Edinburgh International Book Festival preview: Limmy
Glasgow’s uncomfortable comedy sensation has written a book of Daft Wee Stories
This article is from 2015.
It’s all just about having a laugh if you’re Limmy. He gauges the audiences on his national book tour for the just-released Daft Wee Stories, to see how much of a laugh they’re up for; at the time we speak he’s experienced Glasgow (‘they were up for a laugh, I knew that’), Aberdeen (‘a bit quieter, but still a good laugh’) and Newcastle. ‘It was this wee hall with 100 seats. I thought, what’s that gonnae be like? I don’t even need a mic. But they were really loud. It’s Manchester tonight, that’ll be a good laugh.’
A laugh is all he’s after, and he’s made a career out of it. He’s a machine when it comes to throwing every little idea he thinks might raise a smile out there, and he’s smart enough to know how many channels are available to him. He tweets, he does videos on YouTube, he puts clips up on Vine, and he’s happy to interact with his audience.
Limmy (his real name’s Brian Limond and he’s from Glasgow) is a wayward comedy auteur whose work sits somewhere between razor-sharp, seriously funny, uncomfortable, and just straight-up taking the piss. He’s had his own sketch show called Limmy’s Show on BBC Scotland and he’s enjoyed cameo appearances on The IT Crowd and his own slot on Charlie Brooker’s Weekly Wipe. You either get him or you don’t, an increasing audience is discovering.
And now he’s written a book. Or rather, he wrote a bunch of short stories which he chucked up on his blog, and a publisher (Random House) saw them and asked to publish them. This month, he’s bringing that book tour to the Edinburgh International Book Festival. ‘I don’t just want people who go to book festivals to turn up,’ he says. ‘I want people who get my stuff right away and are up for a laugh, it makes it better for all of us. You don’t need to know everything I’ve done to like the book, but I don’t want the Q&A to be like, “my first question is, who the fuck are you?’’’
It was around a year ago that he started writing the stories and improvising them on his webcam, another way to pass the time when he found himself getting bored and the itch to create hitting. 'Just one of they things,' he says, 'just off the cuff, you just start typing up stories to see what people think. I mean, I don't know if I'd ever write them if nobody ever read them. If I typed them up then set them alight. I want people to see what they think, see if they like them. They're only wee so you don't have to worry about plot and all that, and if I'm writing an idea and enjoying it while I do it, then it's no' work.'
The book tour, he says, is good practice for Limmy Live, which will bring the characters from his television show to Glasgow’s Clyde Auditorium early next year (29 & 30 Jan). Although he's most familiar as an online success, this won't be his first crack at stand-up. After his podcasts went well, a Glasgow promoter put him on in the city's Blackfriars Bar in 2007, and he did the Edinburgh Fringe that year and the year after. But when his television pilot came through, he decided to quit.
'I never wanted to be a great stand-up or anything,' he says now. 'I never wanted to be playing stadiums and all over the telly. Sometimes I get a wee idea, a wee feeling that other stand-ups maybe wonder who I am, coming out of nowhere and not playing working men's clubs for years. But I don't care, I had my own thing happening for years, my website's been there since 1999. I just wanted to do stuff I enjoyed. And I'm enjoying this.'
Limmy, Charlotte Square Gardens, 0845 373 5888, 22 Aug, 9.45pm, £10 (£8). It's sold out but will be streamed live on bbc.co.uk as part of BBC Arts Live from the Edinburgh Festivals 2015. Daft Wee Stories is out now, published by Random House.