The day the Washington Post thought Father Dougal Maguire had a chance of being Pope?

It was a delight to see a double bill of top Irish stand-ups at the Newbury Comedy Festival last night. First of all, one of my favourite comedians, Ed Byrne was hilarious. Then we were gloriously entertained by Ardal O’Hanlon.

The latter told the story of when his fictional character from Father Ted, Father Dougal Maguire, was 1000-1 with Paddy Power to be the next Pope after Pope John Paul II passed away.

Although Paddy Power probably saw the joke of this, the humorous nature of this punt did not seem to be picked up by the Washington Post, who reported the fact in all solemnity without apparently realising the fictional nature of Father Dougal Maguire:

…gamblers around the world can log onto paddypower.com, click on the Novelties section and put their money on Dionigi Tettamanzi, who is rating 11 to 4 odds in the race for the papacy. Or they can take their chances on Father Dougal Maguire of Craggy Island, Ireland, a long shot at 1,000 to 1.

Ardal mentioned that the Washington Post still survives on the internet, so of course this was a natch for me to look up on my return from Newbury’s Corn Exchange.

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