Billy Connolly is quitting stand-up due to Parkinson’s: ‘I achieved everything'

Sir Billy Connolly has revealed he is ending his 50-year stand-up comedy career as he doesn’t ‘think as sharply’ as he needs to anymore. 

The Scottish comedian, 78, will end his stand-up career with an ‘uplifting and emotional’ special which will air on ITV on Monday.

He told The Mirror: ‘Since the Parkinson’s I’m still the same in many ways, but I don’t think as sharply as I need to to be a stand-up.

‘I’ve done 50 years and that’s plenty. Quitting is the right thing to do. I achieved everything I wanted, played everywhere I wanted to… I did it all.’ 

Sir Billy admitted he ‘won’t miss the panic’ and the nerves before going on stage, which in recent years meant he needed to meditate for 20 minutes before each show as it got worse. 

He added that the nerves disappeared as soon as he was in front of the audience and that he always preferred performing live to TV appearances.

Sir Billy, who was diagnosed with the degenerative disease Parkinson’s in 2013 is also writing a memoir about his life. 

He continued to tour and perform until 2017, before moving to Florida with his wife, and revealed that his condition has caused him to walk unsteadily, lose his hearing and drool. 

To mark the end of his stand-up career, ITV will air Billy Connolly: It’s Been A Pleasure on December 28. Featuring his ‘greatest stand-up moments, unseen performance footage and exclusive chats with some of Billy’s biggest famous fans’.

Guests will include Sir Paul McCartney, Sir Elton John, Whoopi Goldberg, Sir Lenny Henry, Dustin Hoffman, Sheridan Smith and Russell Brand.

ITV said: ‘Sir Billy Connolly recently announced that he was officially stepping back from live stand-up performance. 

‘To mark this major moment in comedy history, this star-studded one-hour special celebrates Billy’s anarchic genius and life-affirming brand of humour. 

‘There are also unique new insights from the woman who knows Billy best – his wife and soulmate, Pamela Stephenson.

‘His A-list fans will share their memories of Billy, send him personal messages and pick their all-time highlights from his glorious comedy catalogue. The man himself will react to their choices and reveal his own favourites.

‘Billy Connolly: It’s Been A Pleasure is a definitive celebration of an all-time great. An uplifting, emotional and hilarious hour in the company of the legendary Big Yin at his entertaining best. It will make you laugh. It may even make you cry. A fitting send-off for a stand-up megastar.’

Billy Connolly: It’s Been A Pleasure airs on ITV on from 9.30pm on December 28.

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