Sir Billy Connolly says Parkinson’s means he won’t perform live again


Billy Connolly in August 2019Image copyright
PA Media

Image caption

Sir Billy has just opened an exhibition of his art and sculptures

Comedian Sir Billy Connolly has said he is “finished with stand-up” because Parkinson’s disease has “made my brain work differently”.

The 77-year-old Scot, who revealed his diagnosis in 2013, told Sky News that fans would not see him on stage again.

His last world tour ended in 2017. Last year, he said he would love to perform live again but was “not ready”.

Now, he has said: “The Parkinson’s has made my brain work differently and you need to have a good brain for comedy.”

In 2012, Connolly was voted the UK’s most influential stand-up comedian of all time.

“It was lovely and it was lovely being good at it,” he told Sky. “It was the first thing I was ever good at, and I’m delighted and grateful to it.”

Explaining how the changes to his thought process have made it difficult to perform, he said: “Everything you say should have five or six alternatives behind it. You’d say something and then attack it from behind, and let the story make itself up.

“It’s a madly exciting thing to do. The story is taking place and you don’t know where it’s going. It’s a delight. It’s a privilege to be part of it.”

Asked how his health currently is, he replied: “I’m on good drugs. I take six pills a day.”

The Big Yin has just opened a new exhibition of his art and sculptures in London. He said he didn’t want to let Parkinson’s define him.

“I’m always being asked to go to Parkinson’s things and spend time with Parkinson’s people, having lunch or something like that,” he said. “And I don’t approve of it.

“I don’t think you should let Parkinson’s define you and all your pals be Parkinson’s people. I don’t think it’s particularly good for you. So I don’t do it.”

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