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Becoming Johnny Vegas Hardcover – 26 Sep 2013

4.2 out of 5 stars 237 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins (26 Sept. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007382723
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007382729
  • Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 3.6 x 24 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (237 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 145,822 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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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.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Anyone who follows my reviews will know that I only give 5 stars sparingly, because I think it demeans the currency if every mortal thing gets 5 stars. Having said that, I would willingly give this book 6 stars if that was an option. It is, quite simply, brilliant! Searingly honest, painfully so at times, it is not for the squeamish or easily affronted. This story charts the simple and happy life of Michael Pennington in his childhood through to his time in a seminary, at which point it all rather goes off the rails and the path to Johnny Vegas begins. I suppose the reason that I enjoyed this book so much is that aspects of it strike a faint echo in my own life. Morbid hypochondria in my teenage years - check, need for copious amounts of alcohol to be funny - check, lack of success with the opposite sex due to early bad experiences - check, check and double check! There were times when I found his accounts so painful that I had to walk away from the book for a while. On the other hand, there were many laugh-out-loud moments (and I don't have too many of those these days) - the magazine behind the bath panel being a particular example. Whether you're a fan of Mr. Vegas, or not, I would strongly urge you to read this book. You'll be a better person for it.
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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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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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Now I know why I always related to Johnny Vegas whenever I saw him on the telly, never having seen him perform on stage. He had low self esteem as a youngster, ditto, and has had to battle the demons in his head, which is where the persona Johnny Vegas comes from. A warts and all autobiography. There is laughter to be found amongst the memories of the life of Michael Pennington. I cannot help but feel that he would have been an excellent priest if his life had taken the path he initially followed. Thankfully he decided that wasn't for him and I am glad that he bared his soul in this entertaining memoir.

Ray Smillie
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As an occasional fan of Johnny Vegas, this book was interesting.
I'm sure super-fans will derive more pleasure from it, but I was still impressed with the maturity and quality of the writing. Johnny is a much more nuanced individual than he appears on television, and this book is essential reading before one can make an informed opinion about the man.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
this compelling weird and unique double autobiography had me riveted to the page. As a teetotal atheist , i could not have imagined this life . i could only finish reading it because i knew there would be a safe outcome [ tv and tea bags ] ahead .
can't wait for the next installment.
the writing feels easy and concise , as if these are a life's stories already honed in many hours of re-telling over drinks , but that is not a complaint , merely a recognition of his narrative talents and charm.
the missing star is because some of the more disgusting scenes still come to the surface of my mind's eye and i fear will always be with me
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