Billy Connolly on his Parkinson's diagnosis: Funny doesn't go away it just changes slightly

Billy Connolly on his Parkinson's diagnosis: Funny doesn't go away it just changes slightly

Billy Connolly is refusing to let Parkinson's disease bring him down.

The 72-year-old comedian was diagnosed with the brain condition in 2012 - in the same week he was told he had prostate cancer and had two hearing aids fitted - and although it has prevented him from playing the banjo he doesn't dwell on the degenerative impacts.

He said: "I am doing as well as can be expected. Some people get grim, but I do not.

"Funny doesn't go away it just changes slightly, maybe some people get grim but I don't. I think it is an attitude - you say screw it, let's get on with it.

"You cannot sit at home wondering about your symptoms. It is not going to go away.

"It has never crossed my mind that I am gonna die. What is dying anyway? It is just a light going out?"

'The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies' actor admitted the disease is a constant reminder of his late friend Robin Williams who had the same condition before committing suicide.

During a radio interview promoting his Canadian tour, he explained: "It depressed me terribly. You don't find a way out of it. You find a place to put it where you can access when you want it. Like your mother or father's death you never get over it, you just find a place to put it.

"We were both angry about things.

"For instance the guy who gave me the final diagnosis that I had Parkinson's said it was incurable. Now I think that is terrible; he should have said we have yet to find a cure ... Leave me a little light on in the corner for Christ's sake."

More in this Section

Niall Horan: Noel Gallagher has always been sound to meNiall Horan: Noel Gallagher has always been sound to me

Star Wars fans emotional after new trailer releasedStar Wars fans emotional after new trailer released

Nicki Minaj appears to have married Kenneth PettyNicki Minaj appears to have married Kenneth Petty

Old favourites return in final Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker trailerOld favourites return in final Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker trailer


Lifestyle

We catch up with Bushmills’ master distiller, who tells Sam Wylie-Harris more about this liquid gold.Irish whiskey masterclass: 11 things you need to know

Temples, beaches, and several nations with new names.From Bhutan to Costa Rica, Lonely Planet reveals its top countries to visit in 2020

Columnist and trained counsellor Fiona Caine offers guidance to a woman who’s unsure how to manage her mother’s dying wishes.Ask a counsellor: ‘Is it appropriate to notify my mother’s friends of her death by email?’

‘The Big Yin’ talks to Luke Rix-Standing about living with Parkinson’s, the power of forgiveness, and why he will never, ever stop swearing.Billy Connolly: ‘You don’t wake up famous, you wake up scratching yourself like everybody else’

More From The Irish Examiner