'I'm finished with stand-up': Sir Billy Connolly on his new career
Sir Billy Connolly says his Parkinson’s diagnosis means he is finished on stage.
The legendary comedian said last year he had hoped to perform in some form, despite retiring in 2018.
But he has now told Sky News: “I’m finished with stand-up – it was lovely and it was lovely being good at it. It was the first thing I was ever good at.”
He made his diagnosis public in 2013 and says it has “made my brain work differently… and you need a good brain for comedy”.
The 77-year-old Glaswegian, who is now enjoying a career as an artist, was speaking at the launch of his new work entitled Born On A Rainy Day.
He said he refuses 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. 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.”
However, he did reveal it was difficult at times.
“I get upset,” he said. “Because certain things go wrong, your brain goes adrift and affects your body, and so you walk differently, you walk like a drunk man sometimes. And you’re frightened you’ll be judged on it. And you shake sometimes.
“Sometimes you can’t get your money into your wallet… your change, and, the waiter has to take it from you and put it in.”
But Sir Billy, who became one of the world’s greatest observational comedians, certainly hasn’t lost any of his desire to shock, telling Sky News: “More people should listen to comedians, and fewer people should listen to politicians.
“People should listen to comedians and poets, they’re telling the truth… anybody who listens to Boris needs professional help because he’s a big, silly toff and Britain’s been listening to big, silly toffs for years.”
Sir Billy’s artwork now sells for thousands of pounds, something he says he was “blown away” by.
“It’s just not the kind of thing that people like me do.”
Speaking about how he finds inspiration, he told Sky News: “I like drawing whatever comes into my head.
“I start at the bottom of the page and work my way up. I often don’t know what it’s going to be. I like to start with feet, and then go up to the knees.
“I don’t know if it’s going to be a man or a woman yet, but as I’m going up the thighs I have to make my mind up quick. And then it becomes whatever is going to be.”
Sir Billy Connolly started his career as a welder and his message could not be more inspirational.
“I hope little schoolboys and school leavers are watching me doing these things and see, you can do what you like. You can write plays. You can write songs. You can be funny on stage and play the banjo. You can do drawings.
“Nobody came along with a magic wand and said, you’re allowed to do that now.
“You just have to do it and stretch yourself.”
Asked if he has any regrets, Sir Billy said: “I have no regrets at all – absolutely none.”
The exhibition runs at Castle Fine Arts in London’s South Molton Street until 12 March and the work goes on sale online on 13 March.