a boy slum
Christmas is a far from glitzy affair at the JOHNNY VEGAS household. The crackers are crap, the turkey is half- baked and there's clay in the trifle. Still, he's got his own TV show so things aren’t all bad. Words: Brian Donaldson
(‘hristmas crackers aren‘t what they were. Take it from Johnny Vegas. ‘We had the (‘hristmas menu at this restaurant the other day. btit in some of the crackers there was only half a joke.‘ moans the man who has stormed the lidinburgh l‘estival two years in a row with a supremely innovative character comedy act. making the potter's wheel sexy and becoming the most famous carpenter since Jesus in the process. ‘()n one there was "What is a giraffe . . . " but it was cut off. so I‘m going to spend my Xmas trying to find out what the punchline is. Nowadays. crackers don't hang like they used to and you can‘t open them up proper at the end and look at which toy is in and ptit it back. Anyway. I think you get a better class ofjoke on lollies.‘
()r you could try The JU/IIIII'V Vegas 72’](’l'i.\‘l()li Show. a (‘hristmas special acting as a taster for a full series in the new year. If you‘re requiring a lift from listicuffs or turkey indigestion. this may he just the brandy tonic to snap you back into shape. Along with comedy one-offs Hurry lz'ii/i'clrl's Yule Log ('liiims. 'I‘erl & Ralph and French And Saunders ('hristnias Special it should simmer down those annoying middle-aged relatives who insist that (‘hristmas telly comedy isn't the same without an all-new liric ’n‘
mmEUST 1/ [)e( 1998 / Jan 1999
'Crackers don’t bang like they used to. Anyway, I think you get a better class of joke on lollies.’
Who ate all the mince pies?: Johnny Vegas
lirnie extravaganza. Wise may have been the grinning foil to Morecambe‘s genius. but Johnny Vegas plays stooge to the world.
On stage he is a bitter. raging. shambling drunk whose glory days when. as Butlin‘s Best Boy he was the talk of Skegness. are long gone. The only remaining testaments to his rich talents are his uncanny way around a lathe and a propensity to heavily insult all and sundry. All this bitterness. self- Ioathing and sad failure will make for an uncomfortable but compelling night in front of the box.
'lt‘s a fill-in of Johnny’s dark years between leaving Butlin’s and starting again in the alternative comedy business.‘ says Vegas. whose real name is Michael Pennington. ‘lle‘s at an all-time low and he’s
just a pest. He‘s gone back to his home town and he’s
like a care in the community type fella who I could have been — he‘s just a pain in the arse. I would ignore him myself.‘
He may have been overlooked by this year's Perrier panel — despite being favourite to win in 1997 — but those back home in his native St llelens are sick of Johnny's hard-luck stories. The ice-cream man. precinct pedestrians and park ranger are all harassed by the distant memories and jiggling mammaries of a bloke who insists that he is an entertainer and not a comedian.
'We didn't just want to ptit stand-up on TV. so we found some brilliant characters in St llelens who are basically just real people.’ says Vegas. ‘But if I tried talking to them on stage. they’d either run off or be offended or very afraid. It just wouldn‘t fit.‘ Same could be said for the shirt on his back.
The Johnny Vegas Television Show, Channel 4, Sun 27 Dec, 10.35pm. French And Saunders Christmas Special, BBC1, Sat 26 Dec. Ted & Ralph, BBCZ, Sun 27 Dec. Harry Enfield's Yule Log Chums, BBC1, Mon 28 Dec.
Celebrity sofa surfing. This issue: Fred MacAuIay
Favourite TV show?
The Larry Sanders Show. It's good quality comedy
Favourite TV snack?
Cups of tea and chocolate biscuns. When did you last shout at the telly? When I heard Vanessa had got a BBC contract.
If you went on Stars In Their Eyes who would you be?
Looks-Wise, I suppose it would have to be Phil Collins, but I’d rather go on as a Singer.
Which TV personality makes you want to be physically sick?
The elephant Rollo one
Most hated advert?
Anything With bad lip-synching. Greatest TV moment of all time? Kevm Keegan saying that Batty wooldn't miss comes close
Who would be on your dream Top Of The Pops?
Greatest cartoon character of all time?
It's a toss up between Homer Simpson and Tom and Jerry,
Who was the first person on telly you ever had a crush on?
If you could be in any TV show, past or present, what would it be?
What was the last video you rented? South Park.
What's the best ever TV theme tune? Animal Magic and Doctor Fin/ay’s Casebook
Favourite soap opera?
I don't watch any of them
What have you got on top of your telly?
Only the remote control. Admittedly, that's not a great place to keep II.
at Fred MacAu/ay and Carol Smi/lie present New Year Live, 88C 7, Hogmanay, l 7 35pm.