When a groom found out that his bride had been unfaithful, he decided that revenge is a dish best served cold. So he came up with a master plan and chose to wait until his wedding day to carry it out. The man then seized his chance for payback – and what he did next left all of the wedding guests absolutely stunned. But little did he know that his actions would later be immortalized on Graham Norton’s Big Red Chair…
The Graham Norton Show has been on British television since February 2007. It follows the presenter’s previous talk shows, So Graham Norton and V Graham Norton. But this particular Friday night treat began airing on BBC One in the U.K. in 2009, having moved from BBC Two.
At that point, the show changed its format slightly. Instead of ending the episode with a musical number, there’s now a segment in its place that’s the new cherry on top. It’s actually called “That’s All We’ve Got Time For,” but the finale has been nicknamed The Big Red Chair. The idea was a tribute to the late British comedian Ronnie Corbett, who was best known for telling stories from an armchair.
Each episode, members of the audience sit in the chair and tell an anecdote to Norton and his guests. If any of them lose interest in the tale, they can pull a lever beside the host. That action tips over the armchair – and the storyteller with it.
So in 2016 Sean McInerney went to watch a taping of The Graham Norton Show. He’s from Donegal in Ireland, but he now lives in London and works in sales. And when audience members were asked if they had a good story to tell, McInerney knew exactly what he was going to say.
“If I was ever at a dinner or a party or something and we were telling stories, I couldn’t resist but tell it,” McInerney later said to YouTuber Jason Gunn. “It was one of those ones where I was like, ‘Right, I’ve got that in my back pocket.’ And it just came to my mind when they asked for stories when we were in the [line] for Graham Norton. So I just thought I’d go for it and see what happens.”
The guests on this particular episode were actors Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner and Chris O’Dowd and singer Niall Horan. And they were all astounded by what McInerney had to say. While in the chair, he told them about a wedding that he had attended where things went horribly wrong. And it was all because of the surprising secret that the groom had kept under wraps – until the reception.
McInerney kicked off his narrative by explaining that the big day had started out as normal. “So a few years ago I was at a wedding and the ceremony happened. It was lovely, and then we went to the reception,” he said. And it was there that things had seemingly gone rapidly downhill.
It turned out that the groom, who was not named, had discovered that his new wife was cheating on him. So he came up with a very public and unique way to humiliate her. In fact, the groom went through with the ceremony and acted like everything was fine – before flabbergasting guests at the reception.
McInerney recalled, “Everybody started doing speeches. And then the groom stood up and said to everyone, ‘We’re going to play a game.’ He asked everyone to stand up, so everyone stood up. Everybody was kind of giggling.” But before long, nobody in the room was laughing.
The groom asked each of the guests to turn over their plates. He said that some of them would each have a red dot on the bottom of their dishes. He then instructed the people that did have one to remain standing while the rest of the wedding-goers were permitted to sit down.
In total, eight people remained standing – and that’s when the groom delivered a bombshell. “Ladies and gentlemen, can you all please look at the gentlemen left standing?” he said, according to McInerney. “They have all slept with my wife since we’ve been engaged.”
But the scorned groom wasn’t done there. He apparently finished off his staggering speech by telling the crowd, “I am now going for an annulment.” Then he walked off – and McInerney admitted to Gunn that “you could have heard a pin drop.”
Gunn had asked the salesman to appear on his YouTube show to reveal some more details about the incident. “[The groom] clearly knew well in advance. And he had the nerve to go through the ceremony and get to the reception and do that,” McInerney said. The Donegal native confessed that he didn’t know if the groom’s actions were “genius” or crazy.
McInerney also revealed that he couldn’t imagine what was going through the groom’s mind as he was greeting people following the ceremony. “We all knocked back our drinks very swiftly after that, I have to say,” he shared with a laugh. He then added that it was difficult figuring out what to do when it came to the wedding gifts. “In terms of the presents it was a very awkward conversation. The dialogue wasn’t ideal afterwards,” he said.
Gunn stated that Norton has described McInerney’s tale as the “ultimate Big Red Chair story.” And it was clear to see that the presenter and his guests were extremely impressed by the shocking soliloquy. At the time, Norton told the salesman that he had survived the potential embarrassment of having his chair flipped over.
Indeed, Norton had high praise for the speaker. “Good one. Love that story! Well done, Sean. You can walk,” the chat show presenter said. Meanwhile, the celebrities on his sofa appeared to be in shock. Indeed, Amy Adams was left open-mouthed and Jeremy Renner even stood up to applaud the Irishman.
And online commenters similarly enjoyed the tale of the cuckolded groom’s revenge. “Sean from Donegal on the Red Chair on Graham Norton had me in bits!!” Caoibhe Hegarty tweeted after the show ended. Another Twitter user added, “Damn that story in the Red Chair! Kudos!”
The Big Red Chair segment has remained extremely popular over the years and included plenty of hilarious stories. One man told Norton about his nightmare babysitter as a child, who turned out to be that evening’s very own guest Chris O’Dowd. On another occasion, Sylvester Stallone pulled the lever on a woman who admitted that she fantasized about him being her father.
So, while hundreds of audience members have participated in the challenge, it seems that people won’t forget McInerney anytime soon. Many media outlets have branded his tale as the greatest of all time. And after watching the episode, one person tweeted, “Can honestly say I think that was the best Red Chair story I’ve heard yet… Cracking!”