and New Year because you aren’t allowed to have the Playstation any more, and you can happily ick through an atlas or a book of curiosity, you’ll ll your brain with interesting facts.
Another controversial question: do you like Brussels sprouts?
e truth is, I quite like a few of them. I have them once a year and that’s on Christmas Day. ey’re like fun-size cabbages… that haven’t been cooked properly… and have just completed a marathon… in Abu Dhabi. For some weird reason, they’re part of the Christmas story.
I’ve heard you like history. If you could pick three historical gures to share your Christmas table, who would they be?
What a great question! I get asked a lot of questions from a lot of journalists and I think that’s probably my favourite one. ree gures from history? One: Julius Caesar. He did so many interesting things and lived in such interesting times. Two: my old hero, John F. Kennedy. It’s very obvious, but I’d be curious to see if he’s really boring or really interesting in real life. ree: Frank Sinatra. A er a long dinner talking about conquering France with Caesar and bringing the world to the brink of disaster but also delivering some of the greatest speeches of all time with JFK; I’d want a few beers with Sinatra and then I’d knock a few tunes out of him. I’m excited about that party!
Final question: do you have a favourite Christmas cracker joke?
I think the words ‘Christmas cracker’ and ‘joke’ shouldn’t go together. ey are Christmas cracker statements that some people nd funny. Do you have a good one for me?
I’m not sure if it’s a joke or a statement, but what do snowmen have for breakfast?
I don’t know, tell me.
Ryan: Of course they do. I’m going to take that!
Joey and Ryan prepare to go head to head!
Ryan with the Walsh family: Suzanne, Brian, Cillian & Joey
Ryan and the spirits of Toy Shows past