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Wednesday 3 September 2014

Foul-mouthed Billy shocks audience with verbal onslaught against photographer

Majella O'Sullivan and Ralph Riegel

Published 03/05/2013 | 21:29

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billy connolly.jpg
billy connolly.jpg

FUNNYMAN Billy Connolly left a bad taste in the mouths of fans after he verbally abused a female photographer at the start of his show.

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Connolly, who is on a nationwide tour with his ‘The Man Live’ show, shocked audiences at Killarney’s INEC on Thursday night when he showered a tirade of abuse on local photographer, Valerie O’Sullivan, calling her a “f**king c**t”.

Last night the Scottish comedian would not stop to speak to reporters as he arrived at Cork Opera House for the first of two sold-out gigs.

Arriving in a black UK-registered Volvo SUV, Mr Connolly ignored shouted media questions as well as greetings from fans, merely waving his hand as he was escorted by three security personnel from a secure yard between the Opera House and the Crawford Art Gallery into his dressing room.

A spokesperson at the comedian's Malta-based agency, Tickety-Boo, last night said they had  nothing to say about the Killarney controversy.

“We have no comment to make on this,” they said.

In Killarney, Connolly admitted to his audience he had shocked them and “turned a bit Glaswegian”.

The award-winning photographer had taken a picture of the comedian, provoking his anger.

From the stage he lashed out at her, saying: “Will someone come here and see to this f**king c***.”

Ms O’Sullivan declined to comment on the incident but is understood to have been very upset about it.

It is also understood the promoters, Pat Egan Management, have been in touch with her.

When contacted by the Irish Independent, a spokesman said they had no comment to make.

Audience members used social media to post messages expressing their disgust and calling on the Scotsman to apologise to Ms O’Sullivan.

From the stage he lashed out at her, saying: “Will someone come here and see to this  f**king c***”

The outburst occurred shortly into the show when Connolly noticed the photographer, pointed at her and asked: “Are you taking photos of me?”

He kept pointing at her and continued: “Yeah, you. You’re still taking photographs of me.”

At this stage the audience was laughing but the tone changed when Connolly continued: “I’m serious, stop it.”

He then called for ushers to remove Ms O’Sullivan, using the offensive language.

Onlookers said the whole atmosphere inside the auditorium changed and the audience became “muted” for a while, causing the comedian to remark that they were “like a life-size photograph” of an audience.

One fan described the scene as being like “something from the Salem witch trials”.

After Ms O’Sullivan had left, Connolly said to his audience: “I shocked you there. I turned a bit Glaswegian.”

Connolly is no stranger to controversy. He came in for criticism when he made a joke about Iraq hostage Ken Bigley in 2004, who had been pleading for his life on TV, reportedly saying: “Are you like me, don't you wish they'd just get on with it?”

Mr Bigley was murdered by his captors afterwards.

Irish Independent

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