His press release says he is "Britain's Greatest Living Comedian" and I am sure that Rowan Atkinson, Ricky Gervais, and maybe John Cleese would bristle at that. (It also says, "Chicago is one of [his] favourite cities in the world and [he's] excited about returning to meet some old friends and perform in such a great theatre” ... Billy told me he didn't know anyone in Chicago.)
Billy Connolly is actually a folk singer. A folk singer who let the banter between songs take over the show. He came to comedy through Bluegrass and eventually the music fell away from the act. His standup is musical though. He sings songs in the old story telling sense and he improvises. He'll follow a theme and abandon a thought if its uninspired. Over the 5 nights at The Royal George, he will start out on course but then the night will define itself and each show will potentially be a different one from the night before.
Much was made by Chris Rock in the movie "Comedian" about Bill Cosby doing a run of 2 hour shows and this gig is rife with the same possibilities. Connolly is still working a mic and that should prove to be fabulous.
I learned he has no desire to do Chicago Style Improv though, "It's lovely." I learned that he loves Robin Williams and fellow banjo player Steve Martin. He passed my Hitchens test and thinks Gilda Radner is funny. He also gave me the best piece of good old fashioned trivia that I've heard in a long time. You can hear it at the end of the podcast or got see him talk about it on stage.
Connolly will perform five shows only at the Royal George Theatre, 1641 North Halsted Street, on October 5 – 9, 2010. Tickets are $45.00 and available by calling (312) 988-9000, visiting www.ticketmaster.com, or at the Royal George Theatre box office.