I won’t let Parkinson’s represent me, says Billy Connolly

World

I won’t let Parkinson’s represent me, says Billy Connolly

Six years after he was diagnosed with the illness that convinced him to retire, he talks about how he is still adapting to his new life

Peter Stanford

Billy Connolly announced his retirement from live performance in 2018, but today, for this audience of one, he is in full flow.

He has recently been in Ireland, he tells me apropos nothing, but with a twinkle in his eyes behind his small black glasses. “We were getting dinner and it was on the menu: ‘Potatoes of the Night.’” He announces it in that distinctive inflection of his, as if revealing an Oscar-winner and, in a flash, he is away on one of those surreal flights of fancy that were the pillar of his 50-year stage career as a stand-up.

“What are potatoes of the night?” he wonders, frowning and grinning at the same time. “Is it some farmer with a miner’s helmet on out picking them? ‘Catch of the Day’ and ‘Potatoes of the Night’ on the same menu. How great!”..

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