SSE Arena, Belfast, February 11 and 12;
3Arena, Dublin, February 16-18
One of the most groundbreaking and influential stand-up performers of all time, Billy Connolly’s series of Irish dates undoubtedly rank amongst the comedy highlights of the year. Despite recent health concerns, the Big Yin’s live shows are still hugely vibrant affairs and – true to form – he has even mined his ailments for material.
Dubbed the High Horse tour, the Glaswegian’s latest excursion is filled with the usual sharp observational material and surreal digressions, and a generous quotient of brilliant one-liners (“I know a Scottish guy who loved his wife so much he actually told her one day.”)
Having recently located to the US, Connolly – cited as an influence by everyone from Armando Iannucci to Eddie Izzard – has been keeping a keen eye on the next generation of comics, and lately described Mighty Boosh star Noel Fielding’s brand of comedy as “lovely and smashing”.
The proud owner of a seat for life at Celtic’s Parkhead stadium
(an honour shared only by Rod Stewart), the comic has also stayed busy with extracurricular activites, and had a notable cameo in the final instalment of the Hobbit series, 2014’s The Battle Of The
Five Armies. Nonetheless, it’ll be all about top drawer comedy when Connolly hits Ireland in mid-February, for what is sure to be a memorable week of shows.