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

RTÉ Guide - - Contents - Photography: Beta Ba­j­gart

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.

Snow akes!

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

“Not baaaad!”

Ryan and the spir­its of Toy Shows past

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