Billy Connolly reflects on the ‘weird’ process of getting older

Oct 12, 2023
Following his candid reflections on ageing, Connolly delved into his ongoing fight against Parkinson’s disease. Source: Getty Images.

Legendary comedian Billy Connolly has always tackled life’s challenging themes head-on, and now, as he enters his golden years, he’s imparting his insights on the ageing process with his trademark wit and humour.

Approaching his 81st birthday, Connolly contemplated the ageing process and his approach to life in his later years, all the while working his characteristic levity into the discussion.

“It’s a cunning ploy that awaits you. The surprise is fucking nerve-racking. That suddenly you can’t walk any more. Can’t run. Can’t jump,” he recently told The Guardian.

“It’s a weird and nasty surprise. I don’t know if we should tell people about it, or just let it be their surprise when they come to it. But I think to prepare for it would be depressing.

“Growing old is a secret everybody keeps. It isn’t a jolly thing. But I often think of old men that I knew when I was a boy. They were younger than I am now and I thought they were very old. And I’m not like them. I don’t look like them and I don’t behave like them.”

“Something has come over us all – the people who were born in the 20th century. From the war on, we’re a different species. We don’t complain as much as people think we do.”

Following his candid reflections on ageing, Connolly delved into his ongoing fight against Parkinson’s disease, providing fans with a raw and honest glimpse into his life as he fearlessly confronts this challenging condition.

In 2013, Connolly publicly announced that he had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Since then, The Big Yin has remained candid about his struggles with the disease that affects movement control.

In his latest update, the comedian revealed that he has noticed “a deterioration” in his balance which has resulted in “a couple of serious falls”.

“It’s very difficult to see the progression exactly, because a lot of things come and go,” he said.

“Recently I’ve noticed a deterioration in my balance. That was never such a problem before, but in the last year that has come and it has stayed.

“For some reason, I thought it would go away, because a lot of symptoms have come and gone away … just to defy the symptom spotters. The shaking has reappeared.”

Connolly’s wife, Pamela Stephenson, revealed that “the balance issue has been most significant” which resulted in “a couple of serious falls”.

Famous for his ability to find the humour in any situation, Connolly explained that his recent fall reminded him of a joke he would often share during his stand-up performances.

“It’s funny, that fall I had when I landed on my jaw reminded me of a thing I used to do on stage,” he began.

“I used to say: ‘I fell out of bed, but luckily my face broke my fall’.”

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