Late Late Show: Patrick Kielty impresses as he takes the helm

Late Late Show: Patrick Kielty Impresses As He Takes The Helm
Kielty took over the presenting role following Ryan Tubridy's departure. Photo: PA Images
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Hannah Roberts, PA Entertainment Reporter

Light-hearted jibes at his new employer went down a treat with audiences tuning in to RTÉ One to watch Patrick Kielty's first outing as host of the Late Late Show.

The Co Down man, who succeeded Ryan Tubridy as the chat show's fourth permanent host, takes up the position amid ongoing controversy at the national broadcaster over spending and governance.


Refusing to let it be the elephant in the room, Kielty spared no time in tackling the topic, weaving references throughout his lighthearted opening monologue.

Joking that there had been "no expense spared" on the show's new set, he also introduced the audience to the new house band, "Grant Thornton and the flip-flops".

And his humorous acknowledgement paid off, with the reviews in the national papers and on social media all crediting the comedian with a job well done.

The Irish Independent writes: "Know for sometimes flying close to the wind with his quips, Kilety didn't disappoint by swiftly unleashing a barrage of one-liners addressing the scandal hit station's recent headlines."


The paper adds the 52-year-old, "won over the Twittersphere" with his mix of humour and humility, referencing tweets praising the host as he trended on X, formerly Twitter, on Friday night.

In its review of Kielty's first show, the Irish Examiner acknowledges "few can truly understand the level of pressure Patrick Kilety must have felt before walking out onto a revamped studio for his first Late Late Show as host — especially after the summer of scrutiny RTÉ experienced".

The paper continues: "Another fresh-faced host would have avoided the elephant in the room but to Kielty’s credit, he threw a shiny new saddle on it and proudly rode that elephant right into Studio 4."


Meanwhile, The Irish Times writes a "slicker, suave" Kielty has a big challenge ahead.

The paper points out that at a time when the number of people paying their licence fee has taken a nose-dive, the show and its reliable viewership figures "could be the difference between survival and ruination".

"That’s a heavy burden on the shoulders of Kielty. First time out, however, he appears up for the challenge. He certainly isn’t afraid to kick his employers where it hurts – and what an invigorating changing of the guard that represents," the paper adds.


Hector O hEochagain, Laurita Blewitt and Tommy Tiernan were the first guests of the night, and Kilety was later joined by comedy duo The 2 Johnnies.

Irish international James McClean (34) also paid a visit, opening up about his autism diagnosis and stating he is “proud” to be on the spectrum.

McClean spoke about his six-year-old daughter who has autism and said that his life had “completely changed for the better” since her birth.

He also mentioned that she was the reason he got tested himself and said: “I was hesitant for a while about going and getting tested and getting a diagnosis because obviously, the job I do, it would just be ammunition to give people.

“But I just thought, you know what, I’m doing this for my daughter. If it helps me get a better understanding of her.

“I went and done the test and it came back that I’m also on the spectrum and I’m proud of it.”

In his opening monologue for the show, Kielty joked about the crisis rocking RTÉ over the summer.

The Late Late Show
Host Patrick Kielty pictured with Hector O hEochagain, Laurita Blewitt and Tommy Tiernan on the 61st series return of The Late Late Show (Andres Poveda/RTÉ/PA)

The presenter made multiple close-to-the-bone references about the controversies.

Kielty started the show by saying: “Thank you so, so much folks. What a lovely welcome.”

He added: “By the way, in case you hadn’t noticed, folks, everything in here tonight is new.

“We’ve got a new opening. We’ve got a new logo, and we’ve got a brand-new house band for you folks, give it up for Grant Thornton And The Flip Flops…”

Grant Thornton is the auditor that investigated the misreported RTÉ payment scandal. One of the controversial payments uncovered were 200 pairs of flip-flops bought by the commercial department for a summer party for clients.

Kielty added: “We also have a shiny new set. What do we think of this? There we go. No expense spared. Or if you’re the host, no expenses spared.

The Late Late Show
Host Patrick Kielty pictured hugging Tommy Tiernan on the 61st series return of The Late Late Show (Andres Poveda/RTÉ/PA)

“Taxi? But we wanted to make a special effort for you tonight folks, because apparently lots of folks are tuning in this evening which is really very exciting.

“Based on the latest figures for TV licence payments. We’re expecting an audience of up to 27 people tuning in tonight.

“Just to put that into perspective, that’s almost double the amount of people who saw Toy Show The Musical.”

Kielty went on: “This is where the RTÉ executives in the green room realise they might have booked the wrong pony.”

RTÉ has been reeling since revelations earlier in the summer that it misreported the salary paid to former star presenter Tubridy between 2017 and 2022.

The furore around the payments to Tubridy became a wider crisis for the national broadcaster amid further disclosures about RTÉ’s internal financial, accounting and governance practices and its expenditure on corporate hospitality for advertising clients.

Teenage Cancer Trust concerts 2014 – London
Patrick Kielty performing on stage (Yui Mok/PA)

RTÉ’s spending through a so-called barter account has come in for intense scrutiny since it emerged that the broadcaster paid €150,000 to Tubridy through one such account, as part of an undisclosed commercial arrangement with a sponsor.

RTÉ had also faced criticism for using barter transactions to spend hundreds of thousands of euro entertaining commercial clients, including on a trip to the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.

Tubridy stood down as The Late Late Show host earlier this year, but was continuing to present his weekday show on RTÉ Radio One when the controversy over incorrectly disclosed payments erupted in the summer.

At that point, negotiations over a new radio contract for Tubridy were halted and he was taken off-air amid the crisis that engulfed the organisation.

Director general Kevin Bakhurst later re-entered negotiations with a view to securing Tubridy’s return to the radio airwaves on a new contract, but those talks broke down in August after Mr Bakhurst claimed the presenter was not taking sufficient responsibility for his role in the payments controversy.

Pushing the jokes to one side, Kielty also spoke about his grandfather and how he was the reason behind him watching The Late Late Show with his brothers when he was growing up.

He said: “I just wanted to say to you how much this means to me tonight…

“His (granddad’s) journey is the reason why myself and my brothers grew up watching this show on a Friday night and counted down with my mum and dad.

“I’m proud to say that the Kieltys are still watching this show from County Down tonight. Hello mum.

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“And some Kieltys are also tuning in here tonight in Dublin… And there’s two other Kielty brothers also watching tonight in London, way past their bedtime, who will now be able to say that their dad was lucky enough to host this show.

“Like so many of you watching this show tonight, my journey has had the odd bump in the road but it’s funny how things work out.

“There’s no way I ever thought that I’d be standing here this evening but I am so so happy I am. Thanks for joining me and it truly is an honour of a lifetime to be able to say welcome to The Late Late Show.”

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