Comedy Icon Billy Connolly ‘fed up’ with Parkinson’s but finding strength in laughter and love

Oct 15, 2023
Despite the difficulties of his condition, Connolly credits humour as the lifeline that has sustained him throughout the tough times. Source: Getty Images.

In a recent heartbreaking interview, beloved Scottish comedian and actor Billy Connolly has revealed that he’s growing increasingly “fed up” with his battle against Parkinson’s disease.

However, the legendary comedian’s spirit and humour remain undiminished, as he continues to inspire fans worldwide with his indomitable attitude and infectious laughter.

Connolly, who first disclosed his diagnosis in 2013, recently spoke with BBC Radio 4’s Today program where he shared the ups and downs of his health battle

“I’m fed up with it,” he admitted before lightening the mood with his unique approach to dealing with the disease.

“I think I have a good attitude to it. I say to the disease, ‘I’ll give you a break if you give me a break.’ We’re nice to each other.”

Despite the difficulties of his condition, Connolly credits humour as the lifeline that has sustained him throughout the tough times.

“I’ve always been easily made [to] laugh. I am lucky with my sense of humour. I can laugh myself out of most things,” he said.

His unwavering humor and positive outlook undoubtedly have been instrumental in helping him navigate the more challenging aspects he has had “to put up with”.

“I walk with a stick, and at airports I have to get the wheelchair. I hate being dependent to that degree and I feel sorry for other people who are in wheelchairs and who have it worse than me. But it’s a thing I just have to put up with,” he said.

“I think most things can be conquered, especially the depression. ­Depression is such a complex affair but you have to conquer it, take it on face-to-face and refuse to be part of it.”

In times of adversity, apart from his humor, he can also rely on his loving wife, Pamela Stephenson, for support.

“My wife puts my clothes on in the morning. It’s not very manly. Your mum puts your clothes on. I’m clumsy. I’m out of balance a lot and I fall,” he said.

Despite the challenges of Parkinson’s, Connolly is doing his best to not let the disease slow him down.

Late last year, Connolly delighted fans when he made a surprise appearance at his local Glasgow cafe in celebration of his 80th birthday.

Like many of Connolly’s recent outings, the cafe owners took to social media to celebrate the comedian’s arrival.

“Thank you for choosing to come back to Jessie biscuit to celebrate your 80th birthday,” the owners wrote.

“From everyone at Jessie Biscuit a huge HAPPY 8️⃣0️⃣ BIRTHDAY SIR BILLY CONNOLLY.”

MENTAL HEALTH DISCLAIMER: If you or anyone you know needs help: Lifeline — 13 11 14; MensLine Australia — 1300 789 978; BeyondBlue — 1300 224 636; Suicide Call Back Service — 1300 659 467; Headspace — 1800 650 890; Kids Helpline — 1800 551 800

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