On the "mugging" of Brian Cowen

"I think some expected an inoffensive Pebble Mill at One style interview, but I said to myself when I took this job that I'd ask the questions I'd otherwise be shouting from my couch."

On the complaints after he interrogated three newly-ordained priests

"They were grown men in their 30s. They weren't babies, they were men, and I thought we could talk like men and have a good frank discussion. But apparently I was a little bit rough."

On the Benhaffaf twins

"Holding the Benhaffaf twins was really something special. I tried describing that to someone recently and I just couldn't do it." (The now separated conjoined twins are doing well and will, he hopes, be making a return visit to the show.)

On using Twitter

"It's inoffensive and fun. Today we tweeted: 'thinking of doing a thing on dodgy accents in films' and in come the suggestions. But it's a work thing. If someone asks [via Twitter]: 'Where are you going tonight?' I don't answer. That's why God created texts and phone calls! There needs to be some tweetiquette."

On his favourite show so far

"It's hard to choose. But there was one great comedy one with Russell Brand and Dara Ó Briain – it was a comedy-icon rollercoaster. I just thought, 'This one is going to be easy. These guys are brilliant'."

On his team

"My granddad Todd Andrews used to say, 'Surround yourself with people who're better than you'. And he's right. When you have smart people on your side with a good dollop of loyalty, the show will run smoothly."

On 'state of the nation' panels

"I like doing the panels, but I don't like regurgitating clichés and I don't like negativity. The complaint culture harms the psyche. In America, when people are in a hole they say, 'Come on, let's dig ourselves out.' When we're in a hole we sometimes dig ourselves further in, with one hand on the shovel and the other hand pointing up saying, 'It's his fault!'"

On lost opportunities

"Paul McCartney would be a dream guest. I was asked if I'd like to see him in Mexico and interview him there, but it was on the 27th, and the next day is my 37th birthday and the last Late Late Show of the year. I had to say 'no'. I'll get him again. That'll be my fun-sized psycho stalker moment."

On possible future guests

"I'd love a crack at Tony Blair. That would be a tricky one with a lot of hard questions. And it's looking promising actually."