The inside story of the one of the most successful British stand-up comedians, as told by the person best qualified to reveal all about the man behind the comic, his wife of over 20 years - Pamela Stephenson. Once in a lifetime, there strides upon the stage someone who can truly be called a legend. Such a person is the inimitable, timeless genius who is Billy Connolly. His effortlessly wicked whimsy has entranced, enthralled - and split the sides of - thousands upon thousands of adoring audiences. And when he isn't doing that...he's turning in award-winning performances on film and television. He's the man who needs no introduction, and yet he is the ultimate enigma. From a troubled and desperately poor childhood in the docklands of Glasgow he is now the intimate of household names the world over. How did this happen, who is the real Billy Connolly? Only one person can answer that question: his wife, Pamela Stephenson. Pamela's writing combines the very personal with a frank objectivity that makes for a compelling, moving and hugely entertaining biography. This is the real Billy Connolly. This genre-defining book is now re-released for a new generation of comedy fans, with a stunning package and a new Foreword from the author. Pamela's vision of Billy is as true now as it ever was - as groundbreaking, as moving and as laugh-out-loud funny - and here she brings the book fully into its context, as one of the most influential biographies ever written.
Billy Connolly is loud, hilarious and contradictory. His biography, written by his wife, former comedian and practising psychotherapist Pamela Stephenson, is pretty much the same. Over the years Connolly has grown from Glasgow shipyard welder to folk-singing beardy hard man (yes there is such a thing) to darling of the good and great (or at least famous) around the world. That he is so many things to so many people while in no way compromising his core self can only be good. It would be no mean feat for Stephenson, then, to pen a history to that would satisfy Connolly audiences of fans and contemporaries from all periods of his life's journey. In most places, but in truth, not all, the author manages to do this well.
The first half of the biography is somewhat anthropological in tone. Not surprisingly, a post-war Glasgow upbringing is somewhat alien to the antipodean author and Stephenson errs towards Angela's Ashes intonation as she describes her husband's tenement childhood (Scots readers may also find her regular translation of seemingly self-explanatory Scots phrases--which Connolly would use--obtuse). In contrast her examination of her experience of living with the comedian and his life from that point on is much better. Anecdotes which Connolly uses in his live shows pepper the text and laughs are raised as he tells of the time he was mistaken as a drug dealer on Speyside, of his cheeky friendships with cinema's elite and even through the more difficult times; the difficulty of balancing an almost manic humour with a troubled life. Pages turn quickly as we grow to understand more of what makes the man tick.
Certainly fans of Billy Connolly will enjoy this book. It is not perfect but it is certainly entertaining and should fill a gap in the market until Billy--with his half-remembered stories and off-centre view of the world--decides to let us into his head as well as his history. There's surely one ideal way to do this and that's by writing his story himself. --Helen Lamont
catsalive (Australia) (2008/08/23): From Amazon: Now a favorite of American audiences, Billy Connolly is the outrageous comedian whose unsurpassed comedy genius has won him countless fans. Billy, the revelatory, poignant, and wildly entertaining biography is written by the woman who knows him best-his wife. Billy is one of the biggest sellers of all time in British publishing-number one on UK bestseller lists and, so far, selling over 800,000(!) copies. Connolly is a one-of-a-kind legend: his effortlessly wicked whimsy has entranced and enthralled audiences around the world, and his manic humor needs no introduction. But who is the real Billy Connolly? Where did he come from and where does he get his material? What is it like to live with him?
With insight and objectivity, Pamela Stephenson, a psychologist and Billy's wife of ten years, takes us through the heartbreaking and hilarious life of a comic genius and what made him the man he is. The descriptions of Scottish life evoke the poignancy of the Ireland in Angela's Ashes as she tells of the troubled and desperately poor child in the docklands of Glasgow who became an accomplished banjo player and whose jokes soon took over his musical act. Billy Connolly became a household name. From live performances to appearances on television and in the movies, Billy has captivated audiences around the world with his notoriously bawdy humor and the remarkable range of performance that has made him not only a brilliant comic but a dramatic actor who played across from Dame Judi Dench in Mrs. Brown.
Filled with riotous anecdotes from Billy's shows and tales from his unhappy childhood, this is, undeniably, the real Billy Connolly: the Billy Connolly that an enormous and fanatic public is waiting for-and a moving, redemptive biography.