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
DNA hope on schizophrenia: Research breakthrough points at over 100 genes
Husband creates spreadsheet detailing wife's 'excuses' for turning down sex
UK pirates will get four warning letters a year
Apple has installed security backdoors on 600m iPhones and iPads, claims security researcher
Man takes most pointless Uber cab ride of all time
Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crash: 'Nine Britons, 23 Americans and 80 children' feared dead after Boeing passenger jet is 'shot down' near Ukraine-Russia border
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Vladimir Putin is given 'one last chance' to end hostilities in Ukraine
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: victims’ bodies bundled in black bags and loaded onto trains
- 1 UK pirates will get four warning letters a year
- 2 Apple has installed security backdoors on 600m iPhones and iPads, claims security researcher
- 3 Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Pro-Russian rebel 'admits to shooting down plane'
- 4 Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
- 5 Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
Competitive: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Scheme Manager (BREEAM)...
Flexible, depending on experience: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: T...
£850 - £950 per day: Orgtel: Programme Director - Conduct Risk - Banking - £85...
£100 - £110 per day: Orgtel: Project Coordinator/Order Entry Hampshire