Legendary comedian, actor, musician and artist, Sir Billy Connolly announced he will be ending his 50-year-long comedy career with one final TV special, scheduled to air on ITV on Monday, December 28.
The decision to put an end to his comedy career comes seven years after Connolly was initially diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. The comedian says he still feels the same in many ways, but doesn’t think as sharply as he once did, which is a key skill for any stand-up comedian.
“Since the Parkinson’s [diagnosis] I’m still the same in many ways, but I don’t think as sharply as I need to to be a stand-up,” Connolly told The Mirror.
He then went on to say that being in the business for 50 years is enough for him, as he has achieved everything he initially set out to do at the beginning of his career. He also believes quitting at this moment in time is the right thing to do.
“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,” he added.
Connolly did, however, go on to say the one aspect of stand-up he certainly won’t miss is the ‘panic’ he felt just before going out to perform in front of a live audience. As a matter of fact, in recent years the panic Connolly felt got so bad that he would need to meditate for 20 minutes before taking to the stage.
Connolly’s once-off TV special, aptly named, Billy Connolly: It’s Been a Pleasure, will include some of his greatest stand-up moments, previously unseen performance footage, and a number of interviews with celebrity fans. A slew of celebrity guests will also feature in the special, including the likes of Sir Elton John, Sir Paul McCartney, Sir Lenny Henry, Dustin Hoffman, Whoopi Goldberg, and Sheridan Smith.
Connolly made his theatrical debut in 1972 at the Cottage Theatre in Cumbernauld, United Kingdom. In 2007, he was voted as the greatest stand-up comic on Channel 4’s 100 Greatest Stand-Ups. In 2017, Billy Connolly officially became a Sir when he was knighted at Buckingham Palace for his services to entertainment and charity.