Billy Connolly is quite right: Making people laugh is a 'dynamite thing' to do – Scotsman comment

“It is a dynamite thing to be able to do, to get a laugh out of someone.”

Sir Billy Connolly with his wife Pamela Stephenson after being knighted by the Duke of Cambridge at Buckingham Palace in 2017 (Picture: John Stillwell/PA Wire)
Sir Billy Connolly with his wife Pamela Stephenson after being knighted by the Duke of Cambridge at Buckingham Palace in 2017 (Picture: John Stillwell/PA Wire)

As he announced his retirement from stand-up, Scotland’s most-famous comedian Billy Connolly said making people laugh is a “jolly thing” that’s “good for you” and “good for them”.

And a host of equally famous stars, speaking on a special ITV show, It’s Been A Pleasure, made clear just how much they value his wonderful sense of humour. Sheridan Smith revealed her son Billy was named after him, Dustin Hoffman, like Smith, appeared close to tears, and Elton John proclaimed Connolly to be “the first rock star of comedy”.

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His decision to stop performing stand-up comedy was made, he said, because Parkinson’s disease had “rendered me different” and he no longer thinks “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.”

The decision to make a TV programme about his retirement was a way of honouring the 78-year-old Glaswegian. It wasn’t the first time, but then there is a general desire to recognise not just his talents, but his warmth and wisdom.

There aren’t all that many comedians who have been knighted as Connolly was in 2017. And Sir Billy also has a different title, one bestowed upon him in perpetuity by popular acclaim: The Big Yin.

He may not actually be especially tall, but he is a giant in the lives of many. And he may not be quite as sharp as he once was, but his words about the importance of laughter are ones we should all try to heed.

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