Dublin’s annual celebration of the best of Irish and international literary talent
Johnny Vegas in Conversation
Sun 25 May
National Concert Hall
Chairperson: Pauline McLynn
Johnny Vegas (real name Michael Pennington) is one of the best-loved comic actors on British television. Since winning the Critics’ Award at the Edinburgh Festival in 1997, he’s appeared in everything from Shooting Stars to adaptations of Tipping the Velvet and Bleak House, and starred opposite a sock puppet called Monkey in a long-running series of PG-Tips ads. Vegas’ persona, the husky-voiced Lancastrian slob, has found its natural home in hugely successful sitcoms like Ideal, in which he played small-time cannabis dealer Moz, and Benidorm, which twice won Best Sitcom at the National Television Awards, and he currently to be seen as Padraic’s imaginary friend Crunchie Haystacks in Chris O’Dowd’s Moone Boy.
But the success of the Vegas persona has come at a price. Pennington’s autobiography, Becoming Johnny Vegas, describes the sometimes dark struggle between Michael, the shy boy who once trained for the priesthood, and ‘Johnny Vegas’, the anarchic alter ego who at times has threatened to destroy him. In the closing event of this year’s festival, Vegas talks with comedy actress and author Pauline McLynn, about his life, his career, and his attempts to find a balance between his real self and the troubled persona that made him a star.
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