‘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.
©2013 Johnny Vegas (P)2013 HarperCollins Publishers Limited
"This man is one of the true comic greats" (The Guardian)
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This is, without doubt, the most enthralling and entertaining book I've listened to in years. I've a new found respect for Johnny, or rather Michael. The convergence of the characters, the full gory detail of the development of Johnny is intoxicating.
The Dr Death character is spine chilling and beautiful in equal measures.
Funny, sad and concerning but above all expertly crafted and wonderfully narrated.
"Funny and touching in equal measure"
I would certainly listen to this again. It was funny, touching and full of insight and humanity.
The shocking honesty
Faultless performance throughout
Laugh, cry, cringe, sadness, shock - a gambit of emotion
A celebrity autobiography for those that hate celebrity autobiographies - it's rare that someone has so much insight into their own behaviour, and Michael Pennington's honesty is what ultimately keeps you listening. You just want to give Michael a huge hug all the way through.
"Loved this book touching, honest and funny"
I am not a fan of Johnny Vegas the comedian. I like Micheal Pennington the actor - I like him in Ideal and Benidorm so I wasn't sure I was going to like this book - quite the opposite I loved it. The book is very honest. So much so that some parts make you cringe - but this is what makes this book special. He does not hide the tough times, the embarrassing times and the times where he messed it up, he doesn't sugar coat his experiences or make excuses for what he grew up to be. This makes it a rare insight into the person behind the persona. Most would hide this and it needs to be commended for being so open.
The experience late at night in the priest school........
Honesty raw open honesty.
"This is a good book- This Guy can write"
As an autobiography one of the best written I have read in a long time (other than toast) so it would come in the top three of my autobiography list
When I first started to listen I was thinking "oh here we go this is a book giving excuses for the appalling behavior of the author". It is not at all. It is an incredible perceptive honest and very real account/ insight into an alter ego who was enabled to go wild. I had not really been exposed to Johnny Vegus as a stand up comic and know him for more of his serious acting and directing. It was fascinating and terrifying to get an insight into how Johnny came about and how two very different personalities could co exist and co depend. Mr Pennington is a clever ingenuous writer and manages to put this memoir together with huge skill.
If I had read the book the true natures of both Johnny and Micheal may not have have been so succinct. Listening to the author tell his own story's and often switching to a different person made me understand just were he was coming from.
Having not known Johnny Vegus as a stand up this book did make me realize just how bloody funny and amazing he was.
Fascinating insight into the comedian's (or comedians') mind(s) that is both amusing and often deeply moving.
The author's account of his life is captivating and his evolution into a performer ('I don't do jokes' as Johnny would say) is gripping.
The author's voice and inner voices add complete credibility to a very revealing account of Michael and Johnny's at-times shared mind and spotlight.
Sometimes I needed to gave the book's pacing respect: at times the emotions described are powerful and provoked a deep reaction in me I wasn't initially expecting. I became emotionally involved with the author's history and listening in one go would have foreshortened this experience.
Love Johnny or loathe him, I am sure you'll see him in a different light after listening to this book. My best listen in ages.
This wasn't the carefree laugh a minute I was expecting, it far exceeded frivolity, it is an open and brutally honest journey through the authors life.
"Sick of his droning voice"
I was interested to learn more about the man behind the character. Having just finished listening to David Mitchell I was in the mood for a well written entertaining and comedic listen. Oh how wrong can you be. These two are polar opposites. I ended up disliking Michael/Johnny. When the book had finished I felt there must be more to him than a bloke who was so insecure he got pissed and abused people for a living. Turns out that is pretty much him.
If you feel you need to listen to this - try and find an abridged version. He drones on and on and I realised on several occasions I had stopped listening.
He is not an orator, and he tries to be clever with his prose, but ends up losing the plot. Just stick to the story Michael, like you would with your mates in the pub. Don't try to be clever and poetic. Get to the point sooner.
Listen to David Mitchell.
one word (fantastic).
one of the best books i have listend to in a long time
"Brilliant and brave"
What an inspiration it is to hear a heartfelt, honest reading by the author instead of the bland, soulless voice overs we're treated to most of the time. No weird rising inflection or strange emphasis -- just a wonderfully performed, funny and touching listen. Thank you Michael Pennington aka Johnny Vegas.
"a beautiful insight to the life Vegas, tremdous"
it was truly well read. with great feeling and sorry emotion. top northern lad awsome
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