‘I hope the Apprentice Boys come to the show’

Neil Dougan in The Funny Thing About  Being a Prod.
Neil Dougan in The Funny Thing About Being a Prod.

He’s been Stephen Nolan’s warm up act, supported Brendan O’Carroll and even done a night or two in the Delacroix.

Meet comedian Neil Dougan, the man about to unlock the secret on ‘The Funny thing About being a Prod.’

His stand-up show will make its Derry debut at the Waterside Theatre on February 20, and Neil has extended a special invitation - he wants the Apprentice Boys of Derry to come and see it.

“I would love the Apprentice Boys to come,” he said. “Ok, I know I’m taking a hand but everything in the show is factually correct.”

There’s no mistaking this is a show about Protestantism, 500 years of it. Neil’s done his homework.

The show is packed with subjects ranging from revolutionary reformists to bonfire builders, and Saint Patrick. The Siege of Derry even gets a mention.

“The Waterside Theatre was the only place that would take the show with that title,” he said. “Apart from the Crescent Arts where it sold out on its first night.”

It’s ironic that Neil now finds himself in Derry in 2016 performing his one man show.

It was back in the 1990s that the Belfast comedian cut his teeth on the comedy circle performing regularly at the Delacroix.

“I was on a staple diet of the Empire on Tuesday nights and the Delacroix on Wednesday nights,” he said.

“When I first got up on stage I told myself I’d do it once as part of my bucket list.

“I got hit by the bug, I took to that casual style of comedy, it was so different to the black dickie bow style of stuff I had seen on Saturday night television.

“I spoke to Jackie Hamilton and Paddy Kielty in the Empire and they persuaded me to go for it.

“I’d watched so many comedians die on stage in the past, out of every three I’d say one comedian doesn’t do too well. But afterwards they just head to the bar and get a pint, I told myself that that was the worst that could happen.

“For the last three years I was the warm up man for the Stephen Nolan show. Stephen’s show has a lot of returns, people who keep coming back, the Nolanites. Once one series was up they had seen you. That kept me writing fresh and topical stuff.

“But I always said that when I stopped doing Nolan I would write this show. It was always in my head.

“I switched from reading newspapers and listening to the radio for gags, and went back to the history books.

“There is a lot of history in this one. It’s me taking a lighthearted look at history,” he said.

One the night Neil will be supported by Teresa Livingston, who Neil describes as “the best female comedian to come out of Northern Ireland, ever.”

The show takes place at the Waterside Theatre & Arts Centre on February 20.

Tickets bought before February 10 costs £8 and will be £10 after this date. For more information log on to the Waterside Theatre website on www.watersidetheatre.com

To watch Neil from ‘The Funny Thing About Being a Prod go to www.derryjournal.com