The Big Yin Set for Big Night in NYC

Billy Connolly will receive the Great Scot Award Thursday April 9.

ShutterstockBillyConnolly2006How the heck did Billy Connolly get the nickname The Big Yin?

It’s a question that will be asked many times on this side of the Atlantic between now and April 9, when the 72-year-old stand-up master will receive the Great Scot Award as part of the annual Tartan Week celebrations in New York. Here’s the answer to the nickname question, courtesy Scottish newspaper the Daily Record:

Cartoonist Malky McCormick has been documenting the funny side of Scottish life for decades… With Connolly, he created the cartoon strip The Big Yin for the Sunday Mail newspaper back in in 1973.

It not only launched Malky’s artistic career but, in turn, gave Billy the nickname that still identifies him today…

“At the time, Billy was doing a routine called The Crucifixion, based on the idea that The Last Supper took place in the Glasgow Gallowgate, not Galilee. In the piece, Billy referred to Jesus as The Big Yin and I was listening to that one day and I thought, ‘Aye, that’s a good name.’ So, in the cartoon, Billy became The Big Yin and I became his sidekick, Wee Man.”

So there you have it. From the Big Man himself came a nickname that will be toasted many times next month at The Metropolitan Club. Alan Cumming, who was Grand Marshal of the Tartan Day parade down 6th Avenue in 2009, will present Connolly with the honor.
 
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