Billy Connolly: English tastes of Comedy

Glasgow, Billy Connolly

Billy Connolly would love to show you where he was born and raised in Glasgow, but as he says, “They bulldozed it all to make a road.” One of the most hilarious comedians from the UK, Billy had a difficult childhood, being abandoned by his mother and having to be raised by his young aunts. He was only four years old when this happened.

The now-famous comedian actually received engineering certifications (two, one by mistake!) at 15, when he decided to drop out of school. A fun fact about Billy is that he was a boilermaker at only 16! He later joined the local military branch, in the Territorial Army Reserve.

He continued his boilermaker work into the mid- to late-60’s, but also tried some folk singing on the side. His hobby ended up turning into a band, which was called “The Humblebums.” He started the group with Tam Harvey, who was later replaced by Gerry Rafferty. In 1971, the group broke up and Billy needed to find something more in order to continue being successful. Nat Turner, then head of Transatlantic Records (the ‘Humblebums´ record label), encouraged Billy to focus on comedy. The audience enjoyed the comedic monologues he performed before singing in concert, so he thought it might be worthwhile to continue with that.

Lucky for him (and the rest of the world), he found great success. His comedy is said to be “off the cuff”, being a little outlandish and inappropriate for some members of the audience, but still successful nonetheless. He has been in popular movies, such as Mrs. Brown (with Judi Dench) and Beautiful Joe (with Sharon Stone). He also gained fame for his role in Muppet Treasure Island as Billy Bones.

The comedian with humble beginnings also enjoys football and has been cited for supporting a charity called the National Association for Bikers with a Disability. So, it seems like he is quite a well-rounded celebrity: funny, generous, as well as sporty!


i360-by-diverbo-useful-vocabulary VOCABULARY

to bulldoze: demoler
hilarious: desternillante
actually: en realidad
boilermaker: calderero
to break up: disolver
to encourage: alentar
it might be worthwhile: puede merecer la pena
off the cuff: de improviso
outlandish: extravagante
humble: humilde
charity: caridad
bikers with a disability: motoristas con discapacidad
well-rounded: sumamente completa


24/11/2015Level - difficulty 3United StatesAudioText3 min