RTE has announced that Mickey Joe Fraher will be the host of The Late Late Show, replacing Ryan Tubridy. A hastily arranged press conference was cobbled together this morning from an illegal shebeen near Dungarvan at which Director General Dee Forbes and RTE sub-bosses announced the news to national and local reporters. It is the first time in the history of Irish broadcasting that such a problematic venue has been chosen.
“RTE is delighted that Mickey Joe has been chosen to be our host for the coming season. All the resources available to us have been used to headhunt this fine man, and we are very happy with our decision. Initially, Mickey Joe’s contract will be on a one year rolling basis, and if everything follows our expectations, it will be replaced after five years with a contract of indefinite duration. It is the way we do things. As I have said, Mickey Joe is happy to roll with the punches and is very eager to get stuck in”, explained the DG.
Handing over to the new producer of the show, Tommy John Fraher, she grinned amusingly.
Tommy John began by personally putting some poiteen on all the makeshift tables.
“Mickey Joe is unable to be here this morning. Y’see, fine gentlemen and assembled ladies, he’s been up since the crack o dawn, getting the few sheep off the mountain, and he’s a bit shook after his efforts.”
Offering another wee drop to a few guzzlers in the far corner, Tommy continued:
“As part of our negotiated contract, Mickey Joe will be sure to make an appearance very soon now. And, just to let ye boys and assembled ladies get yer few words in order, he wants me to say that he’s of a mind to get some decent show plans out of his head before Easter. Hit the ground running, so to speak. Is anyone short of a drop?”
Answering questions from the men first, Tommy John stated clearly that terms and conditions are bunged on to the contract. “To be sure, to be sure, Mickey Joe will clearly clarify all yer questions very soon now. Very soon now, in fact, any day now. He’s a wee bit shook from gathering the few sheep. I told him not to be having any drop last night, because, well, that mountain must be respected.”
Turning to the assembled ladies, he announced to their utter delight that Mickey Joe would invite them, and them only, to a news conference to be held above in the kitchen next Monday at 3pm.
“He’ll be after a wee nap, so he will, so he’ll be fresh to take on anything ye throw at him. Can I get any o ye fine ladies a rock shandy?”, and lest any offence be caused, he remembered just in time to offer the Director General the very same. “We’ve no shortage of the shandy here”, he added.
PART 2: Monday, in the kitchen, 3pm sharp. Tommy John is the MC. He wants to say only a few words, knowing well that it’s Mickey Joe’s show.
“Assembled ladies, and my very dear nephew, Mickey Joe… Jaysus, would someone get that mirror off the wall to block the little winda. Them cameramen and other fellas outside are tryin to film us…”
“In a wee twist to the tale, I just finished negotiating a change to our agenda here now. Instead of taking questions and compliments from ye all, Claire over there will interview himself. It’s an exclusive like. But before that, I just want to be sure everyone’s right comfortable. ‘Tis a wee small kitchen, and ye’re packed in like sardines in a hayshed. The crowd of ye that arrived a bit late from Dubelin have yer arses backed up to the fire, so my apologies for that. Nothin to be done, and ye must just put up. So now, without further blatherin from me, I hand the mike over to Claire.”
Mickey Joe straightened himself up, and finished off the remains of the strong tea, and licked his lips in an anticlockwise motion. Two of the women passed out.
Mickey Joe Fraher, you are the host of The Late Late Show. Have you dreamed of this opportunity all your adult life? Did it come as bolt out of the blue?
Now Claire, my thanks to you for coming all the way up here to speak with me on behalf of all these fine assembled ladies. That boreen isn’t easy to negotiate, and I’ve arrangements in place for ye all to be given a few boot cloths to wipe off the cowshite when ye get back down to the road. Now, your question… Yes, I was surprised to be right honest. I knew that I was in with a shout when the ninety-four interested parties was whittled down to seven, and I had my homework done. I was interviewed three times, so I got a good neighbour to look after the mountainy sheep. They’re wicked work, ya know.
Will you be making changes Paddy?
Oh, right God sure and I will, Claire. Are you a bit squashed in there? If I was to do this all over agin, I’d have booked the pub below. You’d have a gallon of space to be puttin one knee over t’other. Yes, there’ll be a load o changes. Shur, I stopped watchin the show years ago. Couldn’t be putting up with bein put off my Friday night Bovril, so I couldn’t.
What are we talking about, Mickey Joe? Big changes, you say? Our listeners will want the details.
Well, for starters, I’ll not be doing the Toy Show. I stood right firm to me principles, I did, an I’m right proud of standing me ground. Shur, if the neighbours see me in them stupid oul jumpers, exciting the children of Ireland, there’d be consternation and confusion.
So, no Toy Show?
I’m not saying that now Claire, and I wouldn’t want any of the rest of ye writing it without clear clarification. All I can say is that it’s in my contract that I can pick someone to do it. I’ve a cousin over in the Nire and someone else too that might give it a right good shot. Negotiations are a biteen slow but ongoing.
So, can you tell me of other changes to a successful format?
Successful, me arse, Claire. I apologise. That was uncalled for. Yes, there will be loads of changes. First and foremostly, Renault will be dropped as main sponsors. Y’see, I’m with the side of people that wants Ireland to become environmentally aware, like. We’ll be promoting bicycles and cutting down on our carbonprint footing. Renault are out the back door. Negotiations are taking place in Colligan as we speak with interested parties, and I’ll go along with what me brother Nioclás comes up with.
Will there be something for everyone in the audience?
I know about all that mullarkey. The clear clarification is no. That is out too.
What will be your show style? Informal, as Ryan perfected? Soft questioning, perhaps? What can Ireland expect?
That’s a lot of questions fired at me all at the one time. First and importantly, it’s not just Ireland. It’s an international audience. I’ve a few cousins in Perth and some in the mid-west near Nebraska and the likes. They’re on the case already to get the networks on board. I said to them in passing there’d be a few shillings in it for them. Sort of productivity bonus, the likes that us mountainy sheep farmers never get a chance to grab.
As to my style, shur I don’t know myself, to be dead honest, and dead honest is what I’ll always be. I’ll be taking a few lessons from my niece, Jenny Kate Fraher over the mountain to the west. She’ll put things right, so you can check with her in your own good time.
Finally, Paddy Joe, host of the Late Late Show, have you a message for your audience? Old viewers will want some reassurance, and potential viewers will need to be wooed in.
Claire Byrne, you kept the best till last, and if you did, so did I. I’ll let the show speak for itself all in good time, but I’ll give you this snippet now. I’ll be doin my damndest to be rid of old shower that laugh only when they’re told to, an they’re never happy until they get free stuff. I’ll build my own bloody audience of sheep farmers and the likes. Wives and partners will enjoy the show too. There’ll be none of that oul codacting. I’ll sway the entire country, I will, just like I put my best foot forward at them interviews. The times they are a changin.
Just one last one-liner, Mickey Joe? Would you be partial to a radio show, do you think?
D’ya mean my own show or guesting on yours? Shur, I hadn’t thought of that at all at all. I can’t be thinkin of everythin at the one time. I’ve sheep to mind and shelter and feed.
Tommy John is in quick as a flash, grabs the mike and announces tea and brown bread for everyone. Mickey Joe is first to the table and he’s just as quick to get stuck in.