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

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