Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Billy Connolly” as Want to Read:
Billy Connolly
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Billy Connolly

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  3,463 ratings  ·  165 reviews
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
...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published 2002 by HarperCollins (first published 2001)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Billy Connolly, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.91  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,463 ratings  ·  165 reviews


Filter
 | 
Sort order
Lou
Jun 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have always loved Billy, it's really sad that his last few TV appearances have shown the state of his health. It's really quite upsetting to see. I struggle to laugh even once during any comedy based programmes on nowadays, I just don't find most recent comics humorous, there are a few exceptions but they don't compare to that good old fashioned humour. I love this man! This book got me through a spell in hospital and was just what I needed.
Deena
Had this book for ages and finally got round to reading it and it didn't disappoint but was shocked to hear about Billy's life as a child and am full of admiration that he has come through it all sane (well if sane is what you'd call Billy Connolly !!!!)Really good book
Julie
Jul 01, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: women-words-wine
My bookclub suggested (along with the 'official' book to read over the summer holidays) we all choose an autobiography to read. I had 'Billy' on my bookshelf and decided on that. I thought I may be a convert to biographies/autobiographies when delving into the first few chapters. These conveyed an eye-opening insight into the poor and harsh tenement living in Glasgow, Scotland where Billy grew up.

Unfortunately, for me the book was spoilt (slightly) by the writer, Billy's wife, Pamela Stephenson
...more
Laura
Feb 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great story filled with everyday life lessons. Laugh out loud and cry at the same time.
Deborah Biancotti
Dec 06, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: writer-women, non-fic
I'd been warned this wasn't a funny read, so that bit wasn't surprising -- although the very *dryness* of the book was (a result of Stephenson's somewhat cold, academic prose). Regardless, and despite being a Connelly fan already, I finished the book with a real warmth towards its subject. I wanted to rush up & give Connelly a big hug, tell him I was sorry there was so much sadness & horror in his childhood, & wish him all the very, very, *very* best.

Stephenson at one point remarks t
...more
Enya-Marie
Passively interesting but not inspiring, this biography had the potential to be great if it had kept up its pace and had injected just a little humour into Billy's eccentric life to give it some of the vibrant colour he's known for.

Pros:
– How much the author, Pamela Stephenson, loved her husband Billy Connolly shone through the entire book, in the more dry parts, it was the backbone that kept the pages turning.
– The book feels heartbreakingly honest.

Cons:
– There was next to no humour in this boo
...more
Monica
Nov 29, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: biography
I've read several pages and have already laughed out loud a few times.
12/5/08 I purchased this at Manchester airport, the final stop of an Incredible String Band tour of Birmingham, Liverpool, Northampton, Cambridge, Oxford, Leichester, Beverly, New Castle, and Edinburgh to learn more about Billy Connolly, and more about his friendship with Robin Williamson. If you have similar intentions, this is *not* the book for you. Billy's young family life was painful to read about, but he's a survivor.
...more
Amy (Lost in a Good Book)
Apr 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned, non-fiction
This is great biography of the best comedian by the most suitable person. Who better than Billy's own wife to write a well deserved and respectful biography.

When I read this it was before I really got into Billy Connolly. I had seen a few bits and pieces and loved what I saw but I didn't have access to see anything else. Reading this book gave me so many more insights into his life and work and made me respect him all the more.

Billy's life was not perfect by any means and he had a rough upbringi
...more
Jenny
Dec 29, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes to laugh with Billy.
I approached this book tentatively - a psychotherapist writing (analysing?)about her husband, but seeing Billy Connolly on the final Parkinson show compelled me to find out a little more about this man who could make me laugh so hard.

The structure of the book is interesting, with a vignette from the present introducing a segment of the past.

I particularly enjoyed the voice of the author which related Billy's story without imposing her own judgements.

The book revealed a gifted human being who liv
...more
Barbra
Jul 31, 2009 rated it really liked it
This was a great book about one of my very favourite comedians.

Back Cover Blurb:
Who is the real Billy Connolly? 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. But who is the man behind the myth?
If anyone knows Billy Connolly better than himself, its his wife, Pamela Stephenson.
Miranda
Jan 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
a first-hand look at growing up in extreme poverty and overcoming physical, mental and sexual abuse. the scars this leaves behind become clear in adult life; a wonderful portrayal of a man I greatly admire for his wit and intelligence.
Sam
Dec 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
This was a really interesting read. Billy has had some quite amazing experiences in his life and they are well analysed by his wife, Pamela.
Lillian White
Jan 22, 2017 rated it liked it
I think Billy Connolly is a gifted comedian and a decent actor, and I have enjoyed his 'on the road' documentaries too. All of these are referred to in the book, naturally. However, it is something of a book of two halves, at least that is what struck me whilst reading.

Written by his wife Pamela Stephenson, the first 'half' of the book focuses in some detail on Billy's early years and upbringing, and later his life in the dockyards and his stepping onto the scene, so to speak, as a folk singer/c
...more
Heather
Feb 27, 2008 rated it liked it
I picked this book up at random hardly knowing who Billy Connolly was. I've seen him in movies and various media, but didn't know anything about him. The book is by his wife, Pamela Stephenson, formerly of Saturday Night Live, now with a PhD in psychology.

What an interesting life he has led! His childhood was horribly abusive--almost every adult with a major role in his life abandoned him or physically, sexually, or mentally abused him. At least he eventually got into a school with supportive t
...more
Libby
Apr 06, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comedy
I had no idea that Billy had such a tough upbringing. I found myself getting quite emotional whilst reading about his childhood. It was fanastic to gain an insight into where his humour comes from even though at times his wifes description of things was a wee bit condescending and irritating - though I have trouble with many psychological theories (and Psychologists in general)despite having a couple of degrees on the subject myself.

Throughout the course of the book I found myself liking Billy
...more
Haldoor42
Sep 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Loved this! I recently read Braveheart, the 2nd biography of Billy by his wife, Pamela, so I knew I had to read this one.

Billy had a difficult childhood, and then went to work in his teens, but slowly he moved away from his original welding job and ended up in firstly, a folk group, and then, eventually - as we all know - he became a world-famous comedian. This book tells the story of all that and more; it's filled with heart-wrenching sadness, gut-busting laughs, and a bunch of other stuff that
...more
Ape
Mar 17, 2011 rated it liked it
2007 bookcrossing thoughts... back when my thoughts were short =)

I've been a fan now for quite a few years. I love his sense of humour, and his appreciation for the little details and the eccentricities of life. His wife made a really good job of this biography; it is very readable and fascinating - not just of his decades as a star and his entertainment career, but also of his childhood growing up in Glasgow with a less than ideal beginning. There's some funny little anecdotes in this as well a
...more
Lucy Nichol
Oct 20, 2012 rated it liked it


I really enjoyed reading this book and learning more about what makes this comic genius tick. My only minor complaint was that I sometimes felt that the author, who granted knows this story better than anyone, seemed to feel the need to establish her position from time to time. As successful, as a qualified psychologist, as someone who knew the names. I was already reading a book she had written, so it almost didn't need saying. Shouldn't complain though as it was a fascinating read and I will
...more
Kerri Duff
Jan 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The first time I tried to read this I couldn't get into it at all so I approached it this time with a little trepidation, which proved to be unnecessary as I found myself completely caught up in it. Billy Connolly's life is certainly fascinating and often tragic. His childhood was very difficult and it is inspiring to read about the various ways he found to channel that into comedy and other creative pursuits.
Tristan MacAvery
Nov 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A remarkable, warts-and-all biography of one of the world's most amazing comedians and actors. Filled with anecdotes, jokes, and incredible insights, I come away with the thought that he is, in his way, the reincarnation of Will Rogers (being able to improvise his performances with a lightning-quick mind), and the desire that I might someday meet him and hope that I could keep up with him while enjoying a roll and square sliced sausage and a cup of tea.
Katarina
Jun 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
Love this book - it was great to read about Billy Connelly's life told by his wife who also happens to be a psychotherapist.
The book captures the essence of Billy and still manages to tell his life story as matter of fact. Although having had a hard childhood this books does not ask for sympathy - it just was. If you like biographies, Billy Connelly and want to laugh out loud, shuckle and shake your head I'd recommend this book.
Catherine
Jan 23, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Overall, I really enjoyed reading this biography. I've always loved Billy's shows now I really respect the man and his abilities. I enjoyed the format of the chapters, some little anecdote from the [then] present that hooks back to the past. His wife obviously admires him greatly, but...every once in a while there is a faint whiff of patronizing psychologist. I expect it can't be helped.

How hard it must be to be married to an analyst!
Andy Marshall
Oct 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A brilliant biography, all the more insightful for being written by Billy's wife and a psychologist no less! Highly readable, like Billy's stand up the narrative has the intimate feel of being sat in a pub with the subject, telling stories and funny anecdotes, each interspersed with Billy's own reflections and self-debasing comments.
If you're a fan of Billy Connolly then this book truly is a must-read and time well spent
Alison
Apr 19, 2014 rated it liked it
Started well, but ended up as my mum said "reading like a CV". I really like Billy Connelly. But found this book slow and a bit boring. Could have been half the length and a much more enjoyable read. As a psychologist it would have been far more interesting if she focused on the influencers at the time in Scotland when Billy was growing up.
Toni
Aug 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
What a book, what a man and how amazing Pamela is to put up with him! An amazing description of his childhood which was totally amazing in iteself. And then his incredibly drinking and how he met Pamela - very well written, often very funny. Very special because my dear father in law leant it to me. He has since died and I now have ownership of this book he loved so much.
Geoff Sheehan
Aug 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved the book. Billy is a unique human.
Mat
Jul 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The subject is interesting and funny, unlike the author, who is the comedian's wife.
Chris
First of all, I'm going to have a little moan.

Sometimes, before reading a book, I will look through a few reviews, mainly to get an overall opinion. It annoys me to the core when, after reading a few reviews of said autobiography, how many people complain that the star/comedian/actor (delete as appropriate), 'name-dropped' too many times. Well of course they name-dropped. Famous people will hang about with other famous people, just as you will hang about with the people that you have things in c
...more
Nancy
Aug 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved it. A look into the background and mind of an amazing comedian. Billy Connolly is truly one of those rare free spirits that can be born out of pain and an amazingly different way of looking at every day things. He has a gift. He and Robin Williams really seem to be in a world all their own and they invite us in once in awhile. You will laugh a lot. You will cry 2 or 3 times. But you will certainly come away with the impression that anyone can overcome their childhoods if they find health ...more
Tlingit
I'm glad I read this in that I learned much about Connolly that I didn't know. Unfortunately I was expecting to read it in a style such as he gives in his shows, rambling and entertaining. Maybe even gallows humor. His wife writing it was not as entertaining as some of his past antics. Her style is lacking in something, I'm not sure what. Still I was able to get through it and still learn of his varying experiences and accomplishments. I might go seeking another author and see if that point of v ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Sound of Laughter
  • A Mad World, My Masters: Tales from a Traveller's Life
  • On the Edge
  • Parcel Arrived Safely: Tied with String
  • At My Mother's Knee...: and other low joints
  • Billy Connolly's Route 66
  • Memoirs Of A Fruitcake
  • Humble Pie
  • Blessed: The Autobiography
  • Who On Earth Is Tom Baker? An Autobiography
  • The Man in the Rubber Mask
  • Dear Fatty
  • 'Rommel?' 'Gunner Who?': A Confrontation in the Desert
  • The Two of Us: My Life with John Thaw
  • Look Back in Hunger
  • Dear Me
  • The Life of Ian Fleming
  • The Ballad of Les Darcy
14 followers
Dr Pamela Helen Stephenson Connolly (born 4 December 1949) is a New Zealand-born Australian clinical psychologist and writer now resident in the United Kingdom. She is best known for her work as an actress and comedian during the 1980s. She has written several books, which include a biography of her husband Billy Connolly, and presents a psychology-based interview show called Shrink Rap on British ...more
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »