Funny how things are connected. I was watching a panel game show last night where two pairs of impressionists compete in a series of comic challenges. Rory Bremner did a short sketch on the great Billy Conolly and this made me remember this fine comedian. He is one of the few people who can make me choke with laughter and become speechless when watching or listening to him.
I remember his wonderful sketch “Marie’s Wedding” which described his music teacher hilariously and made me remember so well the similar experiences of my own schooldays. For me the funniest sketch I remember him performing was, by a long way, ‘The Crucifixion’. Fifteen minutes of side-splitting humour that made a little wee come out when first I heard it.
The ‘Big Yin’ was knighted in 2017 and has recently announced his retirement from live performances at the age of 76. Sir Billy is very much a visual comedian and many of his sketches are available on YouTube. For me, however, his greatest performances are his appearances on The Parkinson Show. We howled with laughter as a terrified Parkie waited for the next bombshell to fall into his lap. Billy is irrepressible and almost gleeful in his taunting of a BBC figurehead trying desperately to hold on to his show and Auntie Beeb’s reputation.
It’s ironic that Billy is now fighting a lifetime battle against Parkinsons, a debilitating and vindictive disease. He has successfully fought off prostate cancer and is now enjoying his senior years with his lovely wife Pamela Stevenson. I thought it worthwhile remembering a great artist while he was still alive to be remembered. Enjoy these few selections and join me in saluting Sir William Connolly. (Really? A knight of the realm? This guy?)