The 2 Johnnies: “We’re proud of being from the country, but there’s a snobbery to culchies”

Pic: Andres Poveda

The 2 Johnnies have taken over the world. From their podcast (and the GAA Catfish) to their 2FM radio show to their live shows and now their TV show, Late Night Lock-In.

The lads, Johnny B and Johnny Smacks, are definitely on top of the world.

“We get lovely messages from people who said that the podcast helped them or cheered them up,” Johnny Smacks tells us.

VIP Magazine headed down to the pub where the show is filmed and caught up with the Tipp men!

Pic: Andres Poveda

Hey lads, how are ye?

Johnny Smacks: All good!

You have your radio show on 2FM, how does The 2 Johnnies Late Night Lock-In compare?

Johnny B: We’ve been in our radio show for almost two years and we’re really getting the hang of it now. The show is getting where we want it to be. We have so many callers, we love the stories we’re covering, we have a brilliant producer who, in case it looks like we’re going to go over a cliff, pulls us back. The TV show is a learning curve. Every photo, every song has to be cleared. If you want to change a lyric you have to get that cleared. If they left it to us we’d probably put the podcast on TV. So it’s good to have people who will say, ‘Why don’t we get this person on?’

JS: It’s like managing an intercounty team, you wouldn’t just go and do it. You need people who have experience making these shows before. You need to rely on these people.

It must be different collaborating with so many people when you started off with your independent podcast. Do you ever leave idea meetings with a bruised ego?

JB: You need thick skin. But it’s the same with the podcast. That’s the thing with collaboration, if you’re going to have ideas be prepared to be told 90 per cent of them are s**t. It makes us better because you have to stand up everything.

Let’s go back to the beginning, before the podcast even. You two started making social media posts back in 2016. Did you ever expect to get a radio show and TV show on RTÉ?

JB: He [Johnny Smacks] said it straight out before we even made our first post on social media. [Laughs]

JS: A psychic told my mother, even though I don’t know how much I believe psychics… [Laughs] When I was 11, a psychic told my mother I was going to be famous and travel the world. I couldn’t tie my shoelaces! [Laughs] From day one, we knew we had something. There’s lots of duos who try to do really well. But we were friends before any of this. We have each other, I think if we were doing it alone I would go mad. But 100 per cent, I went up to Johnny’s house and told him I quit my job. And he was like, ‘I have a family business, what am I going to do?’ And I said, ‘Well we have to do it because I’ve no job now.’ I thought there was a gap in the market.

Pic: Andres Poveda

You obviously spend a lot of time together, do you ever fight?

JB: No! We were only talking to this manager the other day and they were saying they had a group who were fighting.

JS: Just give it up. They won’t travel together in the same car but they still tour together. Just give it up. Money can’t be worth that. We never fight. We go on holidays and everything together. There’s not much frustration in it. I think because we had real jobs, I got up at six o’clock and worked in a bacon factory pulling spinal cords out of pigs for eight hours. I would think what would I do if I won the Lotto and try to drag myself through the eight hours. Getting up and work at this for 14 or 15 hours is an absolute cake walk compared to doing a real job. That’s why we don’t fight.

JB: We love it. And we remind ourselves to have a good time. When we’re arguing over scripts we remember that we used to have real jobs.

You’re not everyone’s cup of tea. How do you deal with negative comments?

JS: People like you or they don’t like you. You can go around pandering to get people to like you but f**k that.

JB: Who does everyone like? We can only be ourselves. I don’t know what to call a spade but only a f**king spade.

JS: We get lovely messages from people who said that the podcast helped them or cheered them up. And that’s what this show is as well. It’s a bit of craic, that’s all it is. We don’t take ourselves too seriously, our guests don’t take themselves too seriously. You’ve had a hard day at work, put the show on and have a laugh. You want to go on Twitter and give out, great. If that’s what makes you happy…

JB: It’s a bit of a red flag though. What does he do with his evenings? Watches TV shows he hates and gives out about it. [Laughs]

On the other side of things, you are representing the culchies on telly. And we haven’t really had that before! Are you proud to represent the countryside?

JS: We are proud of being from the country. But I think that goes against us. I think there’s a snobbery to culchies in general. I don’t see much comments but one of the lads sent this onto me. It said, ‘This TV show is made for people who work in factories.’ And I thought that was the biggest c**tish comment. Is that what we’ve become as a nation? Are we too good to work in factories? I worked in factories, my parents worked in factories, my mam cleaned toilets. You shouldn’t judge people on what they do. If you work in a factory and it’s a horrible job, if this TV show brings you a little bit of joy then I don’t worry about the people who hate us. Because if they could make the stuff they would be making it.

We’re halfway through this season now. Are we looking for a season two?

JB: This show is so demanding and it is so fluid. A guest could fall out of the sky. We have a guy coming on this week and he only got in touch on Instagram last night. We’re not looking past this series. We also do two podcasts a week, we have our radio show as well. And we’re also getting ready for our show in the 3Arena and our festival Pints in a Field next year.

Pic: Jenny McCarthy

It must be very demanding! Have you had to sacrifice anything for the show?

JB: I am in my bed at 10:30pm every night. I’m off the drink for six weeks of the show, honestly, because we work Saturdays on our podcast too. We wake up on Sunday and then we pack to go to Dublin and visit family. Our manager said that we’re going into camp. We’re like boxers.

JS: We contractually can’t play hurling when this show is on. It’s in our contracts in case we get our faces broke. And trust us, there’d be enough people trying to smash our heads in. [Laughs]

We know you said you didn’t fight, but you drive up to Dublin together every week…Surely tensions run high on the M50!

JS: No! [Laughs] That is where most of the ideas come from. You spend three hours stuck on the M50, pure magic. Johnny has the laptop out, and I drive and we come up with ideas and build segments. If I was on my own I think I’d get frustrated but the fact that the two of us are there, we just have the craic. Some of our songs have been written on journeys in the car.

Tune into RTÉ2 and RTÉ Player on Thursday nights for an hour of unpredictable chaos in The 2 Johnnies Late Night Lock In

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