Thursday review

Arts Q&A: Comic Neil on pavlova and Tiernan

Brian Campbell puts artists on the spot about what really matters to them. This week: Belfast comedian Neil Dougan

Neil Dougan plays a Belfast gig on September 25

1. When did you think about comedy as a career and what were your first steps into it?

I started going to the Empire comedy club in Belfast. I'd seen a few comedians die a death and the Earth hadn't opened up and swallowed them, so the worst that would happen was you'd embarrass yourself. So I thought I'd love to have a go.

2. Best gig or gigs you've been to?

I supported Tommy Tiernan about 12 years ago in Cork. I went out and had one of my best nights ever. Then Tommy came on and I've never experienced a performance like it. The club owner said to me, "That performance can only make you dig deep or give up".

3. Fantasy wedding/birthday party band of choice?

Van Morrison accompanied by Ray Charles.

4. The record you'd take to a desert island?

Feeling Good by Nina Simone.

5. And the book?

Depends on if I have colouring pencils. If not then The Bible as I have never read it.

6. Top three films?

Young Frankenstein, Quadrophenia, Once Upon a Time in America

7. Worst film you've seen

The British gangster film GBH. My dad brought it home from the video shop because he was told it was like The Long Good Friday. I'd forgot all about it until now.

8. Favourite authors?

George MacDonald Fraser, Sebastian Faulks, Glenn Patterson.

9. Sports you most enjoy and top teams?

I've always been a boxing fan. I was lucky that growing up we had the Four Kings Superfight Series: Marvin Hagler, Sugar Ray Leonard, Thomas Hearns and Roberto Duran.

10. Pet hate

Celebrity Big Brother. Its like my two pet hates: Big Brother and the term 'celebrity' have been allowed to breed and spurned something truly horrible.

11. What's your favourite:

Dinner? The Mixed Platter at The Bengal Brasserie on Belfast's Ormeau Road. It's meant to be a starter for two, but I beg to differ.

Dessert? My mum's pavlova. It's meant to be for six people but I beg to differ.

Drink? Real ale.

12. Who is your best friend and how do you know each other?

My younger brother Drew. I think it was my mother that first introduced us.

13. Is there a God?

I'm not sure. But then again we Cancerians are sceptical like that.

:: Neil Dougan plays the Crescent Arts Centre in Belfast on Friday September 25 at 8pm, as part of the Belfast Comedy Festival (belfastcomedyfestival.com). Tickets £8/£10.

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