48-year-old comedian Johnny Vegas allegedly ‘collapsed drunk’ on stage during a Saturday performance of his stand-up show at the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall.
In a now deleted Twitter post, a video taken by an audience member showed Vegas – real name Michael Pennington – stumbling and being escorted off stage by a theatre staff member.
One witness wrote on Twitter that despite not even being a big fan of the comedy star it was ‘a sad sight tonight’ as Vegas was ‘drunk on stage’ and ‘paralytic he rolled off stage and had to be helped off.’
Well I have been to a lot of comedy clubs and gigs in my time and I have never been a fan of Johnny Vegas but even Mrs G agreed he cut a sad sight tonight drunk on stage and being that paralytic he rolled off stage and had to be helped off
— Gordon Voller (@gordonvoller) December 1, 2018
Several other audience members were far less polite in their complaints and went on sweary rants over the alleged shocking scene.
One wrote: “P****d as a fart, couldn’t speak. Escorted off stage by staff. Spent our hard earned cash. Sort your s**t out.”
The show’s official Twitter account reached out to one of the disgruntled tweeters, Susan Brady, with the statement: “That was part of the act. Comedy is subjective so we had seven very different acts on so there should be something for everyone.’’
To which Brady replied: “Part of the act? He was stinking drunk for the whole act, so much so there was no act.”
While a further spectator slammed the spokesperson’s comment and said she saw Vegas drunk even before the show began: “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.”
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.
— Frith Murphy (@FrithMurphy) December 2, 2018
However, another spectator saw the funny side in Vegas’ alleged drunken performance and called it a ‘hysterical action packed night of comedy.’
Vegas rolled the stage pissed and a dog shitted on it before I arrived. 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 https://t.co/LLSfh7NXaq
— Reginald D Hunter (@reginalddhunter) December 2, 2018
The comedian has openly talked about struggling with alcohol dependency in the past, and in a 2013 interview revealed to the Daily Mirror that he once drank up two bottles of vodka a day.
Vegas has also admitted to using alcohol as a confidence booster for his live shows, writing in his 2011 autobiography Becoming Johnny Vegas:
“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.”
He wowed viewers early this year on social media and interviews when he showed off his dramatic weight loss. He said he was able to shed several stone by cutting out unhealthy snacks, but admitted he still enjoyed a pint of Guinness now and then.
Yahoo Celebrity has reached out to Johnny Vegas’ agent for a statement.