Billy Connolly discusses Parkinson’s and cancer diagnoses
The beloved comedian, known as ‘The Big Yin’, shocked fans when he announced his retirement from stand-up performances two months ago. Sir Billy, 78, was known for his comedic observations on stage and frequent use of swear words. And the TV star, who was born in Glasgow, weighed in on the Scottish independence debate and admitted he “hated” nationalists.
Prior to the referendum seven years ago, Sir Billy vowed that he would not vote because he feared influencing the public due to his celebrity status.
He also refused to participate in debates about Scottish independence and admitted in general, he “tried to keep away from it all”.
Sir Billy justified his abstinence by stating “a lot of people take your world like it’s spun gold” and don’t care whether there’s “some sense to it” or not.
He told the BBC: “I don’t want to influence anybody so I shut up.
Billy Connolly took a swipe at Scottish nationalists during Scottish independence debate
Billy Connolly was known as ‘The Big Yin’, meaning ‘the big one’, during his comedy career
“I think the Scots will come to a good conclusion in the referendum, they will get what they deserve.”
More than two million people, around 55 percent of the nation, voted to remain as part of the UK, in the 2014 Scottish independence referendum
Around 44 percent, approximately 1.6 million, voted for the nation to become an independent country.
However, Sir Billy appeared to have changed his mind after the 2016 EU referendum, which saw 52 percent of the public vote Leave.
He blasted Brexit as a “disaster” and mourned “the breaking up of the togetherness of Europe”.
JUST IN: Sheridan Smith’s heartbreaking tribute to Billy Connolly unveiled
The financial impact of Scottish independence
In 2018, Sir Billy told the Daily Record that Brexit was “a crime bordering on a sin”.
He hoped Scotland would “keep our contact with Europe” and warned that departing from the bloc could encourage a second Scottish referendum.
Sir Billy said: “Scots voted to stay in Europe, and if the only way for us to do that is to become independent from England [then] that may just be the way to go.”
The star, who is a self-professed Anglophile, admitted: “I never thought I would say that.”
Sir Billy revealed that he “never had any interest in hating England and the English”, which influenced his opposition to Scottish independence.
Billy Connolly’s rant during Scottish independence row: ‘Desperate’ [ANALYSIS]
Sheridan Smith’s heartbreaking tribute to Billy Connolly unveiled [INSIGHT]
Billy Connolly had ‘very luvvie final call’ with Robin Williams [INTERVIEW]
Billy Connolly announced his retirement from stand-up comedy last year due to Parkinson’s disease
He said: “As an Anglophile, I have never shouted for Scottish independence, but I might be changing my mind now.”
Last year, Sir Billy seemed more certain that breaking away from the UK to become a separate country was a good idea.
He told the Daily Record: “I think a Scottish republic is as good an idea as I’ve ever heard.
“But I don’t represent anybody or anything and I don’t think it is wise to.”
Scottish independence referendum found 55 percent of the nation against breaking away from the UK
While Sir Billy seemed supportive of Scottish independence, he took a firm stance against Scottish nationalism.
He said he “never liked nationalism in any of its guises” and stated: “I don’t like Scottish nationalism very much.”
Sir Billy claimed it was “based on a loose idea about politics” and that he considered himself a “utopian socialist”.
He said: “I am Scottish but that’s not all I am and I hate all that tartan b******s.”
Billy Connolly jokes about Parkinson’s during drug discussion
Sir Billy, who has been pictured wearing tartan on multiple occasions, distanced himself from nationalism further.
He claimed he would “never let” himself be “put into a box marked ‘working class’ or ‘Scottish’ or anything else”.
Sir Billy believed those titles could “limit who you are or what you can say”.
He explained that it was “the easiest trap in the world” to become “a professional Scot” and he preferred not to be listed as Scottish.
Billy Connolly was a close friend of Robin Williams, who took his own life in 2014
Sir Billy said: “It can happen not only to comedians and singers but to writers and artists.
“You become a Scottish artist as opposed to an artist, I suppose it is the same when you are Welsh or Irish.”
He claimed that “doesn’t seem to happen” to people from England.
Sir Billy said: “No one ever says ‘that English artist’ or ‘that English comedian’ – the accent gives you this incredibly strong identity.”
Sir Billy Connolly: Made In Scotland airs at 9pm tonight on BBC Two.