Sir Billy Connolly Spirit of Glasgow comedy award created for festival
Sir Billy Connolly and comedy festival organisers have announced a new award celebrating the “spirit of Glasgow”.
The Sir Billy Connolly Spirit of Glasgow Award will be the only official gong given by the Glasgow International Comedy Festival (GICF) when it takes place next spring.
An independent judging panel will consider nominations made by registered participants in the festival, which runs from March 15 to April 2.
The eventual winner will be the show, individual or group that judges feel most personifies the “spirit of Glasgow”.
Sir Billy said: “Glasgow defies description. Many great men and women have tried to describe its spirit and failed miserably.
“What do you say about a town that dances, sings, plays and jokes differently from everybody else? The winner of this award will have to be a nutter like me.”
The comedian, also known as the Big Yin, was knighted in 2017 for services to entertainment and charity.
Born in Glasgow in 1942, he began his working life as a welder in the Clyde shipyards before embarking on a career as a folk singer and musician alongside Gerry Rafferty in The Humblebums, and then developed the stand-up act that made him famous.
The inaugural winner will be announced at the festival’s closing gala at the King’s Theatre on April 2.
Festival director Krista MacDonald said: “It is the beginning of a new era for the Glasgow International Comedy Festival and we are very proud to have Sir Billy Connolly’s support in celebrating the spirit of the city shown through the immense comedy talent on display during our three weeks in March.
“No-one more personifies both that spirit and that talent than Sir Billy.”
The award was conceived by Karen Koren, corporate director of GICF and GB Festivals, and it will be open to any individual, group, show or venue involved in the festival – not just those from Glasgow.
She said: “We feel incredibly privileged to be able to introduce the Sir Billy Connolly Spirit of Glasgow Award to this year’s festival.
“We hope the award will add to the celebration and really shine a light on some of the incredible hard work by acts and individuals within the comedy industry.”
Show registration closes this Friday and tickets for the GICF closing gala go on sale on November 23.
Annette Christie, chairwoman of Glasgow Life, said: “Glasgow and its people are renowned for their great sense of humour, love of comedy and indefatigable spirit, and I can’t think of anyone who represents that life-affirming combination of characteristics more than Sir Billy Connolly.
“That this exciting new award – to recognise outstanding talent at Glasgow International Comedy Festival – is named after and honours the city’s beloved comedy genius, who has put Glasgow firmly on the worldwide comedy stage, gives it even greater importance.”