The Irish Mail on Sunday - TV Week - - RADIO WEEK -

I’ve never seen the point in Billy Con­nolly. Through­out my for­ma­tive years, I kept be­ing as­sured — usu­ally by my es­teemed chat show col­league Sir Michael Parkin­son dur­ing their reg­u­lar jousts on BBC1 — that he was the fun­ni­est man alive. But I didn’t find him re­motely amus­ing. In fact, I’d go fur­ther. I found his whole ‘Big Yin’ per­sona about as en­ter­tain­ing as be­ing poked re­peat­edly with an elec­tric steel cat­tle prod.

So it was fas­ci­nat­ing to dis­cover to­day that I’ve al­ways had ex­actly the same ef­fect on him.

In a news­pa­per in­ter­view, Con­nolly de­clared: ‘There are very few peo­ple I dis­ap­prove of. Peo­ple like Piers Mor­gan, who fail up­wards.’

Asked why he dis­liked me, he snorted: ‘Be­cause I think he’s a tal­ent­less w***er, and he goes from strength to strength on the backs of other tal­ent­less w***ers.’ This seemed a tad ob­tuse given that my in­ter­view sub­jects this year in­cluded the Dalai Lama, Bill Clin­ton, Bar­bra Streisand, Usain Bolt and Mor­gan Free­man.

But then I guess it de­pends on how you de­fine ‘tal­ent’. Con­nolly is said to be a ‘tal­ented’ co­me­dian, for ex­am­ple. Yet his idea of ‘hu­mour’ was to go on stage in Lon­don in 2004, when hostage Ken Bigley was be­ing threat­ened with be­head­ing in Iraq, and mock: ‘Per­haps I shouldn’t be say­ing this — aren’t you the same as me, don’t you wish they would just get on with it?’ Days later, Ken Bigley’s cap­tors did ‘get on with it’ and be­headed the poor man.

Since then, Con­nolly’s ca­reer has nose-dived to the point where he was heck­led off stage twice last year dur­ing a crit­i­cally sav­aged tour. And, iron­i­cally, to the point where I have sim­ply no in­ter­est in in­ter­view­ing him be­cause he’s be­come, for want of a bet­ter phrase, a tal­ent­less w***er. Coun­try for Whiny Bri­tish Men’, ‘Rebel With­out A Clue’, ‘Ca­reer­fall’ and ‘Amer­ica’s Just Not That Into You’. Af­ter a mem­ber of my staff re­tal­i­ated with ‘We Love Piers, Ac­tu­ally’, I hit back my­self with two ti­tles: ‘Born ( With Nat­u­ral Bri­tish) Supremacy’ and the more per­ti­nent ‘Stop Gun’. Shop­ping in Man­hat­tan this morn­ing, I en­tered Ralph Lau­ren and spied a fa­mil­iar fig­ure buy­ing some clothes.

‘ Mr Schwa rzeneg­ger!’ I ex­claimed.

‘ Mr Morga n! ’ Ar nol d ex­claimed back. We ex­changed yule­tide pleas­antries, and I couldn’t re­sist tweet­ing about our en­counter af­ter­wards — ad­mit­ting: ‘Only say­ing this to name-drop really.’ Three hours later, Sch­warzeneg­ger retweeted me with the im­mor­tal words: ‘Here’s MY name-drop — great to see YOU to­day.’ I’ve flown back into Bri­tain for Christ­mas, and con­vened an ur­gent meet­ing for like-minded souls tonight at my lo­cal Kens­ing­ton pub.

‘A week ago I was on stage with sport­ing su­per­stars,’ tweeted BBC Sports Per­son­al­ity Of The Year host Gary Lineker, on his way to the venue. ‘ This Sun­day it’s Xmas drinks with Piers Mor­gan. Where did it all go wrong?’

‘ Last week, I was par­ty­ing at the White House with Pres­i­dent Obama,’ I re­tor ted. ‘ Tonight I’m hav­ing drinks with Gary Lineker…’

We were joined by a brace of Strictly stars, Bruno To­nioli and Clau­dia Win­kle­man, a brace of

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