By Fiona Lee
To outside nations, the Irish culture seems utterly bonkers, and I have seen this to be true.
Despite spending a wintery semester in Canada last year, I had no intention of missing out on the Late Late Toy Show. I told my newfound friends from a variety of countries across Europe about it and convinced them that it would be a fun afternoon of Christmas jumpers, drinking cans, moving performances and hilarious children messing about with their new toys.
Unsurprisingly, they did not understand it. At all. Which is entirely fair since, when you think about it, how can one explain it and do the show justice? But, thankfully, they took my word for it, I would imagine mostly to humour my childlike excitement. Thank heavens for RTÉ Player!
It was an amazing experience watching someone watch the Late Late Toy Show for the very first time; especially as adults. There was hysterical laughter, tears shed, and sheer confusion but adoration towards Ryan Tubridy’s manic antics on screen. There was no moment where they began to understand the concept, and their bewilderment added to my enjoyment of the experience immensely.
It made me appreciate the little quirks that our country has ingrained in its culture. It made me reflect on what made the Late Late Toy Show so special and why people of all ages look forward to it every year. It started off with me pulling out the Smyth’s catalogue all those years ago to make my Santa list, and I have been hooked ever since.
Here are all the reasons everyone loves the Late Late Toy Show…
I remember the first year Tubs hosted the Toy Show for the very first time. I remember people saying he must have been on cocaine. I admit, he probably did overdo it a bit, but over the years he has settled into his role fabulously and is now a beloved feature of the festivities. His mad Christmas attires, banter with the children and respect for all involved make the show so wholesome and enjoyable.
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This is more of a modern phenomenon but has added to the experience of the Toy Show so much. Anyone watching the Toy Show should have their phone by their side to flick through during the ad-breaks as the live-tweets and updates will have you belly-laughing and frantically sharing memes and funny comments with all of your friends and family. As it is the internet, some comments will be totally out of taste and just cruel towards the children, but overall it’s a great way for the Irish community to come together on this special night like never before. Call out the horrid comments so we can keep our little country safe for everyone!
+++ BREAKING +++ Under the revisions to Level 5, Government sources say you will be allowed watch #TheLateLateToyShow in your pyjamas but *only* if they’ve been ironed on the highest setting – and no wine is allowed until the youngest child falls asleep.
— Philip Nolan (@philipnolan1) November 24, 2020
They are the jewels of our little island. Some will have you in absolute fits of laughter and others will make you so emotional that you need a tissue handy. Their humour and talents showcase what we value as a nation beautifully. We all miss experiencing Christmas as a child, but watching this show lets you return to that magical atmosphere for a night that only children can harbour.
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Toys breaking, plastic cars crashing and dodgy comments from the children who seem to forget they are on television truly make the show what it is. It wouldn’t be the same without the flaws that come with live television.
It won’t be the same this year. With COVID-19, our little traditions will look a little bit different, but the fact that the Late Late Toy Show is still going ahead despite a global pandemic goes to show how committed the Irish people are to having a good laugh despite the pain that this year has brought us. Stay at home, stay safe, and stay festive.