RTÉ One, Sunday 24 March, 10.30pm
Abie Philbin Bowman is on a mission to change the world. He's an atheist comedian, who jokes and provokes about subjects which many would find sacrosanct, in an effort to get people thinking. From family life with his famous father, John, to the death of his brother, Jonathan, reporter Mick Peelo discovers the people and things that have shaped Abie's views and values.
Abie Philbin Bowman is the third child of RTÉ broadcaster John Bowman and psychiatrist Eimer Philbin. He became interested in religion when his teacher asked him which famous person he would save in a doomsday scenario. Abie chose Jesus. "Jesus died for all of us, so shouldn't we return the favour?"
Abie believes that comedy is about surprising people with the truth and challenging their assumptions about the world. He uses perspectives on religion to comment on society, politics, and a wide range of other issues as demonstrated by his shows "Jesus: The Guantanamo Years" and "Eco-friendly Jihad".
"If Jesus came back to earth, there's no way he'd get through US Immigration. He's a Middle Eastern guy with a beard who wants to die as a martyr and he's just walked out of a cave. What does he think is going to happen?"
(Jesus: The Guantanamo Years)
In "Would You Believe? - Nothing's Sacred", Abie dismisses the previous pontiff as a classic Bond villain masquerading as Pope Benedict XVI. He knows his gags may offend some people but this is comedy with a purpose. It's worth it, he thinks. It becomes clear in this programme that nothing really is sacred, not even his brother Jonathan who died in a tragic accident 12 years ago.