“My definition of an intellectual is someone who could listen to the William Tell Overture without thinking of the Lone Ranger.”
I was 10 the first time I heard the mad Scotsman Billy Connolly tell a joke. It was around Christmas 2004 and I was with my grandfather. He wasn’t a reckless man, my grandfather, but he didn’t believe my age warranted turning off inappropriate telly and I’m very glad he didn’t. It was a repeat of an Audience with Billy Connolly and I didn’t know at that moment that one day he’d become one of my comedy idols. I didn’t understand the words he used back then and I just got the general gestures towards certain parts of his anatomy but his entire energy on stage just captivated me. I watched as he bounced back and forth on stage and bellowed in his Scottish tones he reminded me so much of my own grandfather that I couldn’t help but pay attention to every word he said, even if I didn’t quite understand it. This was my first encounter with Billy Connolly’s comic presence.
“I worry about ridiculous things, you know, how does a guy who drives a snowplough get to work in the morning… that can keep me awake for days.”
As I grew I only saw Billy Connolly’s tours around Australia and New Zealand were he toured the countries on his three wheeler trike, those shows contained snippets of the sets but I didn’t watch him properly again until I was 16 when I borrowed one of my Dad’s DVDs. I remember it Was It Something I Said? Recorded in 2007 and couldn’t help but laugh myself silly at the grey goateed Scotsman in front of me. I laughed at every single joke but also it reminded me of that Christmas with my grandfather watching a younger Billy and that caused a happy nostalgia. It was from this moment that I was hooked on Connolly. I have to thank trade in and second hand shops as they have helped me collect not just Billy Connolly’s more recent sets but also his earlier works including my personal favourite Billy and Albert from 1987 in which Billy embraces his musical side as well as his stand up. The end sketch where the comedian parodies Tell Laura I love Her by Ricky Valance with his fantastic live band Doner and The Kebabs. The video is below and I promise you’ll thank me as it will make your day in a few minutes.
“My advice to you, if you want to lose a bit of weight: don’t eat anything that comes in a bucket. Buckets are the kitchen utensils of the farmyard.”
Billy Connolly will, most likely, never read this article and for that I am not upset. This isn’t meant to be a piece used to blow smoke up a great comedian proverbial this is meant to find you out there in the world. I wrote this to find anyone who needs a little bit of joy in their life, the world is a funny place but that doesn’t mean it has to be a sad one. If you feel down for whatever reason take tonight off and watch Billy Connolly on stage and have a laugh, you deserve it.
“Life is a waste of time. Time is a waste of life. Get wasted all the time and you’ll have the time of your life.”
Words: DB Mitchell.