Billy Connolly dismisses political correctness in comedy
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Sir Billy Connolly, 79, has spoken out about his Parkinson’s diagnosis, saying he thinks about death “every day”. The comedian was diagnosed with the brain disease in 2013 and retired from live performances in 2018. The funny man previously said his Parkinson’s was “getting worse”, but insists he is not afraid of dying.
The Scottish actor told The Sun: “You have to have a Glasgow attitude and say, ‘Oh you think you have me beat? Well, try this for size!’
“I just deal with it. If I fall, I fall. I made the decision to stand back from stand-up because of my illness. It was affecting the work that I do. The sharpness was gone. It rounded all the corners.
“But I’ve got absolutely no regrets. I feel great. I think about death a lot. Not an excessive amount. I think about it every day.
“I’ve seen people die and it’s OK. It’s not painful. You just go away. You exhale and it’s gone. It’s nothing to be frightened of. It’s just the next step.
“Buddhists think you come back as a recreation of someone else. I don’t know — I’ll settle for whatever they’ve got.”
Billy has also said that he is “p***** off” with his Parkinson’s, particularly because he can no longer play musical instruments or write letters.
Speaking to Radio Times’ Christmas issue, the comic said: “I loved writing letters, but now my writing is illegible
“My collection of fountain pens and ink is redundant. It’s a pain in the bum.
“You confront it by saying, ‘B***er off, I’m going to get on with my life’.”
He claims he has learnt to “hypnotise” his hands to keep involuntary shaking caused by the disease at bay.
He told the publication: “I’ve learnt to hypnotise my hand. I glare at it and it kinda quivers.
“I just stare at it, and eventually it stops. It’s quite a good trick. We love it.”
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A new ITV documentary, Billy Connolly: My Absolute Pleasure, will visit him and his wife Pamela Stephenson-Connolly at his new home in Florida Keys.
As well as an inside look at his new lifestyle, the star will share some of his favourite stand-up routines from his five decades in showbiz, some which have never been seen before.
Billy Connolly: My Absolute Pleasure will air at 9.30pm on Sunday.
The documentary comes after the release of Billy’s first ever autobiography, Windswept and Interesting
In his book, he explains the title was bestowed on him by a friend. He penned: “I didn’t know I was Windswept and Interesting until somebody told me.
“It was a friend who was startlingly exotic himself. He’d just come back from Kashmir and was all billowy shirt and Indian beads.
“I had long hair and a beard and was swishing around in electric blue flairs.
“He said: ‘Look at you – all windswept and interesting!’ I just said: ‘Exactly!’ After that, I simply had to maintain my reputation.”
Windswept and Interesting is available to buy now.
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