Saturday 21 September 2019

'The older I get the more I realise how ridiculous life is' - Ryan Tubridy to duet with Daniel O'Donnell on Late Late Country Special

01/05/2019 Ryan Tubridy pictured with Gertie O’Leary from Donadea Co Kildare as he performed with country star Cliona Hagan outside the Gaiety Theatre ahead of the RTÉ Late Late country Special this Friday. Picture Andres Poveda
01/05/2019 Ryan Tubridy pictured with Gertie O’Leary from Donadea Co Kildare as he performed with country star Cliona Hagan outside the Gaiety Theatre ahead of the RTÉ Late Late country Special this Friday. Picture Andres Poveda
Aoife Kelly

Aoife Kelly

Ryan Tubridy is gearing up to duet with Daniel O'Donnell on Friday's Late Late Show Country Special.

Despite having previously flexed his vocals on the Toy Show, Tubridy said he finds the prospect of tackling 'King of the Road' with the undisputed Irish King of Country 'terrifying'.

"I don't sing, other than in a dark corner of a karaoke bar and even then I'd have to be with people I love," he tells Independent.ie.

Among those people he loves are O'Donnell and fellow RTE presenter and Tubridy doppelganger, Dermot Bannon, as he previously sang with them both in a karaoke session.

01/05/2019 Ryan Tubridy pictured performing with country star Cliona Hagan outside the Gaiety Theatre ahead of the RTÉ Late Late country Special this Friday. Picture Andres Poveda
01/05/2019 Ryan Tubridy pictured performing with country star Cliona Hagan outside the Gaiety Theatre ahead of the RTÉ Late Late country Special this Friday. Picture Andres Poveda

However, singing on TV in front of a live studio audience is a different kettle of fish and could, he jokes, prove 'catastrophic'.

"The only thing that might take me over the line is the fact it doesn't require any singing.  It's kind of one of those 'dad' songs where they kind of sing and talk at the same time," he adds.

01/05/2019 Ryan Tubridy pictured with Marian Jennings as he performed with country star Cliona Hagan outside the Gaiety Theatre ahead of the RTÉ Late Late country Special this Friday. Picture Andres Poveda
01/05/2019 Ryan Tubridy pictured with Marian Jennings as he performed with country star Cliona Hagan outside the Gaiety Theatre ahead of the RTÉ Late Late country Special this Friday. Picture Andres Poveda

"When the Toy Show started there as no singing. I didn't get involved in the opening number.  The older I get the more I realise how ridiculous life is and people are and the world is and why not?

"Before I was kind of going, 'Why? Because people will say something'.  You'd be very self-conscious.  Now I couldn't give a flying flute.  And if they want to drag me up and sing a song or whistle Dixie, I think I should be game for it because life's too short."

01/05/2019 Ryan Tubridy and country star Cliona Hagan pictured with members of the public as they performed outside the Gaiety Theatre ahead of the RTÉ Late Late country Special this Friday. Picture Andres Poveda
01/05/2019 Ryan Tubridy and country star Cliona Hagan pictured with members of the public as they performed outside the Gaiety Theatre ahead of the RTÉ Late Late country Special this Friday. Picture Andres Poveda

Tubridy, decked out in requisite Stetson, took to the street outside Dublin's Gaiety Theatre on Wednesday to accompany country star Cliona O'Hagan on tambourine and jive with random ladies, much to the delight of the assembled crowd. 

This year the 'party hats' are back on, he says, after last year's fittingly sombre tribute to the late Big Tom who had died the previous week.

01/05/2019 Ryan Tubridy performed with country star Cliona Hagan pictured with members of the public outside the Gaiety Theatre ahead of the RTÉ Late Late country Special this Friday. Picture Andres Poveda
01/05/2019 Ryan Tubridy performed with country star Cliona Hagan pictured with members of the public outside the Gaiety Theatre ahead of the RTÉ Late Late country Special this Friday. Picture Andres Poveda

"It starts from the get go," he says of the opener.  "It's a big number, it's an 80s tune that includes 100 dancers.  We're going Toy Show levels."

The Country specials are second only to the Toy Show in terms of ratings for RTE's flagship chat show each season, kicking off with a phenomenal 740,000 viewers in 2015 and pulling an impressive 560,000 and a 52 per cent audience share last year.

01/05/2019 Ryan Tubridy and country star Cliona Hagan pictured with members of the public as they performed outside the Gaiety Theatre ahead of the RTÉ Late Late country Special this Friday. Picture Andres Poveda
01/05/2019 Ryan Tubridy and country star Cliona Hagan pictured with members of the public as they performed outside the Gaiety Theatre ahead of the RTÉ Late Late country Special this Friday. Picture Andres Poveda

Friday's show features a family theme with performances from Robert Mazelle and his father, Susan McCann and her granddaughter, Dancing with the Stars star Cliona Hagan who will perform with her sister Nicole, and Jimmy Buckley who will perform with his daughter Claudia.

Former DWTS personalities Anna Geary and Fred Cooke will also be in studio to play Wagon Wheel of Fortune.

"It's fun," adds Tubridy.  "The world is pretty grey and grim so here's your splash of colour."

Speaking about his decade at the helm of the Late Late, Tubridy said he has "stopped worrying myself into a frenzy" about the show.

"I'm just having a load of fun," he adds. "I met a woman in the shop the other day, she was about my age, and she said, "I listen to your radio show in the morning'.  I said, 'good'.  [She said] 'That first ten minutes...'.  'Great' I said.  'You're coming on as a broadcaster,' she said.  'Ah, thank you,' I said.  A nonpliment - I'll take it!"

The Late Late Show Country Special airs on RTE One on Friday May 3 at 9.35pm.

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