Dear Night Writer: Is the comedian Billy Connolly who's playing somewhere in town this weekend the same Billy Connolly I saw on the "David Letterman Show" recently? If so, why does he talk so funny?

A: To answer your first question: Yes. British comic Connolly has "done Letterman" three times in the last year, and he's the guy appearing Saturday at the Warner. He's been alternately described as "a British Robin Williams" and "Scotland's answer to Richard Pryor" -- and while neither quite does justice to Connolly's raucous and (to use his word) "stream-of-semiconsciousness" delivery, at least this brings us to your second question.

Connolly, quite the celebrity in Britain and Europe (and Australia, which his current tour reaches by Christmas), does indeed "talk funny" -- but forget that thick working-class Scottish burr. On stage, mostly he just talks. And that is funny.

"I tend to change the subject all of the time," said the ex-folksinging, 43-year-old Connolly on the phone from Canada the other day. "I think it's because I tend to forget what I'm saying. People listen to me and they say, 'My god, it's brilliant -- how does he get back to what he was saying?' Actually I just keep talking until I remember what I was originally talking about."

Just don't ask Connolly to talk too much about how he talks. "I don't watch anybody else," he says. "Even my heroes -- Robin Williams {whom Connolly met long ago on a talk show in Canada and later got to know well in Malta, where Williams was shooting "Popeye"} . . . When Robin comes on the TV, I tend to go out of the room. Not watching others kind of forces me up my own little street. I think you're inevitably going to steal lines from everywhere -- newspapers, TV, comedians -- but it's very dangerous, when it comes to style, watching other people.

"I don't even watch myself. I'm afraid I might start copying me," says Connolly, whose fans include Queen Elizabeth II and Fergie (he was invited to the wedding), the Stones (who flew to New York for Connolly's March show at the Bottom Line) and Chrissie Hynde and the Pretenders (who caught Connolly's last show here, at the Bethesda Cinema 'n' Drafthouse last winter).

Saturday's show is at 8 at the Warner Theater; seats are $15.50. Call 626-1050.

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