The Sunday Sermon podcast is a weekly podcast about current affairs and some more local incidents from Father Declan Quigg. This podcast is a must-listen-to, especially if you’re in the market for a podcast by a very old priest with a propensity to be present on the sidelines of major global events with his best friend, Tipperary TD Michael Lowry. I recently got in touch with Fr Quigg on the blower for this interview.
Hello, Father Quigg?
Yes, who’s this?
This is Conor from HeadStuff. I’m calling about your podcast.
Ed Harris? Oh God. Ed, I’m sorry. I didn’t spread any rumours at all. I was actually trying to figure out who started the rumour. So–
No, Father. I’m calling from a website about the Sunday Sermon, the podcast.
Oh God. Phew. Thank Christ. That’s great. So, no affiliation with Ed Harris?
No, none as far as I’m aware.
First I want to ask for anyone who’s unfamiliar, what is the Sunday Sermon podcast all about?
Well, it’s a weekly sort of digest of world news and also spiritual news and while discussing these two different types of news I inform people of what my perspective is—what my worldview is—and then I show them that this is not only the most correct worldview to have but the most accurate. Anyone hoping to reflect my worldview, they’re welcome to because it’ll mean they’re gonna get up there—up to heaven—on the express elevator.
How did the podcast get started?
The podcast was began by– I’m a chaplain in a secondary school in a small town in County Galway and what started as a sarcastic suggestion for a podcast soon became something that me and the TYs are all proud of. It was started by a snide remark from a lad called Dempsey and he just got his leaving cert results today and [snigger] there wasn’t too many smart remarks coming out of him.
He completely ruined it, he made shit of his leaving cert and I saw him in the assembly– because I remembered the remark—it was a few years ago—one of the teachers said what’s a fun project we could all do that involved multimedia and there’s this grant coming from the church and he said “why don’t we do a podcast of the sermons?” Everyone laughed and I said why’s everyone laughing? Are they laughing at what a great idea that is? When Albert Eisenstein walked in and said E equals MC two were people going “ha ha that’s brilliant”? Because they realised it was a good idea not because there’s anything funny about E equals MC two so–
Mr Dempsey, he made that little comment a little over two years ago and [snigger] you should have seen him today. I actually offered to add up his Leaving Cert results for him and I said “what are you trying to get?” and he said “420” and I looked at him and said “ah, you got 420” and he was delighted and then he gave it to a friend of his and they added it up and he didn’t get it. He didn’t get anywhere near that because he was spending too much time trying to be a smart alec and not enough time trying to be a smart– person– doing their study.
4/20 is my favourite day of the year. Not because of Hitler’s birthday. It’s someone else’s birthday. Hang on. [keyboard sounds] Let’s find it here now. Carmen Electra, it’s her birthday.
Hitler now, he was a bad apple, let me tell you that. Back when I was a younger man I had a chance to meet him. We exchanged contact details and for years and years and years he and I were writing music together: Yesterday, Hard Day’s Night, I Want to Hold Your Hand, songs like that. We had a big fight because I said it should be Quigg and Hitler and he said it should be Hitler and Quigg and I said forget it. I took all of the songs that we’d written together and I brought them down to a charity shop in Liverpool. I just dumped them in there and I said “fuck this I’m sick of writing songs with Hitler.” Nothing ever became of them so there you go.
You have students help you produce the podcast. Two years ago when it started they were in transition year. What’s the plan now that they’ve finished their leaving cert?
Look, they want to pursue other things that’s up to them, but not all of the transition years from what I like to call the classic class, not all of them have gotten out of transition year. There’s some still in transition year. And they’re stuck in transition year until they get passed by the year head, which is– let’s just see here– who’s the year head for the TYs– I’m just looking through the school booklet– oh it’s me, it’s Quigg. So there you are. A few of them are always going to be around to help out Quigg ‘cause God love these featherbrains they just can’t get out of transition year.
All I want is, do you know that Alex Jones guy? I want that sort of a setup but he is the king of the headbangers, that lad. I can’t make head nor tail of what’s going on with him. He seems to be some sort of hippie, can’t-we-all-get-along type and I want to do his show but an extreme version. Apparently you need a union to help you out except if you’ve got transition years and they’re really the only crew I need. That’s our big plan in the new year, to try and knock Alex Jones off his throne—off his social media throne—and replace him with the Quigg.
Do you think I can’t do it? In two short years I’ve gone from not even knowing what a podcast is to being the best podcast there is. Wouldn’t you agree? Who’s better? There’s a lot of “nice try”s out there. I always think that when I see other people doing their podcasts. I always think “nice try” because I’m cleaning everyone’s clock every week. There’s no one better in the podcasting business than me.
For a while there I was neck and neck with 2 Dope Queens and Guys We Fucked. There was a three way tie and then a few weeks ago I just did a brilliant episode and it blew everyone out of the water. So, yeah, I hope that whatever comes next for the podcast I’m sure I’ll be able to rise to the challenge because I’m the best thing to happen to broadcasting since that fella Marconi invented the radio box.
You launched a spin off podcast called Film Palz with comedian Liam Nugent. What were you hoping to achieve in a separate podcast that you couldn’t in the Sunday Sermon?
People who listen to the Sunday Sermon—people who listen to sermons in general—they hate it when the priest starts talking about an area of expertise in the middle of it. I remember as a boy there was a local priest who loved fishing and so there were lots of sermons about fishing. That was of great interest to the anglers but if you weren’t into angling well there was nothing for you there and that’s why the town became so godless they burned down the church and ate the priest. So I’ve always wanted to avoid that.
And of course I’ve a huge interest in cinema. As a younger man when I was in my forties in the 1920s I did work on films. The early days. So I’ve a huge interest in cinema but my sermon can’t just be about the movies. So that’s where Film Palz came in and it’s just sort of a sit down and chat; a rap session. I do it with my young friend Liam Nugent and we really– we push aside all the sort of mundanities and trivialities of everyday life and we just dig in and we really discuss the hell out of a film with no distractions or sidebars that lead down crazy avenues. And that’s the Film Palz promise!
You were involved in the early days of the Trump administration. How did that happen and what lead you to leave?
I got a call from Trump, I’ve known the family for years and years. His father was friends with my father and you know when you’ve got to hang out with your parents’ friends’ kids and you mightn’t get on with them that well but they might think you’re their best friend because they’re mad? We had one of those relationships.
I’ll say this much for him, he was a terrible lyricist. Hitler knew his way around a two minute pop song, Trump hasn’t a notion. I thought when we were working together he had some really, really insane ideas. Real crazy ones, you know, like trying to put a water slide on every road you could go to work on. I was behind those ideas. But the new ones now, they’re just rude. Because there’s a lot of money you could make from people, but they have to be alive and you see what he wants to do is he wants to kill them. You can’t make a profit off a corpse, so that’s where he and I differ.
Did I tell you that the Sunday Sermon is going to be part of the Dublin Podcasting Festival? My show is on Sunday the 24th of September at 1:15pm downstairs in the Workman’s. It’s going to be an hour of fun and song and exorcisms. I’m going to be joined by my young pal Liam Nugent. I’ve been assured that there’s going to be top notch security there because the last time I tried to do a public speaking event in Dublin someone shot at me, which was very unpleasant. It’s very scary, I wouldn’t recommend it at all.
Main image via the Sunday Sermon podcast