John-Paul Whearty quite openly says that he is revealing that he founded LAD in order to get publicity for his new career as a stand-up comic.
On Thursday (October 6), he will take to the stage at Belfast’s MAC theatre for his £12-a-head ‘Adventures in Ulster’ show.
And that day will mark “the end of my participation it [LAD]...It’s been four years of jokes about flags and it’s limited. You run into this problem that you are anonymous and so yes, you can create this fuss on social media but you are dismissed straight away because you’re anonymous. So, I’m not anonymous now.”
Having created LAD, he is now giving it away. He will leave the sites to the others – who remain anonymous.
In some ways, stand-up comedy is the antithesis of LAD – it’s under his own name, the audience is in front of him and he is as open to critique as those whom he lampoons.
Is he worried that as a self-described online troll, he will now be trolled, both online and in person by the audience? “Oh, absolutely, yeah. Absolutely. But here’s the kicker - anybody who comes to my show to shout at me has to pay the admission. So that’s fine.
“And you see on the social media stuff? If it gets too much, I’ll just turn it down. You can’t put yourself up as a troll and then not be prepared to take it when it comes.”
Is the comedy routine LAD in a theatre? “No, no. The stage stuff is me. LAD is one facet of that. The stage stuff is what I find funny about living here...it’s all of the annoyances that you might have living here - why can’t you go to a supermarket on a Sunday morning when you’ve forgotten something? It’s the little things that drive us all mad. It’s that humour; it’s as course at times as LAD can be because I think I’m just vulgar; it’s where I come from.”
LAD has been accused of mocking educational problems, deliberately misspelling posts in an attempt to satirise the poor grammar and spelling of the loyalist posters it ridicules. But JP says: “I can’t spell; I depend on spellcheck. I stood up in school when I was in third class and said ‘you don’t need to learn how to spell because there’s computers to do that’.”
He says that the misspelt words were an attempt to mimic the “dialect” – not an attempt to draw attention to the poor grammar in itself.