Comedian Billy Connolly has announced he’s officially quit stand up comedy due to his ongoing battle with Parkinson’s disease.
The 77-year-old comic opened up about his diagnosis in 2013 and has since handled the extremely debilitating condition like a true pro.
Connolly continued to perform his comedy but in a recent interview, he’s admitted he’s had to finally call time on his amazing career.
Despite supposedly retiring in 2018, the well-loved comic had still hoped to do a couple of gigs, but in an interview with Sky News Connolly confirmed he sadly won’t be returning to the stage.
When asked if he’ll be doing anymore stand up, Connolly said:
No, the Parkinson’s has made my brain work differently – you need a good brain for comedy.
He then went on to say how you ‘shouldn’t let Parkinson’s define you’, but he worries how he comes across to people.
The 77-year-old added:
I get upset. Your brain goes adrift and it affects your body so you walk differently. You walk like a drunk man sometimes and you’re frightened you’ll be judged on it.
Prior to becoming a comedian, Connolly’s first trade was actually as a welder in Glasgow, however he left this job to pursue a career as a folk singer.
It was in the 1970s when he made his transition from a folk singer into a comedian. Despite leaving his folk singing behind him, Connolly often incorporated music into his stand up comedy.
Connolly was even knighted in 2017 at Buckingham Palace for his services to entertainment and charity – an arguably well-deserved knighthood.
It was only in October 2019 Connolly spoke of potentially performing again, but evidently his health has sadly continued to deteriorate since.
In a radio interview on The Chris Evans Breakfast Show, the retired comic said:
I don’t think the way I used to. I may perform at some other point, but I have no plans to. And I’m quite happy taking my medicine and getting along with it.
[…] This disease, it gives you a new thing every now and again that you have to deal with, and drooling is my latest.
I walk unsteadily and my hearing is going and it’s bizarre that bits of me are falling off but it’s interesting.
Connolly has made people laugh for more than 60 years, so his presence in the comedy world will be missed.
Hopefully in his official retirement, he’ll get to relax and enjoy Scotland’s two seasons – ‘winter and June’.
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Niamh Shackleton is a pint sized person and journalist at UNILAD. After studying Multimedia Journalism at the University of Salford, she did a year at Caters News Agency as a features writer in Birmingham before deciding that Manchester is (arguably) one of the best places in the world, and therefore moved back up north. She’s also UNILAD’s unofficial crazy animal lady.