Ladies and gentlemen, would you please welcome Billy Connolly!
You’re only doing that because I’m not well. “I love you, Billy!” I’m not a well man. We’ll have words about that later. It’s nice to be here, it’s nice to be back in London, it’s great to be at the Apollo. The last time I performed was in Canada, in November. I like it. I especially like Montreal. Because you can speak French, and I don’t. I just employ a little cunning, you know. If they say, “Bonjour”, I go, “Bonjour” and I walk really fast before they say anything else. “Goodbye” is rather handy as well. Négligé! Cul-de-sac! Recipé!
Always amazed me when I toured in France, hitchhiking with my cousin John. You would have loved my cousin John. When we were younger, he was lovely. He’s dead now. You wouldn’t like him now but you would have liked him. He was one of those guys people love to call a ‘loony’, you know—he was a bit of a nutter, but… I’m always suspicious when people do that. “Oh, you’ll love him, he’s a loony.” I go, “Oh, fuck.” But he was a great guy, very bright, very funny. I’ll give you an example. It could be quite frightening. Do you remember?—most of you will be too young. There was a campaign in gas stations. “Put a tiger in your tank.” —Yes! Well … just after that there were other campaigns. “Make your car look like a racing car,” there was numbers and things you stuck on. But one that never quite took off was bullet holes. You peeled them off a card and stuck them on your car, you look as if you’ve just driven by Al Capone, you know. He had them on his glasses. He used to quite frighten people, you know. “This is my cousin John.” — “Oh, Jesus Christ!”
But he was a lovely guy. He taught me so much … useless stuff. He taught me how to slice a banana inside the skin. That’s to have an endless fun with that. We were living in a youth hostel in Dunkirk, in France. And when you’ve food in the youth hostel you keep it in these cubicles in the kitchen. And they’re open to everybody, you can just steal stuff. I don’t think that’s the general idea of them. He would steal a banana. And he would get a sewing needle. And you would hold the banana as vertically as you can hold a banana. He would come down and inch and push the needle in. And do that, horizontally. And he’d pull out, and he’d come down half an inch, he’d do it again. Down another half an inch, do it again, ’til you get to the bottom. Then you put it back where you got it. And you wait for the owner to show up. Which he eventually does. And as soon as he lifts the banana and goes to peel it, you turn away. He does that: “For fuck’s sake!” “Did you see?” You say, “What is it?” “Banana was sliced inside the skin!” —”Oh, fuck off!’ He spends the rest of his life trying to prove it to you. It’s a wonderful …
Another thing he used to do which I found great— he would steal an egg, and he would get the same needle, or one very like it, and he would put a hole in the top of the egg, and a hole in the bum. Then he would blow the egg into a frying pan. Then he would get a slice of toilet paper. You know, that hard stuff that hurts your arse. And he would write on it: “Sorry, I was starving.” He’d roll it up real tight, and shove it inside the egg.
But maybe my favorite: For some reason, he had a dislike of people who went to bed with their socks on. And you know, in these hostels you sleep in dormitories. Well, we would lie there, waiting, watching people going to bed. Eventually he would see someone: “There you go, Billy, 9 o’clock, blue socks”. “Right, OK”. We’d wait until he was sleeping. We’d creep up and roll the sheets back from his feet. To expose the socks. We’d take on sock off, and put it on on top of the other one. See the guy in the morning, looking for his sock: “Where the fuck?…” “Have you seen a blue sock?” Eventually, he puts on his hiking boots on one bare foot one. I always wondered how he got on when he got home and was undressing. “Jesus Christ, how did that go on there?” “I must have been sleeping like that.”
He was great, he was a funny man. He had a French phrasebook that he got from his father. His father had fought in France during the war. So he had the phrasebook. You never saw women like it, the bewildered expressions when he whispered in their ear, “We have a reason to believe there are Germans hiding in your cellar.” “Have you noticed any fluctuation in the price of tomatoes?
But to get back to Canada… I was in Toronto. I’ve been there a lot of times since the 70s. I’m quite big there. But the thing that haunts me when I’m in Toronto… The first girl who ever kissed me was Gracie McClintock. She was five years old, so was I. Standing against an airraid shelter in Glasgow. And a year later her family emigrated. I don’t think it was anything to do with me kissing her or anything with me. They emigrated to Canada, to Toronto, I remembered it distinctly and I thought about it over the years. Especially as I was getting big in Toronto. I was thinking I wonder if she realizes I am Billy Connolly. We could meet in the street or something. And it would be nice, I would ask her how she was getting on/ is she married/ does she have/ what does she do, and blahdy-blahdy-blah. But as the years went on, it became more of a fantasy. Almost a kind of fetish. Till these days, it’s ridiculous, I can see her running towards me in slow motion. “Billy-y-y!” “Finish what you started!”
I was in Toronto a few years ago, I was making a movie called The Boondocks Saints. “And the nominees are…” And I got five days off in the middle of it. Which isn’t really unusual. And I’m very much a creature of habit. I do the same thing about most days. And in every town I play in the world I have a walk that I do. The same walk. I have one in London, but I’m not telling you what it is because you’ll follow me. You want a fucking selfie. Actually, I don’t mind doing selfies but please, if you ever meet me and you want a selfie, have your sfuff ready. Don’t make me stand there as you go through your fucking bag looking for your camera. ‘Cause it looks as if I’ve asked yo to do it, you know.
Well, in Toronto, I had five days off, as I told you, and I did the walk five days in a row. And it’s just a huge old… —music shops, book shops, clothes shops, cigar stores. And it ends up at a coffee shop on a street called Dundas. And I walked in the first day in, there was a guy in the doorway, a sort of down-and-out, homeless guy, with a cup. And he said, “Any change?” And I had loads, I said, “I’ve got loads here”. “Thanks, buddy.”—”No problem, allright then.” Had a coffee, and got a homeless magazine, which has two great crosswords in it. So went back to my hotel to do the crosswords. My life is a ball of fire. Second day—exactly the same. “Thanks, buddy.” Coffee, magazine, back home. Third day: “Thanks, buddy.” —”No problem.” Coffee, magazine, back home. On the fourth day I didn’t wait for him to ask. I just put money in his cup. And he says, “You don’t have to give me money every time you see me.” I said, “I’m quite aware of that.” “You little cunt.” I thought he had it coming. Fuck ‘m!
It’s not a word they use usually, especially over on that side of the Atlantic. It frightens the bejeesus out of them. Although they take “motherfucker’ like nothing happened. But being a Glaswegian, I’m used to it, you know. It doesn’t really mean anything. You know, you use it in all sorts of circumstances. When you try to remember a film star’s name. People are giving you all sorts of names, you say, “No, no, not him, some other cunt, it’s …” I actually heard in Glasgow, “Who’s that cunt with the Pope?” And they don’t seem to realize you don’t need to be a complete cunt, you can break it up …??? “What you think of the Prime Minister?” “Seems a bit of a cunt to me.” And he does. But just … close your eyes and think of Donald Trump. Now, there is a cunt.
During these debates I was just waiting for another one of those politicians to say, “Mister Trump, do you think I think you’ve got hair?” “Is that what you think of me?” That fucking thing.
I don’t know why guys do that, and… and the wigs, those fucking wigs you can see for a mile and a half. My crew and I used to have a thing called “Spot the Irish.” You know, you’d be in a place like an airport, and you go, “Spot the Irish”. Goes, “Got it, got it,” you spot some guy with a fucking thing sticking up at the back. And the best one I ever saw was in Bangkok, I’ll never forget him. He lives in my mind. We go off to stretch the legs, you know, on the way to Australia. We are coming back, and there was one of those cues to get back on the plane, like Disneyland, you know, one of those… And there was an overpowering smell of perfume and aftershave, these guys seem to just pour it on. And I said, “Spot the Irish,” and I go, “Oh, fuck!” I never saw one like it. He had one of those Roy Orbison jobs on, you know. One of those ones that turns up at the back like a German helmet. It was black and shiny. Was like somebody had melted an album on his head.
I’ll tell you another great one. New Zealand. There is a guy called Harvey, he is a promoter in New Zealand. He’s not my promoter, but he’s a pal of my promoter. And we got kind of friendly, and when I’m coming to New Zealand, he comes to meet me with my promoter, about 6 in the morning. It’s very nice of him, you know, just to say hello. He has the worst wig you’ve ever seen. It looks like an abandoned bird’s nest, you know. It’s supposed to gray, and it’s gone kind of yellow and strange. You know those ones? And I used to say to my promoter, “Why does he wear that fucking thing?” He said, “Oh, I don’t know, I’ve given up over the years.” And I go there every four years, so about 12 years passed. And I went back, and he didn’t have it on. It’s just he’s bald, he looked great bald. And I said to my promoter, “What happened to the Irish?” He said, “Oh, fuck,” he said, “Rod Stewart came in.” And this guy was promoting Rod Stewart. Now, Rod Stewart’s crew are famous nutters, you know? He had taken them for dinner. In the middle of the dinner one of them flambéed his wig.
Now, at this point I’m going to explain my health issues to you. I’ll save you symptom spotting. I’ve got Parkinson’s disease, and I wish he’d fucking kept it to himself, but there you go. The Parkinson guy, I got my daughter to Google it. He’s James Parkinson, who studied it at the beginning of the century. And it used to be called “shaking palsy.” Fuck, I’m glad he showed up. It affects the left side of me mostly—the weird walk, and this shakes a bit, this left hand. But as I’m doing the show tonight you’ll notice, or maybe you won’t, but you probably will. This hand climbs up like this. When I’m talking about something else it thinks I’m not noticing and climbs up there. The strangest thing is if I look at it it dashes away guiltily. Lately it’s been climbing up and I’ve just ignored it and it’s come up and joined this one. I looked like Saint Theresa or something. So that will happen, just ignore it.
I met Ian Holm, the actor, who suffers from it, and he has had it longer than me. And he says, “Do you shake much—your hands?” And I said, “No, but when I’m nervous or when I’m tired, it shakes a bit.” He said, “Oh, yeah, it probably will, yeah.” He said, “I’ll give you a bit of advice.” “If it shakes, just stick it in your pocket.” He forgot to mention jacket pocket. Which was strange, because he had told me a wee story before that, a wee funny story. He was in an art gallery, the Royal Academy on Piccadilly. A big art exhibition, he was looking at a big nude, on his own. “Hey, get the fuck out of there!”
Well, I’m glad you find Parkinson’s funny. You’re gonna love the cancer. I’ve got prostate cancer. And it’s over now, you know, they’ve got it all cleared, they whipped it out, I pee like a race horse. And I went back to the doctor after about two months for an appointment, and… He started to ask me very personal questions. He said, “Can you still achieve erection?” I said, “Oh, yes.” I’m thinking, “Don’t ask me to show you, please.” He says, “‘Cause we have various pills and potions, you know, and…” “we have a…” “a little class for penile rehabilitation.” I thought, “I’m not sitting in a circle wanking with strangers.” And everything is in working order, except I have orgasm but I don’t ejaculate, because… that’s what the prostate does. And it’s not there anymore, so… Nobody in my house sleeps in a wet patch.
I’ll tell you one that may have the men in the room crossing their legs. I went back to work, I think I went back a wee bit early. I was doing a film about death, and funerals and stuff, and we were in New Orleans, and I got all… painful in this department. And I went to the hospital, and the guy said, “I think we’ll have to flood your bladder and have a look.” And I said, “Sure.” So he put me on this big table. Naked. And there was a beautiful Jamaican nurse, holding my penis. It was more like that. She was really nice and very, very beautiful, and I’m trying to get in touch with my penis. And I’m saying to it, “Don’t fucking move!” The doctor came with these three silver things over his arm. Catheters. He said, “This is the water”, and he put it in my willy, and shoved it in. He started to flood it. And I got an overwhelming desire to piss up in the air. I thought, “Oh, God, please, don’t pee over the big Jamaican.” And he said, “This is the camera and the light,” and it went in. He said, “Would you like to watch this?” I said, “Sure.” A big screen lit up on the wall. Just like the one you have at home, those big buggers. It was like an aquarium, it was really strange. With seaweed doing this in the bottom. It was mostly pink. And the light came through, and the camera, and he’s pointing out points of interest. He said, “This is your sphincter.” I said, “What’s it doing there?” ‘Cause I’ve thought your sphincter was your bum hole. Apparently, you have more than one sphincter.
I kind of like my bum hole. ‘Cause it’s a circular muscle, it’s very interesting the way it works—like a lens in a camera. And it’s function in life is to keep your arse closed. For obvious reasons, you know. ‘Cause otherwise you would drown in a bath, wouldn’t you? That’s why they invented soap on a rope.
Well… The tour went on, “Oh, this is this, and this is that, points of interest, and this is this, and…” And he was down among the seaweed, and he came upon a piece of white plastic. And a piece of metal, both the same size. And both of us at the same time said, “What the fuck’s that?” It’s been left in from the operation, and it got loose and gone adrift. He said, “Oh, we’ll have to get that out”, and I said, “I couldn’t agree more.” He sent in this other thing that worked like this. And he was working it. It’s a bit like those things at a side show, it’s a crane and you try to lift things. And every time he got near it me and the big Jamaican went, “O-o-o-o-oh!” “O-o-o-oh! Nearly had it!” And about the fifth attempt he got both of them —”O-o-oh! Ay-e-e-e!” He brought it up. He says, “We’ll have to get them out of there”, and I thought… I was trying to remember the tour but I couldn’t remember seeing any emergency exits. I thought, “Oh, you don’t mean it has to go out the way it got in?…” “I’m afraid so.” He said, “Do me a favour, could you move—” It was the sneakiest thing I ever had done to me. He said, “Could you move the toe next to your big toe?” I went to look, and he went — Don’t get prostate cancer. I know you were planning to but don’t.
I’ll talk about Scotland. I don’t actually live there anymore. I live in New York. What? You’re gonna tell me where to live, you nosey fucker? I live in New York, I sold the house in Scotland. It was in Aberdeenshire. Some nights I think I should just bring a map and read out town names. I was in Aberdeenshire, it was 3.5 hours from Glasgow, and one day I had an errand to do in Glasgow. I forget what the errand was, but of no importance. And I knew I was gonna have to drive 3.5 hours to Glasgow. But it was a Saturday, I thought, “Oh, great, I will hear the football in the car on the radio.” I thought, “I know what I’ll do: I’ll drive into Aberdeen, I’ll get a huge cigar. And I’ll smoke during the games, and that’ll be it— I’ll be driving down there, I wouldn’t call the Queen my Granny. Keeping the windows open just enough to let enough smoke out and enough air in, and that’s what I call a holiday.
So I drove into Aberdeen to get myself a cigar. Come down Union Street, and I turned into Market Square. Now, I didn’t know it was called Market Square at the time. That will become obvious as the story goes on, and on, and on… Right in front of me it was a toy shop, and in front of that there was a huge armoured car. You know, those cars that deliver money to banks and pick up money from banks, get bars in the windows and all that. Well, the only parking space was right behind it, on a double yellow line. I thought, “Fuck it, if he can do it, so can I.” “I am Billly Connolly, there must be an occasional benefit.” So I pulled up behind him. And I wanted to get out and go to the cigar store. But my car was suddenly completely surrounded by Aberdeen supporters on the way to their match. They’d spotted me and wanted autographs, about 50 or 60 guys. So I put the window down, and I was signing; mostly on money. Fives, tens, twenties. ‘Cause working men seldom carry autograph books. Signing, signing, signing, signing, signing. “There you go.” “Could you put it to Alistair, Montgomery, and Dimpner?” “No.” “You want your name, you stand over at the other corner and do fucking autographs.” “There.”
Eventually, they all disappeared, and I went to get my cigar. Now, the cigar store was just a little kiosk. Against the wall of House of Fraser in Market Square. It isn’t there anymore. It’s been shut down thanks to the efforts of those fucking non-smoking zealots. Who should mind their own business. They… oh, they get on my fucking nerves. “Do you know that can kill you?” “Yes, so can boredom, it just takes longer.” They’ve even taughth their children to do it. “Do you know that can kill you?” “Do you know I can kill YOU?” “Into the ground you would go, like a nail.” “You, little fucker.” Do you know who they remind me of? The brown bread / white bread brigade. Pains in the arse. You’re just about to eat a lovely big white bread sandwich. “Do you know they put bleach and poison…” Poison, you fucking twit. “Yeah, and it’s fucking delicious.” I like to say to them, “I hate brown bread, you never know when it’s toasted.” But I like to… And those seeds always get stuck where your fillings used to be. But I like to ask them, “You eat brown bread your whole life.” “I eat white bread my whole life.” “How much longer are you gonna live then me?” A fortnight? Ten days? Don’t say ’20 years’, you know that’s crap. We are talking a fortnight. But it isn’t a fortnight when you’re 18, shagging everything that walks in front of you. No, it’s a fortnight when you’re in an old folks’ home pissing your trousers. Being fed out of a blender. By those women who speak loud to you just because you’re old. “Ah, Mr Connolly, get it down there, that’ll do you good.” And you know all three courses are in that fucking blender. ‘Cause you’ve got a peep in and you’ve seen the broccoli swimming about in the custard. “Get it down, you, there you go.” “Sticks to your ribs, doesn’t it, aye?” “There you…” And you know you’re getting really old because your tongue comes out when the spoon’s only halfway to your face. “There you go…” “There you go Mr Conn…” “I’ll tell you what, Mr Connolly, it’s of a steamy in here, isn’t it—steamy.” “Have you been pissing your trousers again?” “I’ll tell you something else, Mr Connolly…” “You’re looking…” “You’re looking awful sad—” “It’s an awful sad expression in your face.” “Is that because your friends are all dead?” “That was the white bread crowd.” “But you’ve got two weeks to go.” “Stick this spoon in my eye!”
Over. I can’t… I got my cigar. And I went back to my car, and I took off. I was going up Union Street, heading for the ??? Stop laughing, you prick. I just got to the Queen Victoria Statue, and I hear the siren: I look in the mirror and there is a police car behind me, and I thought, “Oh, shit”. And then he said, “Will the driver of the red Range Rover pull into the first street on the left?” “The driver of the red Range Rover, pull into the first street on the left.” “Aye, you.” So I drove into this wee street, and I stopped, and thought, “I know what I’ll do: I’ll leap out like a gazelle.” Just to show them how sober I am. And that’s what I did, but I met a policeman standing there. He must have parked and run up to my car. And he reached out and grabbed my cuff. And put his fingers in, and did a weird twisting thing. Was tightening my jacket around my sleeve. It’s a thing policemen do when they don’t have handcuffs with them. Now, if you were a Glasgow audience you’d be going, “I know, Bill, I know, I know.” I said, “What’s it, folks, what’s going on here?” “I’ll have it all explained, Mr Connolly, just come with me.”
We went back to the squad car, and they sat me in the back between two cops. And they were fucking about with the radio, and they couldn’t get it to work. “Hello, hello, hello?” “Hello, hello, hello, hello.” “Hello, hello?” “HELLO!” “Hello, hello?” Eventually this woman’s voice came on, “Hello, Inspector MacCorkindale here.” You could tell by her voice she was ugly, it was really strange. “Who am I speaking to?” “Constable McBumforty here.” That wasn’t his name, I just made it up. She says, “Have you got the driver of the Range Rover.” He says, “We have, indeed.” “And it might surprise you to know it’s Billy Connolly.” There was a wee confab on the other end of the line. “… … , Billy Connolly?” “… … comedian.” “You think it’s the same guy?” “I don’t know, you better ask him.” “Is that Billy Connolly the comedian?” So I’m desperate to say, “No, it’s Billy Connolly the donkey shagger.” “Can I help you?” I said, “O-o-oh!”, I said, “I know what it’s about.” “It’s because I parked behind that van.” “Look, I’m really… it was a stupid thing to do and I won’t be doing that again, I’m sorry.” She says, “No, it’s not about… Well you shouldn’t have done that.” “It’s not about that.” “Were you parked in Market Square?” I said, “I have no idea.” I said, “I was parked next to the cigar shop, at the House of Fraser.” She says, “That’s Market Square.” And I said, “Well, in that case, yes, I was parked at Market Square.” She says, “What were you doing there?” I said, “I was buying a cigar.” “… … buying a cigar, … ” “Ask him what else was he doing.” “What else were you doing?” “Nothing.” “I just drove away.” “Weren’t you talking to some people?” I said, “Oh, yeah, yeah!”, said I was doing autographs for some Aberdeen supporters. “… oh, writing autographs, … ” “What were you signing these autographs on, Mr Connolly?” I said, “Money.” “Fives, tens, twenties.” “Working men seldom have autograph books, he-he-he.” “Can you tell me what this is about?” She says, “Well, I’m sure I can tell you, I’m sure you’re completely innocent here.” “We were watching you on closed-circuit television.” “And you happened to be talking to three of the biggest drug dealers in Aberdeen.” “And all we could see was money changing hands.” I swear it’s true. And I said, “Well, you can search my car, I’ve got nothing to do with drugs.” She says, “I understand, that’s fine, you can go on your way, Mr Connolly.” “And I’d appreciate it if you didn’t mention this to anybody.” I said, “My lips are sealed.”
Don’t know why I bother doing this. Being Scottish I shouldn’t be a comedian at all, we are a fucking melancholy bunch. When the sun comes out in Scotland, we go, “Oh, fuck, we’ll pay for this.” I know a guy in Scotland who loved his wife so much he almost told her one day. I love telling you these wee stories. I was summoned to the Office of Births, Marriages and Deaths in Edinburg. And I happily went to. They wanted to talk to me because they doing an exhibition. To encourage people to come and look into their backgrounds, you know, the family backgrounds, and use their equippment. So they’d get ten famous Scottish people. And they had done theirs and you could go and look at it and see what you thought, you know. Ten famous Scots—ther was Sean Connery, me, and eight other guys. I just do that to irritate Ewan McGregor. Brian Cox, how do you fucking like that? And they made a great job of it, you know.
So when I went through and it was great, and of course, there’s lots of other famous Scottish people. You know Alan Cumming? Well, I did a gig in Holliwood. It was for BAFTA, the British Academy. And I was presenting Britannia Awards to Americans who’d been in British movies. And it was a nice night, and everything went rather well. The following year they got Alan Cumming to do it, so I had to show up and hand over to him, that’s the way they do it. And I’d always been dying to meet him anyway, ’cause I think he is amazing. Plus he comes from Carnoustie in the East Coast of Scotland, And I had a holiday there when I was ten, and I was dying to tell him. Not only that, Carnoustie is very close to Arbroath. You’re getting to be fucking boring! And I lost my virginity in Arbroath, and I was dying to tell him that as well. So I met him, and we go “How’re you doing? I love your work, da-da-da-da-da, I believe you come from Carnoustie,” he said, “Yeah.” I said, “I had a holiday there when I was ten, I had a lovely time.” He said, “That’s nice.” I said, “And I lost my virginity in Arbroath.” And his answer will go to my grave with me. He said, “I passed my driving test there.” I said, “I think I won.”
But the Birth, Marriages, and Death was great. There was a woman called Morrison, I think her name was, was a historian. She took me through the history of my family, you know, from Galway, and the Isle of Mull, and all that, and it was all very interesting. And she said, “What do you think?” I said, “I’m delighted.” She said, “You’re not disappointed?” I said, “Why would I be disappointed? She says, “Well, some people, “when they realize their family is all peasants, they get disappointed.” I said, “I’m delighted about that,” I said, “I love peasant stuff, I love peasant food, music, literature. I said, “Why would I be disappointed?” She said, “That’s a very refreshing attitude.” I said, “I’m a very refreshing kind of person, Ms Morrison.” I said, “I can’t believe people get disappointed.” She says, “Oh, fff…” “Last week we had a big fat middle class woman in here.” Well, it was just “a woman,” I added those other bits. There’s a bitchy side of me, I’m gonna have to do something about it. Said she was really disappointed to find that her great-great Granny’s name was Fanny Kissing. I said, “Why was she disappointed, it’s my hobby.”
If you ever get a chance, you should go to that place, it’s brilliant, they’ve got brilliant stuff. She changed into white gloves, I thought she was going to do an Al Jolson impersonation. “Oh, Mammy!” But it was to go and get this certificate, it was the birth certificate of Mary Queen of Scots. I’ve actually held it in my hands, I was trembling, it was a magnificent thing. I couldn’t believe it. I mean, she was executed just around the corner from where I was standing. It was extraordinary. And then she went away and got another one. Rob Roy McGregor. What a prick. He was a spy for the English against the Scots, and a spy for the Scots against the English. He was a murderer and a thief. He was almost 7 feet tall. And they said he could tie his bootlaces standing up. He must have been the most peculiar shape. Now, I dislike him because of the movie Rob Roy, which seems a bit unfair. But if you abide with me. If you saw it you remember a scene where someone has stolen his cattle. And he and his men are up in the hill, looking for them, and one of them jumps over a fence into a field. “Ah, there’s nee coos here, Robert. [cows] “Wait a minute!” He finds a cow shit. He takes a big bite out of it. “They been gone two hours, Rob.” I am here to inform you: The people of Scotland do not tell the time by eating shit. My grandfather lived to the age of 93. Never once did I see him go into his waistcoat pocket, pulling out dog shit, having a bite, and saying, “Fuck, is that the time already?” Never once!
You’d have liked my grandfather ??? I loved him but I don’t think he liked me. I don’t think he liked anybody. He liked living alone and complaining a lot. 7 minutes was the longest meeting I ever had with him. And I was telling Pamela before she met him, my wife. I took her to meet him, and he came to the door, and he says, “Oh, hello, Billy—you must be the lovely Pamela, come in, come in, come in.” And I told her to check her watch on the way in. ‘Cause we’re going for the record here. 7 minutes is the record. So he said, “Sit on the couch there, aye, that’s lovely, I’ll get you a cup of tea?” “Tea and a bisquit, how does that sound, aye, right.” Goes away into the kitchen, there’s a lot of crashing and banging. “Who left this here?!” Lives alone. Then he comes wondering out, no teapot, no cups, no nothing, no bisquits. He comes up to me and says, “Well, I’m sure you are a very busy man.” Which is middle class Scots’ for “fuck off”. We get outside the door, I said, “How did we do?” —”Six minutes.” —”Yes!”
Well, I was in Oban, just north of Fort William, I was fishing. Fly fishing is my hobby, and I was fishing, I was catching nothing. And a guy in the same position joined me on the river bank, he said, “You catching anything?” I said, “Not a sausage.” He says, “There are sausages in here?” I said, “Oh, f … ….” He says, “I’m surprised you’re here at all.” I said, “What gives you that surprise?” He said, “Your pals are down at Fort William.” I said, “Who is it?” “Liam Neeson, Brian Cox are there.” I said, “What are they doing? He said, “Rob Roy, the movie.” “I thought you’d be down there.” I said, “I think you’ve given me a good idea.”
So I showed down there and I had dinner with the boys. And we’d a great time and a good laugh. Now, they told me a story about making Rob Roy, I think that happened during the movie. Now, they swear it’s true. And I think it’s true. And if I tell it properly you’ll think it’s true. So. They were up on the hill one day, in all the kilts, in all the Rob Roy heavy tweed coats, and a… and Jacobite kilt, it’s up at the front, down at the back, and… big heavy plaid, and a big hat, and a lace jabot, and a belt, and boots. And it was a really hot day in Scotland. And they were… As a matter of fact, it was THE really hot day in Scotland. They were climbing up the hill, covered in sweat. And they had no underwear on, ’cause they were doing it all authentic and all. And there was millions of midges, g-g-g-g-g, biting the bollocks off them. “Oh, Jeesus, oh, fucking hell.” Passers-by thought it was formation highland dancing. And they weren’t filming. They were just climbing up the hill. And the reason they weren’t filming is, there was no armourer there. Now, the armourer’s in charge of all the weapons and all the safety on the film, and you mustn’t start filming without him. But he was away in the middle of the highlands, lost, in his van, trying to find them. He was in his van, full of guns, and bombs, and swords, and daggers. And a map on his knee, going, “Holy shit, where am I gonna find these fucking people?”
Now, everybody hates the armourers anyway because they never let you play with their stuff. They are always checking the safety of the guns, “There you go, let me see it again, let me see it again, again, again.” “Put that… don’t do that, don’t do this, don’t do fucking that.” I’ll give you an example. When I was doing Boondocks Saints in Toronto, I had a scene to do, and I was desperate to do it. I was an assassin in the movie. I had a long black coat on, and a leather waistcoat down to here. And on the waistcoat I had six 9 millimiter pistols, four Glocks and two Berettas. And had to blow the shit out of this building. And halfway between me and the building was Willem Defoe doing a dance. He was a gay detective, Doing a fantasy dance. There was a car behind me that was to be blown up by special effects. And I’ve got a cap on and a cigar which I’m biting on, and sunglasses. So the director was talking to me, and he says, “Here’s what I want you to do.” He says, “I want you to take out the first two guns,” “Empty them at the house, smiling and chewing your cigar.” “When they are empty, just throw them, you don’t give a shit about them.” “Take the next two, the same, booboomboomboomboomboom.” “Throw them to hell.” “Now, with the last two, cross your arms, and grab the two, and spin.” “And when you get back, whip them out, empty them at the house, and throw them away.” “You think you can do that?” I said, “I was fucking born to do that!”
So he goes away to the camera guys. And I’m standing, going over it: “Motherfucker!” See, I’ve started adding bits already. And I hear: “Mr Connolly!” “Mr Connolly!” “Mr Connolly!” I said: “Where the fuck are you?” “Over here.” It was the armourer. He was poking his head around the side of the fender of the car, he was on his hands and knees. I said, “What are you doing here? We are about to start.” He said, “I realize it, Mr Connolly. I heard the director talking to you.” “And he was telling you to throw the guns away.” “Well, they are in beautiful condition and they are very expensive.” “Do you think instead you can hand them to me?” I said, “Rearrange these words into a popular phrase or saying:” “Yourself, fuck, go.” I mean, can you imagine? “Motherfucker!” I don’t think so.
Well, he is lost in the highlands, he has a map on one knee, he’s driving through these villages, he doesn’t know where he is. ‘Cause the villages have all Gaelic names, you know, nine consonants, no vowels. “Jesus, how do you pronounce that?” he says, “This must have been discovered by a guy with a cleft palate.” “nmnmbmbmbnmn” And the next one had ten vowels and no consonants. ‘Cause in Scotland we sometimes communicate with phlegm. That’s pronounced “Hanghakhakhanakha.”
Now, it’s disgraceful to make fun of people with speech impediments. And I’ve just done it. And I’m not the least bit sorry. ‘Cause it’s a good laugh.
When I was about 12 we used to roam about the streets at night, me and my friends. Quite innocently playing games with stuff in shop windows. And there was a shop near us, always puzzled me, it was a surgical store. They don’t seem to have them anymore. They sold condoms and things like that. And trusses for people with hernias. And they had these pictures of naked people with this stuff on them— straps, and buttons, and belts. And you couldn’t help but make the distinction in sex between buckles, and belts, and condoms, and that’s the case for the defense, your honor. But we had a good laugh. Now, it was called Saul Sade’s Surgical Store, was the name of the store. And the guy who owned it had a speech impediment. He had a “thrshshshsh” You know, you would never see him in a “silk suite” Or, even less, a “seersucker suite.” Well, me and my pals used to phone him. We’d squeeze into a phone box. Four pennies in the machine. And I was the guy who had to play to be a man. “Hello? Who am I speaking to?” He would, “Thaul Thade Thurgical Thtore.” My pals are saying, “Don’t laugh, don’t laugh.” “Do the thing you practiced.” “OK, OK, OK.” “Do you specialize in sexual aids for senior citizens?” “What’th that?” “Do you specialize in sexual aids for senior citizens?” “What? Thexual aidth for thenior thitizens?” “Ith that you, Billy Connolly, I know your voithe!” “I’ll get your arse!”
So the guy’s lost in the highlands. He’s sweating, he cannot find the film company, gone, “Oh, fuck.” He turns right into a village. It’s one of typical Scottish highland village: just two rows of houses and a road. He turns right, and he’s trying to fold the map at the same time. He looks up just too late to save a cat tha’s run accross the road. A big tomcat. Hit’s it with both sets of wheels, you know. “Oh, fuck.” “Poor bastard.” He gets out and he looks back, and there in the gutter, about ten feet back, there’s a cat: This is a bit especially for cat lovers. I’ve had them standing up, saying, “For God’s sake, that’s enough!” He says, “Oh, Jesus, it’s in misery.” “Where’s my toolbox?” Gets a hammer. He goes up to the cat. “Sorry, pal, if it was up to me, this wouldn’t be happening.” “But, unfortunately, this is the way of all flesh.” “Cheerio.” Right in the face.
No sooner has he done it, when the cottage door opens, and a big woman comes out with flour up to her elbows. She’s been making scones all day. Like every decent Scottish woman should. “What the fuck do you think you’re doing?!” “Hitting my cat in the face with a hammer?!” You don’t get many opportunities in your life to ask that question. “I was in there making scones and I saw you hitting in the face with a hammer, you fucking psychopath. Are you from Glasgow by any chance? “Oh, you don’t understand, missis, I hit it with my van.” “What, was the hammer not good enough for you?” “No, I hit it with the van first.” “And that put it in agony, then I hit it with a …” “Oh, that makes it alright, is it?” “No, you don’t seem to understand…” “I’ll tell you what I do understand, you’re in deep shit.” “Charlie! Charlie!” The next cottage door opens, and a policeman comes walking out. “Aye, what seems to be the trouble, Heather?” “I hope you’ve got a good excuse here, I was just about to interfere with myself there.” “The smell of them scones was turning me right on.” She says, “This bastard hit my cat in the face with a hammer.” “What are you doing hitting cats in the face with hammers?” “Oh,” he says, “it was in agony.” She says, “No, it wasn’t, Charlie. “It was sunbathing, I was making scones, and I looked through the windie. “and I saw it sunbathing, and he walked up and hit it in the face with a hammer.” “Oh, you don’t understand,” he says. “I hit it with my van.” He says, “So the hammer’s not good enough for you?” “Oh, give me a break.” He’s, “I’ll tell you what, come on, we’ll have a look at that van of yours.” So they go along to see the van. “Open it up.” He opens, it’s full of guns and bombs. “Holy shit!” “Are you with these ISIS bastards?” He says, “No, no, I’m an armourer on a movie.” He says, “What is that?” He says, “I’m in charge of the weapons, and their safety, and all that.” “And where is the movie?” He says, “Fort William, I cannot find it, that’s why I’m here.” “I’ll give you directions, don’t worry about that.” He said, “I’ll have to check the rest of your van now.” “Should I?” —”Go ahead.” He’s on the side, and gets those rubber mud guards at the back. He pulls up, and he looks under. And in the wheel arch there’s a dead cat. Do you hope it’s true? It was sunbathing. It was dreaming about chasing mice through the glen.
I’ve become an avid listener to Radio 4. I think I may be getting old. I still like rock’n’roll and everything, but I get so tired listening to disk jokeys’ inane pish. Being told the time all the time. I can’t take it anymore. “In 4 minutes it will be 3 minutes to 2 minutes past one.” I can tell the time, I’ve got a watch, fuck off. I hate it so much. And people complain about Radio 4, saying it’s old-fashioned. It’s lovely, they’re professional people. They just take the time. And it’s got a lot of people who specialize in one thing, and I really like that. Somebody who specializes in one thing and doesn’t veer from it. Well, I was on tour, and I was in Cardiff. I was having a shower in a hotel. And the speaker, the great luxury of a speaker in the shower. And I was waiting for the program that had been advertised, it was about heckling. And I thought it would be interesting to hear, to see if I recognize any of the stuff. And… And as it turned out, they didn’t have enough material to do it, so they had to share it with a program on revenge. And that was on first. And it was very interesting, there was a woman describing revenge, and she said, that women were much more into revenge than men. Men tend to lash out, she said. Yeah, fucking bitch. Stab you. Have some of that. Share this between ears. These are Glasgow expressions. My favourite one is: “Keep your jacket on, I’ll knock you out of the fucking thing.” But she said, women are more inclined to say, “My day will come.” “You’ll be sleeping, and I’ll have a bread knife.”
And she told story of a woman in London, she lived with an airline pilot. And he phoned her from South Africa, he sounded a real bastard. He may even have been a cunt. He phoned her up and he said, “Listen, bitch,” “Get your shit out of my house by Friday, I’ve got a new bitch moving in.” Sounds like a rascal to me, a raffian. Well, of course, she was broken-hearted. And she broke down in tears. And eventually she got over it and packed her stuff. And was about to move out and discovered that her stereo equipment was far to heavy to carry, she’d have to come back and get it, you know, with the big speakers and all. So she was writing a note to that effect when she got this idea. And she nipped out to the fishmonger’s, and she got a bag of shrimps, and came back, unpicked the hem on the curtain in the main room. Put a line of shrimps and sewed it up again. Then she left a note that she’d be back on Friday for the stereo. The following Friday she showed up, and he was at the door. “Oh, you’re here for your stereo? Ah, it’s in the room.” “Listen, when you’re in there, see if you smell anything, I’ve noticed some kind of weird smell in there. “Oh,” she said, “I will.” So she got her stuff, he said, “Did you smell anything?” —”No.” She left. Six weeks later she met him in the stores when she was shopping. “How’re you doing?” He said, “Oh, I’m in fucking misery.” He says, “Even as we speek, the plumbers are up in my living room pulling up the floor boards.” “They think there’s something dead under the floor.” “And the police have shown an interest, they are coming to dig the garden up tomorrow.” And she says, “Oh, that’s a shame.” Six weeks later one of the neighbors told her he had moved away. And took the curtains with him.
Well, the heckling programme came on after that. And it was a bit of a disappointment, I’d heard it all before. Apart from one. The last one. Which turned my blood to ice. It was a phone-in from London, the guy said he was in a London comedy club. And a complete novice got up, it must have been a kind of open mike night. And a novice got up, and he’s trying his best, and he said, “My wife’s away on holiday to Jamaica. Oh, no, no, I’m not supposed to tell you that, I’m sorry.” “I’m supposed to just say, ‘My wife’s…’ and it isn’t Jamaica anyway, it’s Barbados, I think.” “Or is it Bahamas?” “But anyway, I’m supposed to say, ‘My wife’s away on holiday,’ and you say,” “‘Where to?’ And I say, ‘Jamaica,’—I said, but it isn’t Jamaica, it’s some other…” “what was it? I can’t… Bahamas?” “Bahamas, or Barbados, or whatever it is,” and a voice… came from the darkness. It might even have been the devil. “You’re not funny and nobody likes you.” “You should have remembered that from school.” Isn’t that a bastard? I think I remember right, it was a cunt.
But anyway, I’ll tell you about the worst heckler I ever had. It was in Dundee University Folk Club. I used to be a folk singer, and I played the banjo. Now, the banjo is a nice instrument, and it’s kinda complicated, but the songs leave a bit to be desired. So usually about chicken pie, and cuckoos, and things like that. And I love it, I don’t give a fuck. But I was entertaining in this… and I was going down pretty badly, it was a bad night. There was a jukebox at the back of the room, which was supposed to be switched off, and some prick kept switching it on. So in the middle in my “Chicken Pie” I kept getting “Awopbopaloobop alopbamboom.” And a dog had wondered in and had a piss. And left, and didn’t even stay. So I was doing a song called “There’s A Rabbit In The Log.” It’s a great song, it’s about a rabbit stuck in a hollow log, and it can’t get out. It’s full of suspense. “Oh, there’s a rabbit in the log, and I ain’t got no dog.” And this prick in the audience went, “Needle of Death.” I said, “I’m sorry?” Sing “Needle of Death.” I said, “Needle of Death?!” I said, “That’s a song about heroin addiction.” I said, “If you noticed, this is a fucking banjo.” “Banjos don’t do heroin addiction.” “If they did, it would sound like, ‘Oh, fuck, I’m hooked on smack again.'” I said, “It’s a good song. Bert Jansch is a great guy, a great writer.” “But the minute I heard it I didn’t learn it because I knew I wouldn’t be singing it.” “‘Cause I’m a banjo player.” “So that’s it, don’t ask again. You’ll like these verses about a chicken.” “There’s a chicken on the limb, and he got mind on him.” “Needle of Death.” I said, “I told you, I don’t know the fucking thing!” “Why do you keep asking, I told you I don’t know the words, I don’t know the chords, how could I possibly sing it?” “Don’t ask again.” “Needle of Death.” “Stay where you are.”
I went up the aisle, along the row. Asking people, “Was it you?”—”No.” “You?” “Who? The fat prick with the moustache?” “So I got up to him and I said, “Are you the guy who’s asking for ‘Needle of Death’?” He said, “Yeah.” And I went, !!! And I gave him the order of the fat lip. It’s the biggest mistake I ever made. He was the treasurer, I didn’t get a fucking penny.
I’ve had some shit nights in my life. Did I ever tell you about the dead guy? A dead guy in an audience can really fuck the night up. I had this friend, called Les Smith, who was a splendid guitarist and singer. And he had parents who were brilliant as well, they had a little country band. They sometimes played together, but most of the time he was just a solo guy. Well, his mother had phoned and asked me to do a charity with them, they were gonna be together. And would I come and play my autoharp? ‘Cause she liked the way I played it. The autoharp is like a zither. You play up here, play Appalachian hillbilly music. As a matter of fact, There may be some of you in here, those people who’ve said, “I wish I’d learned an instrument back then, I’d be good by now.” This is the one for you. It’s the only instrument you can play as soon as you get it home from the shop. As long as it’s in tune. It’s got 36 strings, and 12 bars, each bar is a chord. Some have got different number of bars, 15, or 12. Well, you know what numbers are, I won’t then show them, so… So you can accompany yourself that night. Now, I can jigs and reels, and tunes, and that takes a wee bit longer. But stick in. That’s all It was just a little interesting bit of information. You see, the touble with interesting stuff— it doesn’t have a punchline. It just ends, you know. Very interesting now. That was interesting, wasn’t it, aye.
So I agreed to do the gig. She said it was at a hospice. And I didn’t even know what a hospice was, I thought she had a speech impediment. We all turned up at a hospital in Glasgow and they directed us to the hospice. And we were in a big room. There was nothing in it, just us. And floor boards highly polished. Looked like a ballroom. And I said to Les, “Where are the people gonna sit?” “There’s no chairs or anything. Do they lie on the floor or something?” He says, “I don’t know.” But we didn’t have long to wait. There was a door over in the corner. And a bed get pushed in. And it had a draft excluder along the floor, it went: “Pbdum, pdum.” And the guy in the bed went, “Aaaa, aaa!” “Behave yourself, for fuck’s sake!” The guy pushing him: “I’m sorry about that.” “Aaa, well, mind what you’re doing.” Well, that happened 24 times. There was two semicircles of beds. Then the wheelchairs came in. The big exotic ones that look like the Forth Bridge. For guys in traction, you know, like that. Pbum, pb, “A-a-a-a! Fucking, a-a-a-a!” ??? you want a hammer?” Pushing them in. 24 of them. Then the self-propelled wheelchairs. Of morning faced wench bags. “I didn’t want to come here, I wanted to watch Coronation Street.” “Who are they anyway, The Smiths, I never fucking heard of them.” “Oh, look at the big hairy one with the harp.” “That’s a nancy-boy, if ever I saw one.” “Away, you big fucking Jessie!” “How does a puncture sound, you cheeky prick?” “Don’t let this fool you, I’m not a hippie, I like violence, shut the fuck up.” So… We got ready, I said to Les, “I don’t think there’ll be much applause in here tonight, most of the hands are under the covers.” And it went surprisingly well. We started with “Keep on the sunny side, always on the sunny side.” We got a kind of muffled applause at the end. Now, people seldom believe me when I tell them that a guy died when I was singing “Bury Me Beneath The Willow.” But it’s true. “Oh, bury me beneath the willow, under the weeping willow tree.” “When she sees that I am sleeping maybe then she’ll think of me.” And I got to there. Mrs Smith leaned over. And she says, “Take an instrumental break, Bill.” I said, “Certainly.” I got to there, and a guy over here in one of the big wheelchairs, with a yellow tartan blanket over him, went: I said, “That’s the stuff, join in,” “Bury me beneath the willow.” “Under the weeping willow tree.” “When she sees that I am sleeping,” “You are doing well!” “Maybe then she’ll think of me.” And then his tone changed. The holy shit! I went back over, and Les was standing here with his guitar. He says, “What’s wrong?” I said, “That guy just fucking died.” “I was singing with him and he bought the farm right in front of me.” “Fuck off!” I said, “I’m telling you!” “Where is he?” I said, “He’s the one with the yellow blanket.” He says, “I’m gonna look.” “Please yourself.” “Jesus!” “When she sees that I am sleeping…” Said, “He’s dead!” I say, “I just fucking told you that!” Well, they just left the guy there. Nobody pulled the blankets up. Nobody did the magic eyes closing hand. No, nobody put pennies on his … they just left him: ‘Cause that’s what they do in the real world. They just leave you. It’s only in Hollywood they pull the blankets up over your face. And I’ve had proof of this before.
I was on Baffin Island. To my deep disappointment. I was on Baffin Island, which is just to the left of Greenland there, it’s the top of Canada. And I was with the Inuit Eskimo people, I was making one of those travel films. And they’d offered to take me out on a 12-dog sled. Now, if you ever get the offer, to go out on one of those sleds pulled by 12 huskies, say, “No, thank you.” I’ll tell you why. Those dogs fart. Like farting was invented the day before yesterday. I’ve never known… And they all do it at the same time. Holy Jesus, motherfucker! Lumps of dog shit. Now, you know it’s bad enough when your own dog farts in the house. “Oh, God Almighty, Fluffy, behave yourself!” Well, they don’t even have a house. They just lie out in the snow 24/7. They throw them bits of frozen walrus and seal. They lick it till it thaws and then they eat it and they have a kip (nap). And they say, “Come on, we’ll run.” It’s a fucking nightmare. So I’m sitting on the sled. They’d made me a suit from seal skin. A theal thkin thuite. From Thathkatchewan. So I’m sitting up at the front like an Ethkimo. The big Inuit guy stands in the back, standing on the sleds. He’s got a … He’s got a whip. He goes, … ‘Cause he can’t make the whip crack, he has to do that noise with his mouth. He says, “Yataka-a-a, kayaka takaya nakaka takayakaka tayakaka!” I said, “Oh, come on!” He said, “What?” I said, “Whatever happened to ‘mush!’?” “Every Eskimo movie I ever saw, they go, ‘Mush!'” He said, “Oh, that’s a Hollywood word.” He said, “We say,” ‘katayakakaya katakakayaka katayakaka'” He says, “Roughly translated it means, ‘That’s enough of the farting, lads, let’s get some running done.'” I can’t tell you how disappointed I was.
So, anyway… The gig at the hospice ended. And we went home. Went home to the Smiths’ house. ‘Cause they were putting me up for the night. And Mrs Smith was at a wee table, she’s making some toast, she’s a lovely woman, you know. You don’t need to be lovely to make toast, but she was… It doesn’t do any harm at all. I wondered over, and I said to her, “That was a terrible shame tonight, wasn’t it?” She said, “What?” I said, “That guy.” “What guy?” I said, “Come on!” She said, “No, really?” I said, “The guy who died at our gig.” She put the knife down. She said, “Billy Connollly, I’m gonna tell you something, I would like you to remember it.” “Your sense of humor is gonna get you in trouble.” “I just…” I say, “He died.” She said, “Don’t! Don’t make it any worse for yourself.” I said, “Ask Les, he’ll tell you. Your son.” She went, “Leslie!” Full title; deep shit. He came wondering up. She says, “According to your friend here,”—no title; deep shit. “…someone died in the audience today.” He said, “That’s right.” She said, “Oh, I see.” “Two of you against your wee mother.” “You must be so proud of yourselves.” He said, “Mother, it’s true.” She said, “Don’t make it worse. Look,” She says, “I’m gonna phone that hospice in the morning, and I want you two standing here.” He said, “Fair enough.” Stood there.
In the morning we are standing, she phones the hospice. “Hello? Is that the hospice?” “Yes, this is the hospice here.” For some reason, an Aberdonian police woman answered the phone. Actually it was a guy. “Aye, this is the hospice here, can I help you?” She said, “I’m Mrs Smith, I was performing last night with the country band called ‘The Smiths’ there.” He said, “I remember you well, you were brilliant.” She’s, “Oh, I’m glad you enjoyed it”. She says, “Well, you remember, one of the band was a big tall fellow.” “He played the autoharp, he had long hair.” He says, “Oh, aye, the poof.” She says, “Oh, for Goodness’s sake! We don’t like that kind of talk around here.” “Stop it!” “Aye, alright.” She said, “He insinuates that somebody died in the audience last night. Is this true?” He says, “Well, actually, I’m not at liberty to divulge that kind of information.” “But a guy did die right enough.” She says, “Oh, my God!, that’s terrible!” He says, “Not reallly, that’s what they are here for.” “Well, they are here to spend the rest of their life but it comes to the same thing in the end, do you know what I mean?” “As a matter of fact, we lost another one today.” “A particularly sad one, it was a suicide.” She says, “Oh, for God’s sake!” “How, what means did he use to take his life? Did he save up his drugs and take them all at once?” “I believe they do that sometimes.” He says, “Well, actually, I’m not at liberty to divulge the method he used.” “But he jumped out the window.” “And plummeted to his death on the stairs below.” She says, “Oh, for God’s s… Wait a minute,” she says. “We were there last night.” “As far as I can remember, you’re in a bungalow, you’re on the ground floor.” “What’s all this ‘plummeting to your death on the stairs below’?” He says, … “You have to remember, Mrs Smith, old people are very brittle.” Now, at this point in the proceedings, confusing as it may seem, I have to give you a lecture on safety, it’s a Government regulation. Because apparently you’ve been driving like fucking maniacs. Now, eating and drinking while driving is a stupid things to do, I’m sure you realize that. And texting while driving isn’t the most clever thing you’ve ever done. Masturbating while driving is a worry. And smoking while driving can be desperately dangerous. Now, smoking’s dangerous enough itself. I would still smoke today if my wife hadn’t nagged the fucking face off me. And I loved to smoke, I loved to smoke. I used to go to sleep at night thinking about my first smoke in the morning. Ooh, how I loved it. And everybody knows that when you light up a cigarette, God takes an hour of your life and gives it to Keith Richards. I used to smoke non-filtered cigarettes, proper cigarettes, or fags. “Yesss!” But the non-filter has one desperate failing. It sticks to your face sometimes. Not all the time, maybe every six packs, every nine packs you’ll get one that sticks. Now, when I say it sticks to your mouth I don’t mean it has a slight tackiness. I mean it’s welded to your face. You can cajole and coax it and nothing happens. The only thing that’s gonna get it off is a good healthy tug. And if you say the word “uff” when you do it, that helps as well. With one of two results. Either the cigarette will burst— and there’ll be shag all over your face, and this will be unlightable—or you’ll pull a chunk of your lip. And it’s really painful, it bleeds. Well. I was driving down the M1. I had an old Jaguar I bought from a hire company who saw me coming. When you got to 70 it made a weird rumbling noise and things would fly past the window. Like mirrors and things like that. It was a heap of shit, but loved it. I had a radio blaring. ZZ Top on the radio. And I’m giving it plenty … smoking, I was as happy as a clam. And you know how happy clams are. They are the happiest things in this … And it happened. “You, bastard, you!” There was a car in front of me, a car behind me, and a van to my left. I was in in a wee coffin space. Doing about 80. “Fucking…”—Beep, beep. “I’ve a fag stuck to my lip, you crazy bastard!” I decided to go for the “uff”. Neither of the two things I described to you happened. A third thing that had never happened before happened. My fingers slid along the cigarette. And lifted the lit bit off the end. It dropped to my crotch. “Jesus Christ!” “Fucking…!” Can’t move it about. “Jesus!” Beep, beep. “I’m on fire, you crazy bastard!” Smoke started to drift up, I thought, “Oh, shit!” I stood up and I was beating it like this. Those people driving the other way on the motorway, going, “Look at that prick, he thinks he’s on a horse.” Change of scenery. We are now in a pub in Glasgow. We’re in the Scotia bar where I used to play my banjo. It was always full of great players, guitarists, and mandolinists, and violinists, and autoharpers, and accordionists. and writers, and poets, and playwrights, and directors, and producers. A fine cross-section of Glasgow’s unemplyoed at the time. We were over in the left of the pub. In the middle were the guys from the fish market. Giving the place that certain ambiance that it had. And at the other end was a motorcycle outfit called The Blue Angels who looked like mass murderers but were actually rather nice guys. One of them only had half an arm. Like this. It was missing from there down. “Would be hardly be missing from there UP, Billy.” “How does he do that?!” “Amazing!” I swear on my childrens’ life it’s true. Tattoed around the stump: “To be continued.” That describes what the pub was like; it was a fucking madhouse. And into this wondered Gordon one day, with his vertical striped velvet coat, his shoes that turned up at the front, his Brylcreem, his ascot tie, and his violin. And weird look about his face. And I became instantly friendly with him. As it turned out, he only had one eye. He’d lost it in a motoring accident in Spain. But that’s not how we discovered it—just him telling us. That came later. We discovered one day when it was somebody’s birthday. In the pub. “Happy Birthday!” Chink-chink. “Happy Birthday, all the best.” Chink-chink. “Yeah, all the best.” Chink-chink. “Happy Birthday.” Gordon went, “Yeah, Happy Birthday.” “Did you see that?!” “He chinked the glass off his fucking eye!” He was a crazy bloke. He drank Guinness. And when he needed to pee he’d take his eye out and put it in the foam. ‘Cause there was a lot of thieves in the pub, they called them “minesweepers.” “That’s mine—aaaaaa!.” Well, I was walking through the pub one day, and he came in the door with a sling on his arm. You know, the bandage, a sling. I said, “What happened to you?” He said, “You’ll never believe it. I was driving up Sauchiehall Street, I was scratching my good eye. “I ran into the back of a bus.” He thought because his artificial eye was expensive, he could see through it. Now. A sling is a sexy bandage. I’m sure you’ve never thought of it like that yourself. But if you ask any man in here how he felt when another boy walked into the playground at school wearing a sling. I bet he says, “Oh, I wish I’d one of them.” “If I had one of them, Agnes McDonald’s knickers would fly off.” It just happens to be a sexy bandage. As a matter of fact, it’s the second sexiest bandage there is. There are sexy bandages and there are unsexy bandages. Unsexiest bandage is the top of the head bandage tied under the chin. You couldn’t get laid in a brothel with a note from your doctor. I saw a guy in Belfast with one of them on. He was walking up the road at the center of the pavement. The “couldn’t give a fuck” walk. “I couldn’t give a fuck.” Now, if you had one of those bandages, you would’t be doing the “couldn’t give a fuck” walk. You’s be walking close to the wall. In case whatever happened to you happened again. Well… I was… I was being driven down the road. I said to my driver, Billy, I said, “Look at that prick.” His answer lives with me. He said, “Looks like he was talking when he shoul’ve been listening, Bill.” Now, I told you the sling is the second sexiest bandage of them all. The sexiest bandage is only worn by Clint Eastwood and other people who play the lead in Western movies. You’ll have seen them after they’ve been in a great fracas, they’ll be sitting up in bed, stripped to the waist, shining. Glowing with sweat. Talking to the leading lady whose legs are already going. Because he is wearing THE BANDAGE. It goes over one shoulder, ’round the top of the arm, under the arm and across the chest, and under that arm. Leaving this arm free to fuck about. Change of scenery. We’re now on an airstrip in Mozambique. Standing in front of one of those single-engined aeroplanes, one of those Buddy Holly pieces of shit. The ones that sound like eeeeeeeeeee eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee I hate them. I was there for Comic Relief, me and another comedian. The people of Mozambique were suffering from starvation and terror attacks. So we sent two comedians. Fucking liberators. We’re waiting for the pilot. To take us into the interior. Now, whenever you see one of these single-engine pieces of shit, They’ve got terrible habits, like, eeeeeeeeeeeeee eeeeeeee Don’t fucking do that again! But my least favourite: eeeeeeeeEeeeeeeEeeee This is sometimes known as the atheism test. Whenever you see one of these aeroplanes, or any, maybe several of them together, have a look aroung and you’ll see the bore, you’ll find them. He has a blazer, cavalry twills, and suede shoes. And he usually has a moustache. And there’s a badge on the blazer, and it’s on the tie as well. That’s the bore. And he’ll be saying, “That’s real flying.” Yes, real seat-of-the-pants flying. Up and away, over the wide blue yonder “Real flying.” I like to say, “Fuck off.” Real flying is up front in a jumbo, being spoon-fed caviar from a woman with huge tits. Who whispers in your ear that your air miles entitle you to a blowjob. If that’s not flying I don’t know what is. Now, for some reason, when you’re doing these charities in Africa, the people who fly you around tend to be American, fat, born-again Christians. I don’t know why it should be, I only notice this. So we’re standing waiting, and they showed up. Two guys with shorts, flip-flops, and T-shirts. Guy says, “Hi, I’m Chuck, I’m the pilot.” I said, “Fuck off, Chuck.” I said, “Did they sell men’s clothes in the same shop?” He said, “What?” I said, “Yes.” “Go and get lace-up shoes, long trousers, long-sleeve shirt with epaulettes and breast pockets,” “with a packet of Rothmans showing through the pocket,” “hairy arms, a stainless steel Rolex, and a moustache and a hat with an eagle on it, is that too much to ask?” We managed to get around it, and he had us all belted up in the back seat. He said, “Before we go, I think I’ll have a word with the man upstairs.” I said, “Oh, fuck.” “Oh, Lord, look after these pilgrims, they know not what they do.” “They are simple souls, Lord, lead them on their way.” And I’m whispering, “Put the Bible down.” “Put the Bible down.” “Have a look through the manual.” So he gets ready. “Everybody OK?”—”I am fine.” “Everybody OK?”—”I’m OK!” Trees! “Oh, for fuck’s sake!” “Everybody OK?” “Well, I peed a bit there, when you …” “Oh, just be careful.” “Says we’ve to be careful.” “How are we supposed to do that?” “Aha. Excuse me.” “Yeah.” “You were talking to us a second ago, I’m sure you remember. And you were urging us to be careful. Could you tell me of what?” “About what? How am I supposed to be…” “Well, for the last two weeks we’ve been flying over here and the bandits have been shooting up at us.” “Just be careful.” So I’m sitting there, being careful. I thought, there’s some prick down there pointing his rifle up here. We land in the bush. I may be on the news. I may have the bandage. I’m practicing my speech. “It’s not about me, it’s about the children.” Then I thought—wait a minute. I am directly above the guy, and he’s got a rifle. And I’m in a sitting position. He’s not gonna hit me anywhere near here. He’ll shoot me up the arse. Or in the willy. That’s a different kinda bandage altogether. You don’t get on the news with an arse bandage. A big nappy. “It’s not about me, it’s about the…” —”Get the fuck out of here!” “People here with shoulder bandages, desperate to go on.”
Ladies and gentlemen, thanks very much, it’s been a pleasure talking to you. Thank you very much indeed.