Sir Billy Connolly has hailed Susie McCabe as "brilliant" as he announced the Glasgow comic as the winner of this year's Sir Billy Connolly Spirit of Glasgow Award.

The announcement was made at Glasgow International Comedy Festival’s (GICF) Comedy Gala, following an afternoon celebrating the very best of the festival at the city’s King’s Theatre.

The award honours criteria both the city of Glasgow and Sir Billy Connolly represent from resilience to openness and of course, a sense of humour. 

Sir Billy Connolly himself sent a personalised message to Susie McCabe as winner of the award in his name via a video message from his home in Florida, saying: “Congratulations Susie - I'm sorry I can't be in Glasgow, it's for a million reasons.

"I watched you on TV and I was blown sideways. It's been lovely watching your style, that Glasgow style of comedy - it's brilliant, I loved it. You're brilliant so keep it up!"

READ MORE: Glasgow Comedy Festival reveals Billy Connolly award shortlist

Susie McCabe accepted the award onstage in the closing minutes of the Comedy Gala, saying: “When you start this career as a dare you don’t think for a minute you’re going to hear your name come out of Billy Connolly’s face!

“Lots of people talk about Edinburgh and its festivals in comedy - it’s never been about Edinburgh for me, Edinburgh is a byproduct of this festival for me. This festival has 100% backed me and it’s done that because you, the audiences, have come out and let me play this theatre three times. 

“Thank you to Glasgow for being the wind in my sails. When you stand on this stage you stand on the shoulders of Billy, Elaine, Dorothy Paul and Janey.

This means the absolute world to me - this city means the absolute world to me.”

Festival Director Krista MacDonald, GICF headliner Elaine C Smith and 2023’s winner Janey Godley presented Susie McCabe with the glass trophy, which is engraved with a famous self-portrait of Sir Billy Connolly. 

Festival Director Krista MacDonald said: “Susie McCabe is one of Scotland's most exceptional comedy exports, having entertained audiences in her hometown and beyond for over 15 years.

"From her very first show with GICF in 2013 in a 60-seater in Dram to three mammoth shows in the King's Theatre this year, Susie epitomises everything good about Glasgow and its comedy scene; she has generosity of spirit in spades and is unapologetic in her comedy, but manages to still be warm, inclusive, hard-working, gallus and to her very core, funny. 

"Sir Billy Connolly has helped both audiences and comics find joy and laughter even when times are bleak, representing the very best of comedy itself and the very best of this city- so we are so honoured to have the Big Yin himself involved in the Festival in this way.

“A truly worthy winner of our second ever Sir Billy Connolly Spirit of Glasgow Award, the GICF team sends our biggest congratulations to Susie."

A panel of judges met to consider the six-strong Shortlist before sending a recommendation to Sir Billy Connolly, who made the final decision on the ultimate winner.

Joining Susie McCabe on 2024’s Shortlist were Craig Hill, Raymond Mearns, Rosco McClelland, Susan Riddell, and Zara Gladman, all of whom appeared at the Comedy Gala to celebrate GICF’s biggest year yet. 

Hosted by Susie McCabe, the Gala presented the very best of the fest, with sets from some of Scotland’s most beloved comics including Craig Hill, Raymond Mearns and Janey Godley, alongside Jin-Hao Li, Kiri Pritchard-McLean, Zara Gladman, Susan Riddell, Stuart McPherson, Rosco McClelland and Billy Kirkwood.

The Sir Billy Connolly Spirit of Glasgow Award was presented as part of the Gala’s finale.

Introduced in 2023, the prestigious award in honour of Sir Billy Connolly looks to reward an individual who most personifies the Spirit of Glasgow.