If the gouges are not extremely deep, you can use spackling compound to patch. You can also use joint compound. You can find both in the drywall section of the hardware store. Just fill in the holes and sand it smooth after it's dry.
It's a good idea to prime the surface before painting. It's better to prime the entire wall, not just the patches - however, you can probably get away with priming just the patches. - it may take more coats to get and even paintjob if you're painting on an inconsistently primed surface.
You can also get away without priming at all - but again - it will take more coats to get an even covering.