Who could dislike Johnny Vegas? He might have starred in one of the worst British films ever made, hosted a pisspoor chat show and generally made a career from being drunk and mouthy, but he’s funny. Funny and self-deprecating. It’s a powerful combination.
But when you’ve just come home from a radio recording in which he has led a room of hundreds in laughing at you, reaping applause like a schoolyard bully in a circle of children shouting “fight, fight, fight”, you get a different perspective. He was merciless. Fed by the adulation, he took the piss until the bladder ran dry.
Don’t get me wrong. I was fair game. I was on the show to pitch an idea for him and his co-host to judge. If you put yourself up for a public event like that you’ve got to take the gags with good heart. So I laughed along. But the only people I’ve seen have a rougher ride from comics are hecklers, and I like to think they deserve it more.
Worst of all, I used to like Johnny Vegas. I thought a fair amount of his stuff was crap, but he appeared to be a decent, honest bloke. Now I suspect that is just an endearing facade. He’s still funny, but, like Mark Lamarr and Phill Jupitus, he’s got a cruel streak that makes you wonder if he isn’t, fundamentally, a bit of a shit.