Father Vegas

How Johnny was almost a priest

Johnny Vegas has spoken of how he almost became a priest - and says that he would have made a good one.

He seriously considered the option when he woke, depressed and hungover, after a bleak night on the bottle.

But instead he decided to go into comedy - a move which is now paying off thanks to a role in Paul Whitehouse's Happiness, a regular slot on the next series of Shooting Stars and those ITV Digital ads that netted him a six-figure sum.

"I was on a total downer, blaming other people for my own situation," Johnny told The Mirror. "It was a case of going under or doing something positive.

"People can't believe I very nearly entered the church. They think I'm joking. But I still think I would have made a go of it."

Johnny, who was born Michael Pennington, was brought up in St Helens, Merseyside, by strict Catholic parents and attended a seminary at the age of 11, but quit when the going got tough.

He said: "Back then, the priesthood wasn't for me. I was obsessed with the things I was going to miss out on, like girls, cigarettes and alcohol.

"But by the time I was 24 I knew what those things were. I wasn't that impressed, so I was tempted to try again. I'm a good listener and communicator. Sometimes I think it could have worked."

Published: 29 Aug 2001

Today's comedy-on demand picks

BIRTHDAY GIRLS HOUSE PARTY

Sketch trio Beattie Edmondson, Camille Ucan and Rose Johnson return with a third series of their podcast, which started life on BBC Sounds but is now an independent release.

Click for more suggestions
... including Jen Brister headlining a virtual gig being staged by ad agency Ogilvy, and the Anna Kendrick romcom series Love Life, which has just arrived on iPlayer.

We see you are using AdBlocker software. Chortle relies on advertisers to fund this website so it’s free for you, so we would ask that you disable it for this site. Our ads are non-intrusive and relevant. Help keep Chortle viable.