PATRICK Kielty has revealed he was treated to his Dad’s drink – a brandy and lemonade – after his first night hosting the Late Late Show.
Kielty’s opening monologue, in which he poked fun at the payments crisis which engulfed the national broadcaster over the summer, brought huge laughter from the audience before he sat down for chats with guests including Tommy Tiernan, Hector Ó hEochagáin, Mary McAleese, James McClean and the Two Johnnies.
But he has now said he was treated to a nostalgic drink from show bosses following his opening night.
Speaking at a conference by the Irish Tourism Industry Confederation in Athlone today – before jetting to London for the premiere of his new movie, Ballywalter – he said: “After the show I don’t know how they found this information out. My brother John was down and he said he didn’t tell them.
“My Dad was a pioneer up until he was 40 years of age and then he decided to make up for lost time.
“A brandy and lemonade became his poison. So after the show they brought me out a brandy and lemonade.
“I remember when I got married me and my brothers had a brandy and lemonade, which I would not recommend for either the taste or how it made you feel. He (father) was at the forefront of my mind, my mum was at the forefront in my mind as well.”
And speaking about a key ring in the design of a shamrock with the hand-writing of his two sons Milo and James on it which was presented to him before the show by his wife, TV presenter Cat Deeley, he added: “And my two young fellows as well, I thought it would be nice for them to say their aul fella hosted the Late Late Show.
“She got me a little key-ring in the boy’s handwriting. Not exactly the type of thing you want to see 45 minutes before you go out and host the biggest show of your life. After that make-up certainly earned their money.”
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Kielty’s father John ‘Jack’ Kielty was murdered by the Ulster Freedom Fighters in 1988 during the Troubles.
The comedian has often spoken about the effect the killing had on his family and his outlook on the situation in Northern Ireland regularly calling for a need for “understanding and listening” to both sides of the political debate.
But he also revealed that when he was young it was his father’s insistence that the family watched the Late Late Show every Friday night.
He said: “I genuinely walked out there the other night and there was so many people in my corner just hoping that I did ok.
“The fact I was able to get through that wee bit at the start and not bump into the furniture, that was a big relief.
“One of my Dad’s greatest quotes was that he had an aerial man in Co Down. Any aul eejit could get the BBC in Belfast but we were so tight in against the Mournes to get the aerial high enough to get it over to get the signal for the Late Late Show.
“There was a splitter box on the TV and I was the human remote control every Friday night. We were flicking a switch to watch a television show but we didn’t realise it at the time but we were flicking a switch into a world that was normal.
‘HONOUR OF A LIFETIME’
“So many people up there were going through lives that were just not normal and that showed a big escape for us. It was very, very important for us.
“That was one of the reasons why it was so hard to hold it together and walk out there on Friday night and say it’s an honour of a lifetime because I really meant that.”
Kielty said one of the most important things for him about Friday night was that he woke up the next morning and was able to say he enjoyed it.
He added: “I just wanted to get the nerves out of the way and have fun with it. The audience decides whether they want to watch the show, that’s the nature of it. You have to be yourself.”
Asked how if he’ll find it challenging big name Hollywood stars if and when they appear on the show once the writer’s strike in the US has ended, he said: “I think what’s great about the Late Late Show is that it has always had a mixture of big name guests and ordinary people on the show with different stories to tell.
“A show like Graham Norton’s relies on those big name guests and I think they might find it more challenging than a show like this.”
Despite about to become a fixture in Irish living rooms every week, Kielty has ruled out moving back to Ireland permanently after moving from Los Angeles, where his children were born, to London.
He said: “The kids were born in the United States and we moved them to London, admittedly to a different life than what was planned. But the idea of uprooting them again is not on the agenda.”