Michael Pennington is a man of many talents: a potter, an actor, and a writer but is perhaps best known as a stand-up comedian. In 1996 the then unknown Pennington appeared as a contestant on the ITV game show Win, Lose or Draw and mentioned that he was a stand-up comedian. He also mentioned the stage name he performed under, a name that would soon propel Pennington to fame: Johnny Vegas.
His new autobiography, Becoming Johnny Vegas, tracks his life and assumption of the Vegas character as an alter ego, the two personas sharing one body in a symbiotic or parasitic relationship. Pennington describes the Vegas persona as “my best friend and my worst enemy, my nemesis and my deliverer, the one person who stuck up for me when everyone else had quietly written me off.” Johnny Vegas then is not simply an assumed name but an almost distinct personality with whom Pennington shares a complex and contradictory relationship.
As Johnny Vegas he has enjoyed enormous success over the years. He has been a popular panelist on many shows including Shooting Stars, Have I Got News For You and Q.I. to name but a few. On radio he has co-written the series Night Class, directed by the legendary Dirk Maggs. In 2012 he starred in the BBC Radio 4 drama adaptation, The Diary of a Nobody, as the titular nobody, Mr. Charles Pooter, infusing the self deluded character with a real sense of humanity and dignity. On our TV screens he has played some fantastic characters in a range of shows: from Black Books to Bleak House to a delightful turn as the ‘Artful Codger’ in The Bleak Old Shop of Stuff. (and that’s only the ‘B’s!) He also played ‘Moz’ on the BBC 3 series Ideal for six years from 2005 until 2011, and more recently has been seen as ‘Crunchie Haystacks’ in Chris O’Dowd’s fabulous Moone Boy.
On Sunday, May 25th, you have the chance to see him not as Johnny Vegas but rather as Michael Pennington, when he takes centre stage at the National Concert Hall to talk about his life and his new book, Becoming Johnny Vegas. Learn about the man behind the flash stage persona. For example did you know that he once trained to be a priest? Or that his wife is an Irish writer and producer who has worked with Podge and Rodge, Dustin the Turkey and penned Mr. Tayto’s ‘autobiography’, The man in the Jacket? Or that he is an accomplished potter, with his work sitting in a collection at the Victoria and Albert museum? Don’t miss out on what will surely prove to be an entertaining and thought-provoking evening with a man who has led a fascinating life, further details can be found here.