“We have ratings and star guests” – “The 2 Johnnies” hit back at fierce critics of the RTE 2 series “The 2 Johnnies” with “Thursday Night Lock-In”.

“I’m not worried about the people who hate us – if they were good enough they would make a TV show”

The boys have welcomed Una Healy and Roz Purcell as well as comedians Iain Stirling and Seann Walsh to their Pub Lock-in series.

“Christy Moore,” exclaims Johnny O’Brien – also known as Johnny B – when asked about his dream guests.

“Louis Walsh. I still have hope of living part-time in a boy band. I would have loved to have been at Westlife!

The Boys with Kayleigh Trappe, Roz Purcell and Chris Kent

“David Attenborough too. We’re hoping to get Joanne McNally. I know she’s busy but we’re in talks so I hope she pulls through.”

Personal questions about the boys are taboo, probably because Johnny B (37) allegedly recently separated from his influencer and model girlfriend Shauna Lindsay.

When Johnny McMahon, also known as Johnny Smacks, was asked if he was enjoying married life with Annie O’Gara, whom he married in his hometown of Cahir last January, he quickly replied: “Look, I just focus on Thursday nights half past nine . Live lock-in, 100 percent. That’s all.”

However, the duo is happy to address their recent critics. One reviewer described the show as “a hellish experience – never have the words ‘backed by your royalty’ felt more like a taunt.”

The Boys with Marty Morrissey, Una Healy and Seann Walsh

“I heard a review say, ‘I couldn’t tell the difference between them.'” And the second line in the show is “I’m Johnny B and I’m Johnny Smacks.” So I don’t know how closely they watched it. But that doesn’t bother us either,” says Johnny Smacks.

He says they get along like a house on fire, even when they’re not doing their wildly successful podcasts, radio shows, live performances and now TV series.

“We never argue. We go on vacation together,” reveals former butcher Johnny Smacks.

“Because we had real jobs. That is the big difference. I got up at 6 a.m. and worked in a bacon factory, pulling out pig spinal cords for eight straight hours while people who didn’t speak English worked next to me.

“So getting up here and doing 14- and 15-hour days is a real breeze compared to a real job, so we’re not arguing.”

While Johny Smacks spent time cooking bacon, buddy Johnny B remembers the time he made hurleys.

“My father and grandfather were all hurley makers,” he recalls. “Normally at this time of year I would be in the forest cutting down trees.”

Johnny Smacks brings the couple’s critics to the point once again.

The two Johnnies, Johnny “Smacks” MacMahon and Johnny “Johnny B” O’Brien, pictured with Eugene Masterson

“Show me someone everyone loves,” he begs.

“People either like you or they don’t like you. You can spend your time walking around trying to get people to like you, but fuck it, if they don’t like us, they don’t like us.

“We get lovely messages from people who say they’ve been through tough times and say the podcast or show cheers them up. That’s exactly what we want to do with this show – it’s a little crazy.

“We don’t take ourselves too seriously, our guests don’t take themselves too seriously.

“You laugh, you spoke to us after a hard week at work. If it makes you giggle, great. If you want to go on Twitter and donate something, that’s great, if that makes you happy then do it.”

Then he lets go again.

“I don’t see many comments, but someone sent one: ‘This TV show is made for people who work in factories,’ and I thought, ‘That’s the biggest shitty comment I’ve ever seen,'” he complains.

“Is this what we have become as a nation, that we are too good to work in factories? I worked in factories; My parents worked in factories.

“My mother cleaned toilets. You shouldn’t judge people by what they do. I had real jobs.

“And if this TV show, the podcast or our radio show brings you some joy, then I’m happy enough.

“I don’t worry about the people who hate us, I don’t worry about the people who write reviews. If they were good enough they would do a TV show.”

So, after all the success over the past five years, are you on the right track? Driving Lamborghinis in Tipp?

“If I drove a Lamborghini around Cahir I’d break my nose,” laughs Johnny Smacks, while his accomplice Johnny B admits he has plans for his newfound fortune.

“I hope to finish my extension,” he smiles, before Johnny Smacks adds: “A fitted kitchen. I hope to get a fitted kitchen. Look, we’re fine. I’m a little better off than I was when I was a butcher.”

The boys are filming their two Johnnies Late Night Lock-In shows at an undisclosed location – but this week Sunday world was invited to a little foretaste.

“We had help from a few people and spent a lot of time driving around trying to find something like this,” show producer Stephen Stewart tells us.

“You need everything that goes with it: parking spaces, access, changing rooms, production office. We needed space for the two Johnnies stages, for the house band, the Young Wans and for the guests. So it was quite difficult. We all have to bring our lights and trucks. This causes additional costs. But you don’t invest in building this set, which would be very expensive.”

Johnny Smacks admits that they would love another season of the show, but also admits that he has guest “goals” for the future.

“I would like Tyson Fury or Roy Keane,” he says.

Both boys are hurlers and keen Tipperary fans but laugh when asked if they have ever tried on a Kilkenny jersey.

“There is no money in the world that would pay us for this,” scoffs Johnny Smacks (32).

“To be fair, Kilkenny have been great for us. All the other counties have been great for us. I have nothing against the people of Kilkenny.”

They’re much happier when we compare it to Chris Evans’ 1990s show TFI Friday and Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway.

“TFI was probably a little before our time, but we saw the clips and wanted to mix it up and do something different,” emphasizes Johnny B.

“We love the madness and said, ‘Put as many crazy Irish people on the show as possible’ and the format changed.”

“There were sections in episode one that weren’t in episode two, and the same goes for episode three.”


Johnny Smacks added: “The references to TFI Friday, obviously a hugely successful show. And Ant and Dec’s Takeaway – another hugely successful show.

“I’m 100 percent a huge Ant and Dec fan. I love their shows, I think they are well put together and very clever.”

  • 2 Johnnies’ Thursday Night Lock-In airs Thursdays at 9:30pm on RTE 2.


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