Fans of Johnny Vegas were left fearing for his safety after he collapsed on stage on Saturday night.
The comedian appeared at the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall this weekend, but during his routine, those in attendance were left shocked when he appeared to take a funny turn over during his performance. [SCROLL TO BOTTOM FOR VIDEO]
So, what actually happened on Saturday?
Vegas who is a reformed alcoholic was reportedly ‘drunk’ at the time of the incident, in which footage (see below) captured him collapsing on stage, with security and staff members trying to escort him to safety.
After seeing furious online comments from onlookers of the incident, the venue stated on Twitter that it had all been part of the act.
“That was part of the act. Comedy is subjective so we had seven very different acts on so there should be something for everyone.’’ they wrote, but fans just weren’t buying it.
One angered fan replied: “Part of the act? He was stinking drunk for the whole act, so much so there was no act.”
“Definitely not part of the act, we saw him outside before the show and he was clearly drunk. Very sad, but we left at the interval it was so poor.” another angered audience member commented.
But the venue was adamant it had all been rehearsed, replying: “That was part of the act… can assure you.”
One fan was so annoyed by the performance, that they wrote a scathing review of Johnny’s act: “@JohnnyVegasReal @liverpoolphil . Johnny Vegas you were an absolute (idiot) at the Philarmonic in Liverpool. (Drunk) as a fart, couldn’t speak, not remotely funny once. Escorted off stage by the staff. Spent our hard earned money to see you. Sort it out”.
“I have never been a fan of Johnny Vegas, but even the Mrs agreed he cut a sad sight tonight. Drunk on stage, and being that paralytic that he rolled off stage and had to be helped off.” another added.
Another tweeter wrote: “Watched Johnny Vegas at the Philharmonic in Liverpool tonight. He was disappointedly (drunk) and couldn’t string a sentence together. Wouldn’t leave the stage and ended up crawling off. What a shame”.
Not everyone had a negative opinion though and many went on to praise the comedy star for his performance.
“Hilarious @JohnnyVegasReal crawling off the stage after reducing The Park heckle to a piece of dust! 🤣 enjoying laughterhouse comedy at @liverpoolphil” one said.
“Bang on form tonight @JohnnyVegasReal I’m on my way to Spar…” one mocked his drunkenness, seemingly viewing the whole thing as a bit of fun.
“I felt like Teresa May closing the Tory party conference. Thank you @Laughter_house and @liverpoolphil for providing and producing a hysterical action-packed night of comedy #braveswin.” another joked.
“Went to a comedy show in Liverpool after comic con yesterday. Out of the 7 comedians that were there ,I’d only heard of 2, and Johnny Vegas was the only one I was impressed with. He was totally worth going for though.”
Johnny Vegas is actually a recovering alcoholic
It’s been no secret that Vegas; whose real name is Michael Joseph Pennington used to drink a great deal before performing as a way of steadying his nerves.
In his autobiography, he wrote: “I had to drink to get Johnny up to ranting pace. Drink would encourage Johnny out and that was the only time my fear of stand-up went away.”
“When Johnny did away with the hypochondria, it was suddenly like I had no fear of death. There was a real carelessness towards my wellbeing. Johnny had a theory that if you counted how much you were drinking, you weren’t enjoying it. He never kept track but he could go on drinking for hours.
“I was ill with nerves before going on. As Michael Pennington I’d build up during the day, hoping to coax Johnny out of his box.”
In 2013, Vegas also went on to comment on his battle with alcohol: “There’s a very strong correlation between Johnny and drinking. It’s the very culture of stand up, but it gets to the point where you’re going “well it’s an alter ego but I, as Michael, don’t want a complete confidence system based on drink”.’
Earlier this year, Vegas stated that he had cut back significantly on booze and junk food to try and lead a healthier lifestyle. He did admit, however, that he still likes the occasional pint of Guinness every now and again.
The star broke up with his wife Maia Dunphy after seven years of marriage at the beginning of 2018, which gave him that much-needed wake-up call to turn his life around.
He announced the news on Twitter, writing: “It is with a heavy heart that we want to let you know that we separated some time ago last year. We are telling people now because speculation is unhelpful at best, and dangerous at worst. As we think is obvious, we continue to fully support each other; there is no acrimony, no story and no one else involved.”
Uploading a photo on his Twitter profile to show the dramatic weight loss, Vegas captioned the post: “It’s a far cry from a Thatto Heath fry up….ooh you’ve changed Vegas. Apologies fellow tweeters, busy of late and treating our chats like a bacon butty, sadly an all too rare a treat of late x”.
Social media reactions to the news
“What was he doing performing while drunk?? Would everyone be saying the same things if he was on crack?? He shouldn’t have been drinking on stage. End of. The silly sod.”
“I met this lovely man a few months ago, he’s a fantastic man and extremely funny. Alcohol can be an illness, There’s a very thin line between being responsible and going over the top with alcohol. I have lost a few friends to this horrible addiction. Johnny is a Great guy and I wish him all the best”
“When you’re as good as Johnny it’s very hard trying to please everyone and make people laugh all the time. Give him a break.”