Sir Billy Connolly ‘finished with stand-up’ but won’t let Parkinson’s define him

Sir Billy Connolly has announced that he is "finished with stand-up" and has admitted that his Parkinson's disease diagnosis has put an end to his stage career.

The 77-year-old comedian was diagnosed with the neurological condition in 2013 and announced his retirement from live performances five years later.

Sir Billy, known affectionately as The Big Yin, gave fans hope last year when he left the door open to a stage return.

However, the Scotsman has now confirmed his stand-up career is over but he is refusing to let the disease define him.

Speaking to Sky News, Sir 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."


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The Glaswegian comic was famous for his energetic presence on stage.

Symptoms of Parkinson's disease include decreased mobility and difficulty speaking, leaving him unable to perform as he had in his pomp.

Sir Billy continued: "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.


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"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."

Sir Billy went on to detail some of the troubles he has faced since having Parkinson's.

He said: "I get upset 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."

Sir Billy still has some fire in his belly and he urged his fans to "listen to comedians" as he gave his thoughts on Prime Minister Boris Johnson .

He continued: "More people should listen to comedians, and fewer people should listen to politicians.


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"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 was a welder in his home city before becoming a globally renowned comedian.

He was diagnosed with Parkinson's while undergoing surgery for early-stage prostate cancer in 2013.

Sir Billy has been married to Pamela Stephenson since 1989 and she has written a widely acclaimed autobiography of the comedian.

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