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Comedy star recalls opening for Elton John in St. Paul; wants to play 'Prairie Home'

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Acclaimed comedy actor Billy Connolly says he made his first trip to Minnesota in 1976 with his stand-up act and banjo playing, and he's dying to come back ... when the circumstances are not quite so awkward.

"I was in St. Paul opening a show for Elton John. I didn't do very well," Connolly told me, laughing, in a recent interview. "Opening for rock bands is a nightly exercise in terror."

Connolly stars in the new comedy drama "Quartet," the directorial debut of Dustin Hoffman. The film has been embraced by local critics.

The Scottish funnyman says to play Garrison Keillor's "A Prairie Home Companion" at the Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul would be a dream gig.

"I'd love to do it. That's one of my favorite shows in the world," Connolly told me. "Tell (Garrison) I play autoharp as well, because I know he likes it."

In the meantime, Connolly -- who voices the role of King Fergus in the Best Animated Feature Oscar nominee "Brave" -- is keeping himself busy filming the pivotal role of the dwarf Dain Ironfoot for the next two installments of director Peter Jackson's "The Hobbit."

See the trailer for "Quartet" below.

Bring Me The News news curator Tim Lammers is also a nationally-syndicated movie journalist whose work appears on more than 50 TV affiliate websites in the U.S. Tim has interviewed more than 1,000 major actors and filmmakers throughout his career, and locally, he reviews films on "KARE 11 Today" and WCCO Radio. Tim's work is also featured on his website,

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