The Ray D'Arcy show kicked off on RTE One on Saturday night and Ray's return to television after 14 years boasted a few interesting moments, from the awkwardness of Tulisa's "We're not going there" conversation staller to Tommy Tiernan's hilarious "soft Mickey" observations.
Despite talk of Ray offering something different to Brendan O'Connor's axed Saturday Night Show and the Late Late, the classic chat show format and content made RTE’s new offering a straight-forward hybrid of both those shows.
Following some introductory patter from D'Arcy, who rather endearingly admitted the new show was "a bit of pressure", the first guest arrived in the form of Donncha O'Callaghan, followed by viral star Sean O'Brien, former X Factor star Tulisa, and finally comedian Tommy Tiernan.
Here are the top 8 moments from D’Arcy’s big TV comeback:
Former Munster rugby star Donncha O'Callaghan was on sparkling form, joking that the diminutive Ray could play for Munster, "If you're willing to put your head between two asses and push, they'll have you."
Speaking about his newborn son Jake's sleeping habits, he said "His dad's sleeping. I look over in the morning and go 'He slept great.' [My wife] Jenny's like, 'No, he did not'."
Ray left his lofty position behind his elevated desk to join Sean O'Brien on the sofa for their interview. Images of Sean, who is obese, dancing in a club and then looking dejected when he realised he was being ridiculed by a group of people went viral earlier this year. Joining him on the sofa was a nice touch given Sean clearly found being interviewed slightly uncomfortable.
Some viewers questioned why former X Factor judge Tulisa bothered to appear on the show since she point blank refused to talk about recent newsworthy events in her life including her recent drugs trial. When Ray attempted to address the other thorny issue of her recent arrest on suspicion of drunk driving with, “You were in the news again recently”, she shot him down with her reply, “We’re not going to go there, and you know that.”
The 27 year old singer also refused to reveal which projects she has in the pipeline save to say they were “exciting”.
She was more forthcoming on the subject of her mentally ill mother who was recently diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder and she addressed her infamous sex tape, “a really terrible, dodgy blow job at 19 years old with an ex-boyfriend” although the entire interview was slightly stilted, although it wasn't for want of trying on D'Arcy's part.
“Should I tear up my cards?” asked Ray as comedian Tommy Tiernan arrived on set. He proceeded to rip them up as a simple “How are you?” prompted a yarn from Tiernan about the fact he has started running and frequenting the showering areas of gyms...
“I’ve started running and I wouldn’t go to gyms now but I would go to the showering areas just to see what the competition might be like and it’s kind of a very unpleasant experience,” he said.
“There’s an unwritten rule in men’s showering areas – you’re in the nude but you face the water, you face the faucet. Everyone has their own faucet and we’re all facing it and I turned and there was a young fella in his 20s whose starting off position was back to the water. Like the arrogance of that!
“It was like he was in a fountain. He was a fine man, whatever way you want to measure it, a fine man. And the muscles – even his eyes had muscles. And this is the strange thing about him, the generation gap, he was almost hairless apart from this thin strip of pubic hair going across like that – it was like his lad had an eyebrow!”
Tommy revealed he’s been suffering from erectile dysfunction, the “soft Mickey” phase of his life, a phase Ray pointed out he has not yet reached.
“It’s always 1 o’clock in your house – where I live it’s twenty past four on a good day,” said Tommy.
He criticised ads about erectile dysfunction which he said are designed to make men feel bad about it when they should in fact “embrace the soft Mickey”.
“A soft Mickey never done no harm to nobody,” he declared, “You’d want to be a bad bastard to do damage with a soft Mickey. It lays across your lap like an aul rope on a harbour wall.”
Tiernan was on fire with his observations on ageing, describing himself as looking like “an Aldi version of Roy Keane.”
“I’ve a belly like a bag of milk, I’m going bald, I’ve a big bald head on me like a crow’s nest on cement. Do you ever get out of the shower and look at yourself in the mirror and get back in the shower thinking to yourself I must have got off on the wrong stop. Women go through it as well. As women get older they spend longer and longer in the bathroom every morning, with the nightgown on the floor nad the door locked – nobody gets to see this.”
He described women packing themselves into various undergarments, “pushing shit where it doesn’t belong – she’s got a bellybutton around by her arsehole. That’s why women are so good at packing.”
Coming just minutes after Sean O’Brien’s interview, Tommy’s suggested ‘cure for obesity’ was particularly cringeworthy and will no doubt spark a few complaints.
“We can start a movement,” he ventured. “We need to bring excitement into obese people’s lives and this can be done by hunting them. If once a year all the obese people in your town were herded on to cattle trucks and driven into the hills and you could hunt them from May to September they’d be back in town by Halloween trim as pool cues.
The winner of the Nissan Qashquaii informed Ray he was "up a tree in Galway" prompting Tommy to pose the question, "What's a man doing up a tree this hour of the night?".
Here's what viewers were saying about the show on Twitter:
You wouldn't call it a man-crush, but it is difficult for men of a certain vintage not to feel just a tad envious of Ray D'Arcy. Let's forget the hefty salary and the cool broadcasting gigs for a moment, and just bear in mind that no 51-year-old has the right to look quite as trim, and youthful, and as well put together as the individual who strides into the RTÉ canteen for a date with the Irish Independent's Weekend ahead of his new TV show.