After years of playing the biggest loser in town, JOHNNY VEGAS is now the daddy.
But don’t expect his path to be strewn with paparazzi blood. v :». Brian Donaldson
:nnc docs lunn} things to pcoplc. It can turn sou
into an cgo-hursting maniac. cominccd thc
maid and its ma ms cs _\ou a l'a\our. You arc no“ untouchahlc. But thcrc arc othcrs l'or \shom thcir cclchrit} prolilc hcars no rclation to thc imagc thc} ha\c ol thcmscl\cs. 'l‘hcrc arc no tantrums. no l‘ronts. no agcnda. In thc summcr ol' 2()()(). l mct .lohnn} \‘cgas in an liast lind London hoo/cr to discuss his l‘orthcoming l‘ringc appcaranccs. a part in a production ol‘ .loc ()rton's [firing/tum ('unr/t and his t)\\ll largcl} improxiscd and lotall) unhingcd galltcshtm. ()\cr thc coursc ol sc\cral hours. hc chattcd amusingl} and amiahl) in a non-starr} “as about. \scll. just about anything _\ou cart think ol‘.
'l‘hrcc _\cars on. and a hladdcrl'ul ol' cclcht'itydom latcr. \sc mcct again. this timc in thc har ol‘ thc llilton llotcl in his homctoun ol' St llclcns. l)cspitc thc l'act lltal his local papct‘ I'L‘L‘L‘nll) dcsc‘l‘ihctl him as a ’northcrn dcscrtcr' \shcn hc \\ as caught committing thc hcinous rcgional crimc ol' hcing spottcd coming ottt ol' a Musucll Hill puh. hc rcmains dcliantl} rootcd. liull ol' apologics l‘or hcing sllgltll) latc ('that's what happcns \shcn you lixc \sith an intcrior dcsigncr
. . I \\ ho .s prc-natal and )ott \c got a ltousc I HAD
to do up' i. hc throns till his big \Hmll)‘ coat. kccps on his littlc \\ooll_\ hat and MY scttlcs doun l‘or sc\ct'al hours ol ainusing. atniahlc and non—starr} chat. I li\c‘t')0ttc‘ in thc t‘ooltt t'ccogniscs him immcdiatcl} and what I make l‘or thc toilct. onc ol‘ his admircrs lcaps on thc oppot'lltnil) to grab a momcnt ol‘ his
timc. .-\n autograph signing occurs and
local chatlcr cnsucs \s'hilc at no point docs \cgas sigh \\ ith thc incom'cnicncc
ol‘ it all or stcad)’ himscll to land a lirm punch. OK. it's hardl} Bcatlcmania. hut
Johnny chas is now a hona lidc ' pcrsonalit). and having crcatcd a
charactcr which hlamcd cwrything that
“cm “long in his lil'c on thc hutt-cnd ol~
lamc. hc is disarmingl} unl'a/cd no“ that it‘s arriscd.
.-\nd hc‘s Cspc‘c‘l;lll}' dctcrmincd not to lct thc cspcctations ol‘ slttmhi/ dictatc thc \sa} hc |i\ cs his lit‘c. "l'hcrc‘s nothing dullcr to thc majorit) ol' thc prcss than _\ou just gctting on \\ ith things.’ hc .sa}s. ‘lt's thc piclurc ol' _\ou giving thcm thc \-sign that thc} want. so sou can crcatc prohlcms ol‘ your own.‘
'l‘hc closcst thc prcss ha\c cotnc to im‘ading his pri\ac_\ unncccssaril) \\ as what onc snappcr caught Kitt} l)onncll_\. his thcn girll’ricnd. nou \til‘c and mothcr ol thcir son duc to hc horn on 4 Jul}; "l‘hcrc was all this spcculation \shcn \s'c stancd going out that. \s’cll. shc must hc prcgnant. .-\nd thcn thcrc \\ as onc photo carl_\' on \s‘hcrc shc looks prcgnant \\ ith this out} hcllshutton. But at that stagc shc \sasn't. so thc photo must haVc hccn doctorcd hccausc shc's got an inn_\.'
l’icturcs ol \cgas pop up rcgularl} no“ in thc tabloids and in thc gossip} glossiCs. but for most pcoplc who knou him as ‘that big hlokc ol‘l' thc tcll_\' tlluppinms. Shooting Stars. that inl'crnal monkc) l. thcrc is a sidc to him thc} \sould hardl} crcdit. In WW.
\cgas arri\cd at thc ladinhurgh l‘ringc on thc hack ol somc glouing praisc l'or shons on his local circuit. llcrc. hc harnstormcd his \sa} into thc hcarts ol audicnccs and critics alikc through a mi\turc ol songs. hittcrncss. \omit. Plllaltt“ ns and lcar. .v\nd aho\ c all. hc had thc pottcr's \shccl. '.‘\s a gimtnick. it \\asn‘t a had onc. \\as it'.’ It “as a \cr} hard thing to cop}. ll' an_\onc clsc had put thc \shccl in thcir act. l‘d ha\c had c\cr_\ right to turn up at a gig and hccklc. .\lcct him in thc drcssing room al‘tcruards \\ ith a gang ol‘othcr pottcrs.'
l)L‘\PllC lk‘lllg‘ llc‘mll} llppc‘tl lU \\ill Illc‘ l’L‘l'l'lL‘l'. llL' lost out to thc l.ca:_‘uc ol' (icntlcmcn. .-\ ('hanncl 4 spccial. 'l'ln' .lulimrr \i'gus li'h't‘isrmt Slum. simpl} l‘ucllcd lhc imagc ol' a hrash. loncl}. d_\pso northcrncr \\hosc inc\ itahlc path to latnc had hccn hlockcd h} talc and cottspirac). chas is still millcd that ('hanncl J t'cl‘uscd to turn tltc pilot into a sct'ics. .-\nd )ou can scc his point \shcn thc_\ ha\c sincc so cnthusiasticall} hclpcd tnakc l’ctcr Ka) a star. But .lohtm} is ha\ ing thc last cacklc.
Sonic ol. lhosc luck} cnouglt to ha\ c succccdcd in gctting tickcts l‘or his sold—out shims at thc (ilasgtm ('omcd} l‘cstisal ma) onl) ktttm him through his 'l‘\' \sork. in thc main a lat'gcl} “atct‘cd-dmstt \ct'siott ol~ thc stagc \cgas. 'l‘hc} could hc in lot" a slittc‘k. 'l'ttt' a \shilc. _\Ull could scc lhct‘c \\ct'c pcoplc turning up thinking thc_\ \s‘crc gctting thc :\lan and \lottkc} shoxs and hcing hittcrl) disappointcd
l'amil_\-tickct arcas gctting tip to go. hlocks ol pcoplc shilling right hcl‘orc _\our \cr} c}cs. But .lohnn) MW and .lohnn} on TV arc complctcl) dillcrcnt things. It thc rcal .lohnn} \cgas “as on a pancl shots. hc‘d hc tip \sithin tcn minutcs and singing: thc li\ c c\pcricncc is and should hc dill‘crcnt.’
lhosc di//) da_\s ol' \cgas ()7 arc all a blur no“. Quitc litcrall}. in somc cascs. But thcrc‘s still plcnty ol gusto in thc old dog. llc has lilm rolcs coming up. acting alongsidc Rick} 'l‘omlinson in 'I‘ln' l'irg'rn (iii/.rt't'r/nm/ and hcing dit'cctcd h} l)a\id 'l‘hcu lis l‘or ('ln't'lo' \shilc his own radio drama about a ccramics lcctttrcr. .Viu/ir ('lmx. is [timing to thc small scrccn. But hc rcckons that hc ma} \scll ha\ c succccdcd in his toughcst rolc to datc: that ol‘ comincing his in- laxss that Kilt} hadn‘t madc a drcadl‘ul mistakc.
Sclling ol'l' lhcir ucdding shots to \i: l‘or L'l is onc thing t‘hcr nan \\ as disgustcd that it catnc al'tcr imagcs ol' unl'casihl} largc tcsticlcs‘ t. But on onl} thc third titnc
hc tnct his l'athcr-in-la“. Kilt} stuck in a \idco ol‘
.lohnnys appcarancc on Div-mots S/mrrmu lint/(lis. ‘I had in} pants dossn. \sith m} arsc slltmillg out ol’ thc top of a douhlc dcckcr hus. llcr dad's looking at mc in that kind of "\\ hat has comc into our lixcs'.’" \\a_\.' last a comic rcmlutionar}. that‘s all.
Johnny Vegas is at King’s Theatre, Glasgow, on Sat 22 & Sun 23 Mar.
\shcn l ualkcd on \sith no shirt. a pair of llarcs and a pint. 'l'hct'c \\ crc a lot ol'
THE LIST 17