Johnny Vegas—An Autobiography in Multiple Voices

October 3, 2022
That’s Johnny Vegas in the large sketch at the bottom of the recto page and in the small thumbnail at the top of that page. The page spread was going to be an in-context post, but I just finished reading “Becoming Johnny Vegas” about a month ago, and wanted to give you a heads up. You can still read about the great oven debacle from the page spread as an in context post if you’re interested.

Readers of RWU will know that sketches of Johnny Vegas make it into a post every now and then; and onto my instagram.

I watch a lot of British TV. He’s on a lot of shows that I enjoy watching. I pick up a pen…

Then the other day “the algorithm” threw out that Vegas had written an autobiography, “Becoming Johnny Vegas.” (I’m not affiliated with any vendors; just go to your favorite book store.)

I’d already known that his given name was Michael Pennington, but I really didn’t know much about his life. The book was published in 2011, so I’m late to the party, but I wanted to write about the book here because it is a rather unusual and marvelous autobiography about the creative mind.

I don’t want to give many specifics at all because I don’t want to spoil the unfolding of the book if you decide to read it. Just know that it covers his childhood into college and beyond and talks of the evolution of his creative impulses. We see Johnny Vegas coming out of Pennington’s mind as a character, along with a third voice. The resultant push and pull is recorded in a sometimes hilarious way, always riveting, and painfully open way. (There are parts of this book that are very painful to read.)

I think it’s a must read book for people interested in the creative process. It takes an unusual mind to be able to articulate such a journey in an understandable way while avoiding self-pity or moralizing, and to simply sit with and look at the reality of what went on, so we can all learn a little more about how vast and varied the human experience is.   

Evidently Vegas recorded an audio book version of this memoir. You might consider buying that version to hear the voices even better.


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