The Late Late Show guests I'd definitely tune in for
Full disclosure: I've been on The Late Late Show on RTE. A couple of years ago, they were doing a segment on online dating and I was in the audience talking about my experience with Plenty of Fish, Blendr (remember that?!) and Another Friend (cheesiest dating site name ever, I think you'll agree). When Ryan asked if I'd had any luck, I held up my left hand and, in a very Dub accent, said "d'you see a ring on me fingor?" I thought I was gas. I also uttered the phrase "lob the gob". Not my finest moments.
The Late Late Show and my feelings about Ryan...
It's also worth disclosing the fact that I have a serious soft spot for Ryan Tubridy. I think he's good on The Late Late Show. (Like every other Irish person over the age of 30, I still miss Gay Byrne.) I've been on Ryan's RTE radio show and I found him warm and charming – I think he can be sensitive when it's needed and warm when people are nervous.
I will say, however, that I think it's clear when Ryan finds a topic – or a guest – boring, which is why (yay!) I have some really fabulous suggestions for people I would love to see on The Late Late Show talking about interesting and/or important things. These are all coloured by my own interests (obviously), so I'd love to know who you'd like to see up there!
Without further ado...
Rebecca Flynn of Body Positive Ireland
Okay, I know you get it – I love Rebecca. I think she's smart and she's principled and I think she has a lot to say. I would love to see a panel talking about parenting (bizarrely, as you know my feelings on children) and how, really, it's not all sunshine and roses. I think Rebecca, as well as talking about repeal, body positivity and privilege, does a great job of showing how not every woman thinks motherhood is their sole purpose in life.
Aisling O'Loughlin of Exquisite.ie
The former Xposé co-host is one of the smartest, funniest women I've ever met – and I'd love to hear her talk about being an unconventional woman on telly. What do I mean by that? Well, in case you've missed it, Aisling was the one on Xposé who didn't conform. She cut all her hair off; she wore clothes people didn't understand; she was (and is) irreverent and I would love to hear her talk about what kind of reaction that provokes in people. What's it like to be on the receiving end of criticism because you're not the "right" kind of on-screen woman? (Bonus points if Ryan doesn't ask her what it's like to be a single mother of three – because, if you wouldn't ask a man...)
Gill Roddie (from Snapchat)
One of the great things about Snapchat, as I've already said, is that it's introduced me to a whole cohort of women I never otherwise would have known about. Gill Roddie (@gemeroodles) is one of those – a mother of two who's been a bodybuilder and powerlifter, who's had a thyroid cancer scare, whose first child had a serious heart problem and who teaches science at third level. She's proof that human beings really are capable of extraordinary feats. But mostly, I'd like to hear her talking about science, and how it's actually incredible – and maybe, if so many of us don't see that, it might just be being taught wrong in schools.
I'd love to see a panel of Irish fashion designers talking about what it takes to conceptualise, design and manufacture fashion for today's market. How can you "make it" in a landscape where €11 jeans are the norm? Do you compete against fast fashion retailers or do you differentiate yourself? How do you do that? Is there support there from the Government? And, I guess, should there be? If fast fashion makes it accessible, does designer fashion make it elitist? (Not just: "Now, tell us about how you became such a success!" Because, snore.)
Sarah Moloney (@sarstri on Instagram)
Sarah is a 19-year-old pro bikini competitor and, from what I can see from her Instagram feed anyway, has one of the healthiest outlooks of any competitor I follow (and I follow a lot because nosiness). She talks about the ups and downs of the sport without seeming to portray a binge / restrict cycle and, honestly, I'm just so curious as to how a teenager gets so driven and motivated to do something that still seems so nuts to me. What can I say? When I was young, only Arnold Schwarzenegger was into bodybuilding. It just wasn't a thing.
And yes, all of my suggestions are women. Because guess what? I think we've seen enough men on The Late Late Show to do us until 2020, at least.