Billy Connolly quits stand-up comedy due to Parkinson's disease
Sir Billy Connolly has quit stand-up comedy, claiming Parkinson’s disease has made his brain work ‘differently’.
The legendary Scottish comedian went public with his diagnosis in 2013, and has been open about how the degenerative disease has affected him.
And in an interview with Sky News, the 77-year-old said that he has left comedy for good.
Billy said: ‘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.’
When asked if fans would ever see him back on stage, Connolly said: ‘No. The Parkinson’s has made my brain work differently, and you need a good brain for comedy.
‘I get upset because certain things go wrong with you, 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.’
The Mrs Brown star added that 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.’
Connolly has been one of the biggest names in stand-up and observational comedy since the 1970s, and topped Channel 5’s list of 100 Greatest Stand-Ups twice.
Last year, the star spoke about his condition in the BBC documentary Made In Scotland, saying he could feel life ‘slipping away’.
Connolly, who is married to Pamela Stephenson, said: ‘As bits slip off and leave me, talents leave and attributes leave. I don’t have the balance I used to have, I don’t have the energy I used to have. I can’t hear the way I used to hear, I can’t see as good as I used to.
‘I can’t remember the way I used to remember. And they all came one at a time and they just slipped away, thank you. It is like somebody is in charge of you and they are saying “right, I added all these bits when you were a youth, now it is time to subtract”.
‘I can’t work my left hand on the banjo, it is as if I am being prepared for something. Some other adventure, which is over the hill. I have got all this stuff to lose first and then I will be the shadowy side of the hill, doing the next episode in the spirit world.’
Billy first revealed he was being treated for the first signs of Parkinson’s disease in 2013 while undergoing minor surgery for early-stage prostate cancer, and had acknowledged he had started to forget his lines on stage.
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