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My Belfast driver was a geg, says comedy legend Billy Connolly

Billy Connolly
Billy Connolly

By David O’Dornan

Comedy legend Sir Billy Connolly has paid tribute to the “brilliant” limo driver he used in Belfast by sharing stories about him in his new book.

The Big Yin said that his chauffeur, also called Billy, asked him to sort out his wife with tickets to his gig and on one occasion asked if she could join them in the car.

But when the Glasgow funnyman happily agreed to share his limousine as he made his way through the city centre, he got more than he bargained for.

Billy (76) said: “I thought she’d be in the front with him. But she got straight in the back. ‘Hi Bill!’ The smell of Estée Lauder; you cannae get it off you.

“But there she was, slightly moving all the time, chewing, jangling, all of that. And she was very funny and really nice. But she kept opening the limo windows on the way into Belfast and shouting, ‘I’m in here with Billy Connolly!’

“And she kept saying, ‘Bill, Bill — wave to them, come on!’ I’m cringing there going, ‘Hullo’.”

Sir Billy said his driver used to leave him in stitches with the local phrases he would come up with and the comic was convinced he was just making them up.

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He said: “Billy used to make up old Irish sayings. And I would be on my knees laughing. I was supposed to believe this s***. We were driving to the gig one night, and he says, ‘You know, Billy, I’m amazed that you don’t have a car yourself. You know, a nice car and a regular driver to take you around.’

“I said, ‘Oh, I used to have that, but I gave all that up because I like being by myself, you know, just take the B roads, stop and have a scone if I want to, and just have a nice life. And besides which, I was getting fed up with the driver.’

“And he says, ‘Was he an eejit?’ Now, in actual fact, he was a nice bloke, my old driver, but to cut a long story short, I just said, ‘Yeah, a bit of an eejit.’

“So, he says, ‘You know, we have an old saying here in Northern Ireland.’ I said, ‘Oh, really?’ He took a wee while to reply, so I knew he was making it up — I could hear the cogs going round. He said, ‘Wherever you’re going, never take an eejit with you. You can always pick one up when you get there.’ He was full of that sort of thing.”

In his new book, Tall Tales and Wee Stories, the comic shares another hilarious example of his driver’s wit after they drove past an injured man.

He said: “The 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 when you wear one of those. I saw a guy in Belfast with one of them on.

“He was walking up the road, up the centre of the pavement, doing the ‘Couldn’t Give A F**k’ walk.

“I was being driven down the road that time in Belfast, and I said to my driver, ‘Billy, look at that prick!’

“His answer stays with me. He said, ‘It looks like he was talking when he should have been listening’.”

Were you Billy Connolly’s driver or do you know him? Call us on 028 90264312 or email slnews@sundaylife.co.uk

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