Sir William "Billy" Connolly (born November 24, 1942 in Glasgow), is a Scottish folk musician, actor and stand-up comedian. Commonly known as "The Big Yin", he has a large fanbase and was voted Number One on Channel Four's One Hundred Greatest Stand-Ups in both 2007 and 2010. He's married to Pamela Stephenson (who was a cast member on Not the Nine O'Clock News and Saturday Night Live in the 1980s. Stephenson is now working in psychology) who he first met while he was making a guest appearance on Not the Nine O'Clock News.
Connolly was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 2013, which led to his retirement from performing comedy in 2018. He is now an artist.
He was nicknamed "The Big Yin" (Glaswegian slang for "The Big One") - he stood over 6 feet tall in his prime - though rarely heard today.
- The Boondock Saints
- Columbo, episode "Murder With Too Many Notes"
- The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
- The Last Samurai
- Lavender Castle (first series only)
- Mrs Brown — which established his credentials as an accomplished dramatic actor
- Small cameo as himself in Indecent Proposal
- Muppet Treasure Island
- Open Season
- What We Did on Our Holiday
- Still Crazy
- The X-Files: I Want to Believe
- Just Another Saturday
- Water (1985)
Tropes Associated with "The Big Yin"'s Work:
- Bits of Me Keep Passing Out: A gag about drinking, and "zombie" cocktails that he tried which "get you drunk from the feet up", remaining lucid until you try to move:"So I said to her, and she said to me— back in a minute." [Tries to walk and falls over].
- Blooper: His World Tour Of Scotland TV show kept them in, including a scene where he stalled his car and started rolling down a hill into traffic... with a driving instructor in the car directly behind his.
- Censorship by Spelling: "D-I-V-O-R-C-E", a parody of the song by Tammy Wynette, which was a number one hit in the UK.
- Chronically Killed Actor: Jokes that most of his recent roles have involved him dying in some way. According to his biography, he's quite proud of being the only person ever to die onscreen in a Muppet movie.Billy: I even died in a Muppet movie!
- City Shout Outs: He sent this up in a sketch about a cheesy Country and Western singer who walks on stage and begins:Hey, y'all, it's really great to be with all you lovely people and to be back here in... back here in... back here in... (turns to the wings) hey, Hank! Where the fuck are we tonight? I know it's Scotland or somewhere...
- Cluster F-Bomb: Billy's quite at home with swearing. He has turned swearing into an art form. However, fans who know him only through his 1970s and early 1980s recordings are often taken aback, due to the fact Connolly either toned down his language, or it was censored, on his early record releases.People say it's a limited vocabulary that makes you swear. Well, I don't think so. I know at least—oh my God, of 127 words. And I still prefer 'fuck.'
- Cutaway Gag: his long anecdotes are strewn with those. Connolly's story about the mystery man found dying in a street in Edinburgh - he turned out to be an illegal immigrant who fell out of the wheel-well of an aircraft - takes up to half an hour to tell with LOTS of digressions and cutaways. note And as for his re-telling of the Gospel as if Jesus had come to Glasgow rather than Galillee...
- The Danza: He has two Reverse-Danzas to this name - as Billy MacGregor in the US TV sitcom Head of the Class (he replaced Howard Hesseman for its final season) and its post-mortem spin-off Billy, and as Billy Bones in Muppet Treasure Island.
- Everything Trying to Kill You: He's not the only comic to portray Australian wildlife this way, but probably one of the most memorable.
- Face Death with Dignity: Facing his death from Parkinson's Disease, he remains astoundingly optimistic, saying he looks forward to seeing what lies beyond death and in the meantime is taking a scientific interest in the way his body functions are breaking down.
- Hangover Sensitivity: His song "As Usual" is essentially this trope set to music."I woke up with an aching head, as usual / I can't remember going to bed, as usual / My stomach's feeling very queer / I've got a thunderstorm in my left ear / It must have been McEwan's beer / As usual"...
- The Heckler: Connolly hates hecklers. He went to town on a heckler at one of his recorded gigs:Billy: I'm the man up here with the microphone, Jimmy. You are the one that's got to shout yourself hoarse. Nae contest. In fact, the only reason why I'm talkin' to ye now is so as the bouncers can get a fix on ye. You've only got one line left before you're oot on your arse, so you'd best make it a guid one!
- Naked People Are Funny: Dances naked in the snow in A Scot In The Arctic, setting a precedent for his other travel shows.
- Playing Against Type: Perhaps most notably when he was cast as Il Duce in The Boondock Saints.
- Toilet Humor: Claims to have had a bad experience in Ibiza once. Along with his wife.
- Violent Glaswegian: Subverted in a sketch on Not the Nine O'Clock News where he barges into a dingy looking pub and in a gruff accent asks for a list of tough sounding men. When he's told that none of them are there, he orders a "campari and soda" in a camp accent.
- Wildlife Commentary Spoof: Starring Agnes and Betty the lionesses, and some none-too-bright wildebeests.