An Audience with Billy Connolly
is a mid-1980s recording of one of Britains finest live comedians, captured in front of a celebrity audience. While always good value as a stand-up, the rather stilted format of the TV show doesn't suit Connolly as well as it might. One of the main elements of the comedian's appeal has always been his full-flight school of delivery, something that the editing and style of the programme severely undermines. Despite that, there are still enough moments of classic Connolly humour to keep fans entertained. Much of his material here is autobiographical, dealing especially with his Glaswegian childhood. Although hindsight is an uncommon luxury, it is impossible to watch his act without thinking of the revelations in wife Patricia Stephenson's biography, Billy
. Not only is it hard to equate the manic comic viewed here with the depressed alcoholic of the time, but the (admittedly very funny) material concerning his relationship with his father has been given incredible added pathos by the book's admissions. There may be extra fun from spotting the awful haircuts and fashion crimes of those who passed for celebrities in 1985 but, in comparison with the countless other Connolly videos on the market (particularly the superb world tours of Scotland and Australia), An Audience with
is far from essential. --Phil Udell
Billy Connolly employs his trademark bawdy wit to tell a celebrity audience about his adventures in London and LA. Includes material cut from the original TV broadcast.