Billy Connolly says best way to deal with death is to 'laugh in its face'

Danny Thompson
Grand Marshal Billy Connolly and Family (Wife Pamela Stephenson, daughters Scarlett and Amy) during the New York City Tartan Day Parades, in New York, on April 6, 2019. (Photo by Luiz Rampelotto/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Comedy legend Billy Connolly has said the best way to get prepared for death is to “laugh right in its face”.

The 77-year-old opened up about the fear of dying and coping by “treating it lightly” as part of BBC Scotland documentary called Billy and Us.

Connolly was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and prostate cancer on the same day back in 2013.

But the Glaswegian is facing his health issues in his own inimitable way.

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Speaking on the upcoming documentary, Connolly said: “The best way of dealing with the dark side of life is to laugh right in its face. Everybody knows death is coming. They try all sorts of tricks, religion etc, to deal with it. But comedy can release you from your terror. You can treat it lightly.

Undated handout photo issued by Virgin Radio of comedian Billy Connolly, during an interview with Chris Evans on his Virgin Radio Breakfast show.

“It is like the big bully at school. You can say: ‘I can beat him any day, tralala’ as long as he is not there. Comedy allows you to do that.

“It’s such a tender thing, comedy. It lives on a shaky branch. When it’s picked up the wrong way it can fall terribly the wrong way, but when picked up the right way it can really enlighten people and make a situation that was awful better.

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“I used to talk about father’s stroke and all that. It’s just a way of dealing with it yourself. Now that I’m getting older and sicker it’s important that comedy kicks in.”

He added: “Making fun of darkness is a joy to do. It’ll always be in a state of change, humour, while it remains alive. It will be in a constant state of change. Different moral realms and mores will come and go. Just now I think it’s a bit up itself.”

Billy and Us airs at 10pm on BBC Scotland on Thursday (18 June).

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