Comedy: Hands-on performer
Saturday 03 January 1998
There is a buzz louder than a wasp's nest surrounding Johnny Vegas. A hugely successful Edinburgh run last summer had critics lionising this spoof failed showbiz entertainer as the man who came from nowhere to set the Festival alight. Time Out, for instance, raved: "You'll regret it forever if you miss this one!"
In 1998, Vegas looks set to step another few rungs up the ladder of fame as he moves from circuit celebrity to TV stardom. A Channel 4 special is being planned, and a national tour, "Balls of Clay", starts later this month.
Just why is there such a hullaballoo about an embittered, overweight LE type with bad hair and even worse trousers? After all, a lot of his act involves tedious ranting about journalists and some rather tortured imagery. Urging the audience to join in, he says at one point: "Johnny Vegas has a love child and his name is laughter. This mike was the midwife and these speakers the stirrups."
What distinguishes Michael Pennington's creation, however, is his sheer unusualness. Sure, we see a lot of send-up acts on the circuit, but how many of them indulge in on-stage pottery? In a mesmerising climax to his show, Vegas unveils a potter's wheel. Calling an unsuspecting female volunteer on stage, he proceeds to snuggle up behind her and help her throw a pot. Original or what?
To top that, he climbs aboard the wheel, beckons the audience on stage and leads them in a singalong version of "New York, New York". If this man does not get considerably bigger this year, I'll eat my glazed pot.
Another act likely to win promotion to the big league in 1998 is the sweet American stand-up, Arj Barker, who confirmed his promise by landing the Perrier Best Newcomer Award at the Edinburgh Festival last year. He is an almost old-fashioned, back-to-basics comic - the archetypal one man and his mike.
He has mean way with a one-liner, too. "I'm in love with a philospher, and she doesn't even know I exist," he complains. "What's worse, she can prove it." Later he reflects that he'd like to ask his doctor for a prescription for some medicinal marijuana: "I set my car-keys down, and five minutes later I know exactly where they are."
One more face to watch in 1998 is the likeable, confessional stand-up, Adam Bloom. Just watch him grow.
Life & Style blogs
Alexander McQueen at auction: What makes a really great piece of fashion?
A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
No female ejaculation, please, we’re British: a history of porn and censorship
Stressed nurses are 'forced to choose between health of patients and their own'
Pornhub: Kim Kardashian's sex tape is the most-watched porn video of all-time
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
Sony hack: Angelina Jolie branded 'seriously out of her mind' in further embarrassing leaked email saga
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
£20000 - £21000 per annum: The Jenrick Group: This high quality manufacturer o...
£30000 - £35000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: Electrical ...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This company offers London's best photo booth ...
£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Domestic Gas Service Engineers ...