Entertainment Television

Sunday 21 September 2014

'Republic of Telly' star Bernard O'Shea talks RTE, fatherhood, models, and Twitter trolls

Melanie Finn

Published 17/06/2014 | 14:20

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Jennifer Maguire and Bernard O’Shea co-host 2fm’s new breakfast show.
Jennifer Maguire and Bernard O’Shea co-host 2fm’s new breakfast show.

He gets to work with top models Georgia Salpa and Nadia Forde on Republic of Telly, but while Bernard O'Shea's mates may get jealous, his wife Lorna never does.

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Asked what she makes of him working with lads' mag favourite Georgia, he says that she knows it's "just a laugh", adding: "She gets her own back when we go on holidays in Italy because she's looking at Italian men all the time in their little shorts."

Bernard is best known to TV viewers as Jennifer Maguire's excitable side-kick on the popular sketch show. And their comedy chemistry was deemed strong enough to partner them on the airwaves too, where they're joined by Keith Walsh on their fledgling 2FM breakfast show.

But there's more to the Laois comedian (34) than meets the eye, and he has also revealed how he has been targeted by Twitter trolls since landing the RTE gig.

Bernard O'Shea at the International comedy club  Me Myself I  ring     Pix Ronan Lang/Feature File
Bernard O'Shea at the International comedy club Me Myself I ring Pix Ronan Lang/Feature File

A lot of comedians make a point of showing their "serious side" when talking to journalists, making for incredibly dull interviews.

So I was relieved to find Bernard in ebullient form for our chat and he freely admits that he hates being idle and could never do a 9 to 5 job ash is mind is always buzzing.

He's so full of beans, it's hard to believe that Lorna gave birth to the couple's first baby Olivia only three months ago.

"It's fair to say my wife does 90pc of the work so I come home in the evenings and we have family time and tummy time.  I'm not great at the nappies.

"I came home last night and she did a whopper, I was going to ring the bomb squad. They say that when it's your own, it's alright, you don't mind as much, it's all brilliant," he said.

"She's my muse at the moment.  I got about an hour's worth of new material just on before and after you have a baby because your life just changes forever.  It's been manna from heaven.

"But I can't believe how competitive other parents can be.  It's like, 'what's your baby doing now?  Our Timmy's doing such and such.' And I'm like, 'Yeah, well I turned around the other day and she was reading The Herald.'"

He admits he missed his baby lots when he embarked on a recent comedy tour, as he returned to his first love, stand-up.

He had done the circuit for 11 long years before getting his 'big break' on Republic of Telly three years ago.

And he's refreshingly honest when it comes to the fickle nature of the career he's chosen.

Bernard and his co-hosts came in for some savage reviews from radio critics when they first took over Hector O'hEoghaghain's morning slot.  But he's laid back about what might lie ahead.

"The big thing for us is that we went into a 2fm that was entirely new.  Every single show had changed so our first day in work, there were brand new people there as well.

"There was a massive sea change and it was a brand new start for a lot of people.

"I've worked for commercial organisations and I've worked for myself and nothing is forever. My point is, I've been hired and fired several times and you just get used to it being part and parcel of the business."

He's clearly still pinching himself with his good fortune that has seen him work on a hit RTE show and co-present a radio programme while also doing the comedy circuit.

"I get up for the show around 5am every morning but the funny thing is I actually don't mind because - and it sounds so soppy - I enjoy going in and doing the show.

"I have had jobs before where I worked on building sites, I worked in factories and I didn't like getting up at that hour to go to those jobs but this is going in to work on 2fm.

"We're really enjoying it and we're getting into our stride now. I'm always joking to Keith and Jen that they're my family now."

He has also experienced the downside of his career doing so well, in the form of Twitter trolls - but he thanks his comedy background for giving him skin like a rhino.

"People are going to hate you and it's very important that people hate you because they're your most loyal listeners," he quipped.

"At this stage, it's water off a duck's back. I have the benefit that I still do my stand-up and go in front of peopel and it's from years of that.  To be honest I'm a bit impervious to it now and I've got everything at this stage.

"If you're on Twitter and you have a profile, you're going to get it.  I got commends like, 'Your're shi*e' and I'm like 'Fair enough.'

"People say things behind a keyboard they would never say to your face.  I don't care.  I just go in and enjoy the show."

The fact that he "doesn't drink much" must help keep him clear-minded but he says that when he does indulge, a pizza is his ideal cure.

He'll also be attending the forthcoming wedding of his RTE cohort Jennifer Maguire but he admits that he and Keith had to fight it out over which of them got to go as "she wasn't having both of us".

Bernard denied she has gradually become a Bridezilla as her big day approaches.

"She's a very chilled girl, she has taken the slagging very well," he said.

Herald

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