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Becoming Johnny Vegas [Kindle Edition]

Johnny Vegas
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (148 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £8.99
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Book Description

‘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.



Product Description

Review

‘…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.


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 53195 KB
  • Print Length: 384 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins (26 Sept. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00C4IM1AI
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (148 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #746 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More 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. He competed under his real name, but stated on air that he wanted to be a comedian with the stage name 'Johnny Vegas'. He soon worked his way up to compering comedy nights in London, playing TV gameshows and making various other appearances, growing an ever-increasing fanbase with each. A year later, in 1997, he won Edinburgh's prestigious Perrier Award for his stand-up comedy. Since then he has appeared on panel shows, one-off movies, hugely popular TV sitcoms Benidorm and Ideal, and crowned these achievements with several 'straight' non-comedic acting roles in television dramas, to great critical acclaim.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
40 of 43 people found the following review helpful
By Pucca84
Format:Hardcover
I was quite shocked by the eejits 1 star review.

I heard about this book on Radio 4, the interview was amazing because you have a stereotypical view of the guy. He isn't actually Johnny Vegas, this is a character that he's created, in someways to deal with what he's gone through.

As a Catholic I've read with so much interest, I knew about Upholland, Id heard the rumours, you could hear the pain in Johnny's voice when he was talking about this subject, it really struck my heart.

This IS NOT your typical, generic vacuous celebrity garbage. It's the one celebrity book where you feel that he has really lived, he has had life experiences you couldn't imagine looking at the guy now. We're not talking Katie Price & other Z Listers this really is an interesting read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A total surprise 22 Sept. 2014
By Peter Lee TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I didn't expect to like this as much as I did. I've always enjoyed watching Johnny Vegas on TV but surely an autobiography - a long one at that - would be pushing things? Thankfully it was a hugely enjoyable read.

The book is the story of Michael Pennington, better known as Johnny Vegas, and how he developed from childhood to his first successes on the Edinburgh Fringe. He's often startlingly honest, and there were occasions where I was surprised he'd had the guts to put some of the stories into print. It's also funny, often hilariously so, and by the end I was viewing Johnny / Michael in a different light, the man we see on TV being a character rather than a human being.

Yes it's long, and some may find it boring. Yes, it's very "northern", but he grew up in St Helens so what else could it be? And yes, the interruptions by the hypochondriac Johnny (printed in a strange font in the paperback and hardback, but just rendered in a slightly larger typeface on the Kindle so not as easy to pick out) are a little tiresome at times, but they're few and far between.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and the only negative thing I can say about it was that the Kindle formatting wasn't great regarding the "Johnny" interruptions.
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26 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Revelation 26 Sept. 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Having known Johnny for nearly 20 years I knew Johnny Vegas was created by Michael Pennington but not how it came about. This autobiography, which at times reads like a novel, shows how and why this symbiotic relationship developed. A wonderful read with many funny and touching times captured in its pages. I would recommend it to anyone particularly those people who don't like Johnny Vegas, this will change your minds.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Audio Book read by Johnny Vegas 21 Oct. 2013
Format:Audio CD
This is one of the most fantastically engaging audiobooks I've ever listened to. Johnny's way of recounting childhood memories interjected with his own humorous description is brilliant. It brought back many of my own childhood memories and thoughts at the time and made me yearn for those days gone by. It is something I could and will listen to over and over again. Highly recommend it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent 16 Feb. 2014
By Dawn
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Got this to listen too in the car - and because of the excellent reviews. It certainly was not a disappointment and has made me like this complex and intelligent man even more than before. I would recommend this even if you are not a fan of Johnny Vegas as his story is so interesting and honest. Also very well written and shows his intelligence in his well thought out memories and reflections. Hope he writes another one in a few years time. The CD brings it even more to life being narrated by the great man himself.He had me laughing, cringing and crying all in one journey - and at times I did not want the journey to end as I was enjoying listening so much.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A book to change your mind about JV 3 Jan. 2015
By signet
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
If, like me, you thought that Michael Pennington aka Johnny Vegas, was one of those loud, drunken abusive Northerners albeit with an eloquent turn of phrase, then read this book. I was inspired to buy this book after watching a TV programme several years ago where he traipsed across the USA asking various clerics some rather pertinent religious questions whilst learning that JV actually studied for the priesthood! The book covers his early years up his breakthrough at the Edinburgh Comedy Festival and, as you will expect, is incredibly funny amongst the more sombre tones of the book. It is very perceptive of human nature in general and, by the end of the book, the reader can almost understand the whys and wherefores relating to the persona of Johnny.
And that's why I've knocked a star off. Michael has "conversations* with Johnny which is very intriguing, but whose idea was the monstrous gothic typeface for the thoughts of the latter? It is difficult to read and spoils what is otherwise a great read. Nevertheless, this autobiography is well worth reading; just goes to show how you can't judge the book by it cover.....
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3.0 out of 5 stars Could Have Been Better 20 Oct. 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is the story of how Michael Pennington, a catholic boy from St. Helens, became the comedian he named Johnny Vegas.

The book records how Michael decided to become a priest seemingly because friends and family would admire him for it. After two years at a catholic seminary, he realised that he wasn't cut out for this life and his experiences make amusing and sometimes disturbing reading.

The second half of the book includes his erratic life at school and university and documents his gradual reliance on drink - to put it politely!

Michael Pennington is obviously a complex character, and to explain how he drifted into comedy - and yet more drinking - he adopts the annoying device of pretending - I hope it is pretending - that he and Johnny Vegas share the same head and talk to each other. This is where the book becomes a confusing and ultimately boring read as it is difficult to understand who is supposed to be talking to whom. It also makes the book 20% longer than it should have been.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Have not read this yet bought on Kindle. I ...
Have not read this yet bought on Kindle.I knew Michael during his St.Helens College days, he has not changed still as humble with a vulnerable edge.
Published 6 days ago by Exercise Queen.
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrifically compelling
This book is as complex as the relationship between Michael Pennington and his alter ego Johnny Vegas. At times it is positively painful to read. Read more
Published 7 days ago by Mrs. K. A. Wheatley
4.0 out of 5 stars Really interesting... makes him seem all the more likeable
Im not a particular fan of this guy, but he has a very interesting story. A little weird how he refers to his alter ego as a different person... but a good read all the same
Published 16 days ago by debs
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
bought it in error not my cup of tee
Published 18 days ago by paul
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Good
Published 26 days ago by robert norris
5.0 out of 5 stars Well worth a read
What a fantastic book. I was a bit dubious but it is very well written and answers questions not only for Johnny but for anyone with a strict religious upbringing. Read more
Published 29 days ago by over40just
3.0 out of 5 stars mixed feelings.
I understand why he writes this as a dual personality, but towards the end it became a little irritating. Otherwise I enjoyed his story.
Published 1 month ago by Karen
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Service
Excellent Service, Product A1 Thanks
Published 1 month ago by L. Bowers
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
I like a good biography and this is a GOOD biography!
Published 2 months ago by Nick Langley
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommended Read
This was a cracking book. From the days at "priest school" to the rise of Vegas it really makes sense of the character we all love.
Published 2 months ago by Sue Davie
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