Connolly got punched defending Christy Moore

Billy Connolly has revealed he once took a few punches from a Navy submariner after a disagreement at a music gig.
Photo Copyright - Eva Rinaldi_CC2
The comedian was watching his long term friend and Irish folk legend Christy Moore perform in Scotland during the 1980s, when a member of the audience started heckling the Planxty star.

Connolly told the story in an interview with Now TV magazine: “I went to see him play in Helensburgh in the Highlands during the 1980s and he’s singing some rebel song about the IRA playing on a drum or something like that.

“And there’s this big lad next to me with a beard, who just thought Christy was another folk singer, and he’s saying, ‘Rubbish, rubbish, get off the stage’.

“So I say, ‘Shut up, you, that’s nonsense’, and I took the pipe out of his mouth and stuck it in his beard.

“At which point I find out this guy was in the Royal Navy Karate club, one of those lads who drives a submarine, and I got a few digs in the belly and a smack around the face for my troubles.”

‘When you’re nervous, you forget everything’

Connolly and Moore became good friends during the 1970s on the folk music circuit. Connolly was a singer with the band, the Humblebums, where he performed with the late Gerry Rafferty, who later went on to have major success with hit songs such as Stuck in the Middle with You and Baker Street.

Connolly also spoke about how he is dealing with his diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease and how he still loves performing stand-up comedy: “I’m starting to have problems with remembering things but who doesn’t when they get to my age?

“I get blanks all the time now, the curtains fall down in front of your eyes so you just keep talking ’til you remember your material that you were going to say.

“When you’re nervous, you forget everything you were supposed to do and just think, ‘What am I going to say to these people?’

“And when you go out, you become the other guy. Sometimes you get blanks, just like jet lag. I’m not getting any younger.”

Connolly has remained true to his folk music roots and sometimes includes some of his old songs in his comedy gigs. He occasionally plays his audience a soothing tune at the end of a show, to help them calm down after a raucous evening and adjust to the outside world before leaving the theatre.

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Andrew Moore

Andrew Moore is a writer for Irish Music Daily and Ireland Calling. His favourite Irish music bands are the Dropkick Murphys and the Pogues.

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