Doug Speirs’ humour column, In the Doug House, has appeared on Page 2 of the Winnipeg Free Press at least three times a week since 2006. No one is exactly sure why.
At 54, Doug has held almost every possible job at the newspaper — reporter, city editor, night editor, tour guide, hand model — and his colleagues are confident he’ll eventually find something he is good at.
In his columns, Doug strives to focus on the vital issues of the day but generally ends up writing about himself and his family, especially his two dogs, because he isn’t overly fond of getting out of bed or leaving the house.
While he struggles to avoid doing actual research, Doug has tried his hand at everything from barrel racing in the rodeo to playing Santa Claus for hundreds of screaming schoolchildren on a jumbo jet to performing with Canada’s top Elvis impersonators. The newspaper gives him money to do this, provided he writes about the weather every Saturday.
No topic is too small to escape Doug’s keen journalistic eye, especially if that topic is his infamous war with the army of mice living in his basement or his frequent run-ins with public relations professionals who are just trying to do their jobs.
He is also known for columns on quirky news events, his unique take on raising teenagers, his helpful insights on the key differences between men and women, and his penchant for spending up to three hours floating in the bathtub.
He is a frequent guest on radio programs because he works for free, and one column on the worldwide economic crisis, for which Doug accepted most of the blame, was broadcast on CBC Radio’s national show The Current. His book, Bite-sized Doug, a collection of critter-related columns, is still for sale at local book stores. They have a few left.
He generally tries not to offend readers, but has so far received hate mail from Barry Manilow fans, Saskatchewan Roughrider supporters, bowlers, bald persons, retired teachers and dentists. Lots and lots of dentists.
A man the size of a standard convenience store, Doug was born in Vancouver and still worships the B.C. Lions, which does little to endear him to many Winnipeggers.
He and his wife, She Who Must Not Be Named, have two children, neither of whom think he is the least bit funny. He possesses no musical ability, but is proud that his son is an accomplished bagpiper who piped him in when hosted the 2006 National Newspaper Awards gala, where Doug appeared in a chicken suit.
Speaking of awards, he was one of three Canadian columnists nominated for the 2008 National Newspaper Awards in the column writing category. He did not win, but said it was an honour just to be nominated. He was lying about that, too.