The Vegas of the north!

Johnny chats to big fans Shirley Hewitt and Stephen Blundell.

Johnny chats to big fans Shirley Hewitt and Stephen Blundell.

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His quick quips and jolly jokes have tickled funnybones for years.

And yesterday comedian Johnny Vegas was back in the Vegas of the north to sign copies of his new autobiography.

Johnny signs a copy.

Johnny signs a copy.

Fans of the TV funnyman, who is known for programmes such as Shooting Stars and Benidorm, happily chatted to him at the WH Smith store, in Bank Hey Street, as he put pen to paper on their newly bought copies.

And St Helens-born Johnny, whose real name is Michael Pennington, told The Gazette there was a special place in his heart for Blackpool.

He said: “It’s great being back and it’s just down the road from us so it’s a place that’s written into my life.

“It’s got an amazing comic tradition.

“I talk about Blackpool in the book because I used to organise coach trips to the Palace nightclub.

“There’s a special little story too about one of my first kisses here.

“I purposefully starved myself today so I can have fish and chips later.”

Among those to rub shoulders with Johnny were Jeanette Rees, 55, from Brockholes Crescent, Poulton, with son 16-year-old Aaron.

Jeanette said: “We’re both big fans.

“Benidorm was so funny and we’ve recently been watching him in Celebrity Juice.

“He’s a very nice, genuine man and it’s made my day seeing him.”

Aaron added: “He’s a friendly chap.”

Stephen Blundell and Shirley Hewitt travelled from Darwen, near Blackburn, especially to attend the book signing.

Stephen, 50, said: “We do like him, especially because he’s northern.

“We like to support our own comedians.”

Shirley, 56, added: “I’m looking forward to reading the book because he’s a really funny man.”

And Johnny, who happily posed for photos and cracked jokes with punters throughout the session, also took time to pay tribute to those who had come to meet him.

He said: “It’s really nice after being locked away in a room writing this book.

“It’s genuinely lovely to come out and meet the folks who are buying it.”

Johnny’s autobiography, entitled Being Johnny Vegas, is out now.

The autobiography is priced at £9.99.

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