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Publisher's Summary

‘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

Critic Reviews

"This man is one of the true comic greats" ( The Guardian)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Top listen!!

Funny, sad, intriguing, excellent!

Definitely worth getting to know the real man behind the madness of Johnny Vegas.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Gordon
  • 10-28-13

Outstanding

What made the experience of listening to Becoming Johnny Vegas the most enjoyable?

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.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • K. Bailey
  • 11-01-13

Loved this book touching, honest and funny

What made the experience of listening to Becoming Johnny Vegas the most enjoyable?

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.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Becoming Johnny Vegas?

The experience late at night in the priest school........

What does Johnny Vegas bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

Honesty raw open honesty.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Rebecca
  • 10-13-13

This is a good book- This Guy can write

Where does Becoming Johnny Vegas rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

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

What did you like best about this story?

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.

What does Johnny Vegas bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

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.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No

Any additional comments?

Having not known Johnny Vegus as a stand up this book did make me realize just how bloody funny and amazing he was.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • LPH
  • 10-24-13

Funny and touching in equal measure

Would you listen to Becoming Johnny Vegas again? Why?

I would certainly listen to this again. It was funny, touching and full of insight and humanity.

What did you like best about this story?

The shocking honesty

Which character – as performed by Johnny Vegas – was your favourite?

Faultless performance throughout

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Laugh, cry, cringe, sadness, shock - a gambit of emotion

Any additional comments?

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.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Lesley Townsend
  • 05-15-18

I persevered

I like Johnny Vegas very much and there were parts of this book that were moving and very interesting. However, what is it about celebrity autobiographies that they feel they MUST go into graphic detail about their sexual exploits. It spoils the enjoyment for me. I've read the autobiographies of Frank Skinner, Stephen Fry, Phil Collins Steve Coogan, Sarah Millican, and others, and they all insist on graphic details that really aren't necessary. The various stories of intimate encounters can be told without the unsavoury bits. My opinion.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • John Lovie
  • 03-21-18

Entertaining Not Comedic

Great insight to how Johnny Vegas developed. The sexual enlightenment stories were amazingly honest. We did get a warning to skip that section, however!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Steve
  • 12-11-13

Outstanding

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Fascinating insight into the comedian's (or comedians') mind(s) that is both amusing and often deeply moving.

What did you like best about this story?

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.

What does Johnny Vegas bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

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.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

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.

Any additional comments?

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • neil stanforth
  • 07-16-18

Beautiful

Equal tears of laughter and sadness.
People with a Northern upbringing from the same era will really connect with the sentiment if his early childhood.
Always liked "Johnny", now I love him.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 06-16-18

Astonishing!

As this was the first time I've listened to an audio book I thought I'd give this one a go. I've read the book so knew it was good. Listening to Michael/Johnny tell his story in he's own unmistakable voice really brought it to life. He is refreshingly honest and doesn't pull punches when it comes to adolescent confessions or dealing with certain subjects most people would probably omit from a autobiography. There are some really funny moments but if you are expecting this book to be filled with jokes you'll be disappointed. It's a frank and honest account of not just his life but how he came about his comic creation Johnny.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 05-10-18

bath time reading.

Perfect book to listen to in the tub. Just you, Michael, Johnny & Dr death.