To me, Billy Connolly is the greatest stand-up comedian to ever live. His 1985 An Audience With performance is the Citizen Kane of stand-up, and his legacy is secured as the best.
Unfortunately, in the past few years he has encountered numerous health problems, he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and prostrate cancer in the same week, he subsequently underwent treatment, and the cancer was removed, however his Parkinson’s remains.
As a result of this, earlier this year he announced his retirement from stand-up, due to the advancement of his condition, a great shame for sure, but with the body of work left behind, there is more than enough to enjoy for his many fans.
That’s why I’m here then, for a showing of one of his final performances from Sydney, Australia.
His command of an audience hasn’t wavered at all, despite his ailments, even if said ailments do slow his delivery down somewhat. He did have a tendency to look a bit bewildered between stories, but that’s to be expected.
Speaking of stories, Connolly proves himself a master at weaving a tale, often several tales, interlinked with each other, and never losing his narrative thread, his stories stretch from signing money in Aberdeen, to flying terrified in a small plane in Mozambique, no story falls flat or loses its punch, even if you may have heard them before.
This review will ultimately be shorter than normal, as this wasn’t as much a presentation to highlight how it was filmed, but rather to celebrate one of pop cultures Greatest touchstones, and in that vein it does rather well, The Big Yin basks in the tidal wave of laughter that comes his way in the same way he did 30 years ago, and still retains that sparkle in his eye, and slice of mischief.
It may not be his finest show, but there is no such thing as a BAD Billy Connolly stand-up set, even if he’s slowed down, he’s still pure magic, and now it’s time for him to enjoy his richly-deserved retirement, I doth my cap once more to the greatest stand up comedian who ever lived, in the words of the man himself: ‘you’ve made a happy man very old’.