Billy Connolly reveals 'pretty aggressive' Mongrel Mob encounter in Wellington

Sir Billy Connolly says he was intimidated by the Mongrel Mob.
Sir Billy Connolly says he was intimidated by the Mongrel Mob. Photo credit: Getty Images

Sir Billy Connolly says he felt "vulnerable" during a confrontation with the "pretty aggressive" Mongrel Mob after they "surrounded him" and pulled him into a side street in Wellington in 2004. 

Connolly made the never-been-told-before admission in his new book, Rambling Man: My Life On The Road.  

The comedian, who is 80 and now suffers from Parkinson's Disease, confessed he hadn't told people about it as he "wanted to get out of town in one piece." 

He was filming his World Tour of New Zealand documentary series, which saw him tour both the North and South Islands, with a custom-made biker jacket that had Hells Angels-style writing on it.  

"I loved it. A woman in Los Angeles created it for me. She told me she had to get permission from the Hells Angels team because they are quite particular about their style and trademarks. 

"I was out riding by myself one morning in Wellington wearing my jacket when I realised I was being flanked by teamsters from the Mongrel Mob. That's the largest biker gang in New Zealand and it has quite a reputation. 

"They surrounded me at some traffic lights and pulled me into a side street. I felt vulnerable because I was completely alone. 

 "One of them asked 'Where'd you get your jacket?' I said 'I got in Los Angeles. A girl made it for me. She got permission from the Hells Angels'." 

Connolly went on to explain he was on his own and was forced to wait while they decided what to do 

 "They were pretty aggressive. They went away and had a little conference. Then they came back and said 'That's okay'. They backed off and let me go on my way. 

"Afterwards, my TV crew went crazy because they didn't get any of that on film. And I didn't talk about it onstage because I wanted to get out of town in one piece." 

Connolly was diagnosed with Parkinson's in 2013 and was forced to retire from the spotlight after his condition grew worse. 

In a documentary for the BBC in 2019 he said: "My life is slipping away and I can feel it, and I should. I'm 75, I'm near the end, But it doesn't frighten me - it's an adventure and it is quite interesting to see myself slipping away."