It’s not easy being a Prod - and here’s the reason why

Neil Dougan in The Trouble with Being a Prod.
Neil Dougan in The Trouble with Being a Prod.

The funny thing about being a Prod is that it seems no-one wants to put on a show called ‘The Funny Thing About Being a Prod’.

The show is the brainchild of Belfast comedian Neil Dougan and it is coming to the Waterside Theatre next month.

“I’ve always thought there has been very little comedy from the Protestant perspective,” he says.

“There’s loads of comedy about the Catholic church - Father Ted is the obvious example but also a lot of the stuff the late great Dave Allen did.

“But it seemed to me that no-one had really looked at Protestant culture from a humorous point of view.”

Although Ian Barr at the Waterside Theatre snapped it up after seeing Neil’s 
debut performance at the Crescent Arts Centre last September, so far Northern Irish theatres have reacted with caution.

It is going to Lisburn, but there the local authority has insisted on a name change.

“I’ve called it ‘Head The Balls and Heretics’ and other theatres have said they wouldn’t do a show with the ‘funny Thing About Being a Prod’ title.

“It may have something to do with the fuss over the Reduced Shakespeare Company last year in Newtownabbey - although a little bit of controversy there certainly didn’t do their ticket sales any harm.”

The show is not intended to mock Protestants or Protestant culture.

“I was very conscious when I was writing it that I didn’t want it to be anti-church or to be attacking the church in any way,” explains Neil.

“I’m making fun or myself and my background and looking at the absurdities of the place.”

The show has been quite a labour of love for Neil and has taken him several years to put together.

Researching the history of the reformation of the church doesn’t sound like it will yield a barrel of laughs, but he begs to differ,

“There’s humour in everything and out of a 600-page history I managed to get three jokes - so it was worth it.”

He will be taking ‘The Funny Thing About Being a Prod’ to the Glasgow Comedy Festival in March but is hoping to take it to a wider audience at home.

“It would be great to take it down south.

“I’ve played comedy festivals places like Galway and Cork before and it would be great to be able to take this show there.

“A couple of television producers have told me they are very interested in the idea, but I’d love to take it to a wider audience in theatres.”

‘The Funny Thing About Being a Prod’, complete with its proper title, plays at the Waterside Theatre on Saturday February 20.