Becoming Johnny Vegas
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‘My name is Michael Pennington, and I am not a comic character. I’m often mistaken for one though. You might know him by another name. Johnny Vegas.’
From BBC Dickens adaptations to Benidorm and Ideal to the PG Tips ads, Johnny Vegas has become one of Britain's best-loved comic actors.
But before he'd ever drunk tea with a knitted monkey or made himself the exception that proves the rule in terms of the predictability of TV panel game regulars, Johnny Vegas was perhaps the most fearlessly confessional stand-up comedian this country has ever produced.
How did an eleven-year-old Catholic trainee priest from St Helens grow up to become the North West of England’s answer to Lenny Bruce? That’s just one of the many questions answered by this eye-poppingly frank memoir.
Becoming Johnny Vegas establishes its author as the poet laureate of the Pimblett's pie.
Once you've finished this darkly hilarious tale of family, faith and the creative application of alcohol dependency, you'll never look at a copy of the Catholic men's society newsletter the same way again.
‘…book’s fabulous, buy it!’ Paul O’Grady
‘Extraordinary. A truly unusual showbiz memoir.’ Mark Lawson, Front Row, BBC Radio 4
‘A compelling tale of self-loathing, bristling with anger and bitterness, it still manages to be very funny and hold out hope of redemption.’ Daily Telegraph
'It's funny and a bit horrifying – with, at its best in the early sections, an almost Alan Bennettish feel for bathos.' The Best Memoirs of 2013, The Guardian
‘A characteristically in-yer-face narrative of how Michael Pennington became Johnny Vegas.’ The Independent
‘Michael Pennington – his real name – proves there’s more to Mr Vegas than meets the eye in this frank memoir.’ 100 Best Books For Christmas, The Telegraph
‘Altogether unique… as elegantly constructed as the finest literary novel.’ Catholic Herald
‘Reads like a novel.’ The Guardian
‘Eloquent, witty and perceptive, a fascinating study of creative catharsis.’ Metro
‘Rare is the celebrity memoir that’s as honest, insightful, revelatory and compelling as Becoming Johnny Vegas.’ Chortle
About the author
Comedian and TV star Johnny Vegas started life by the name of Michael Pennington and lived in St Helen's, Lancashire. Growing up he entered (and dropped out of) seminary school, trained as a potter and worked as a barman.
In 1996, Pennington made his TV debut as a contestant on Win, Lose or Draw. On air he stated that he wanted to be a comedian with the stage name ‘Johnny Vegas’. A year later, in 1997, he was nominated for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival’s prestigious Perrier Award – and the rest is history. Johnny has appeared on panel shows, one-off movies, the hugely popular TV sitcoms Benidorm and Ideal – and crowned these achievements with several non-comedic acting roles, to great critical acclaim.