Johnny Vegas is "nervous" about being cancelled

17 July 2021, 13:00

Johnny Vegas in March 2019
Johnny Vegas in March 2019. Picture: S Meddle/ITV/Shutterstock

The comedian has expressed fears that some of his jokes may be "taken out of context".

Johnny Vegas has admitted he's worried about being "cancelled".

The 50-year-old comedian - whose real name is Michael Pennington - is considering retiring his Johnny Vegas act because some of the character's more outrageous comments may no longer be seen as "ironic".

He said: "I am nervous now about being taken out of context. What do you do if something is taken in the wrong way? Is that a career ender when you are being ironic?

"It is a massive thing and it is on the horizon and I have to deal with it. In a good way it is going to make me sit down and think about stand-up and think about where Johnny is and where I am and what I want to do with comedy."

The early days of Johnny Vegas, on tour in 1998
The early days of Johnny Vegas, on tour in 1998. Picture: David Hartley/Shutterstock

His Johnny Vegas persona first came to prominence on Channel 4's The Big Breakfast, before gaining immortality as a running character on Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer's game show parody Shooting Stars in the early 2000s.

Pennington went on: "I won’t lie, acting is a real comfort zone as it is written. You can turn up and mess about on the day but it is nothing like the pressure of being Johnny again.

"So I don’t think I am brave enough to do it without it. But I know when I turn up at gigs I have always gone, 'Oh no I am going to fail,' and Johnny goes out and comes out with something I could never come up with."

Johnny knows it will be a "struggle" for people to see him as Michael rather than his alter ego.

Speaking on Richard Herring's podcast, he added: "It is going to be a struggle but what I want to do is come out as Michael. When I am directing I am confident as Michael. I want to be confident either as Michael or Johnny. I want to say, 'This is me now. I have moved on a bit. I have changed a bit.'"

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