13 May 2007: Will Limmy be the first dot-comic to make it big, asks Amy Raphael.
When Brian ‘Limmy’ Limond grew bored of being a web developer, he decided to play around with creative ideas on the internet. In 2000, he set up Limmy.com as a showcase for his comical animations alongside interactive pastimes such as a swearing xylophone. The latter earned him some publicity, leading to thousands of hits a day, and inspired him to add videos of his one-man sketches.
Limmy, 32, had never thought of being a stand-up comedian – ‘far too scary’ – but liked the idea of writing material for the internet. In September, he started broadcasting a podcast called Limmy’s World of Glasgow. The character-based podcasts went into the iTunes Top 10, sitting alongside Ricky Gervais and Russell Brand.
It’s quite possible that, given Brian’s initial fear of performing live, Limmy the comedian wouldn’t exist were it not for the internet. He hasn’t quite made a Lily Allen-style leap from the net into the mainstream, but he hasn’t been able to resist offers to transfer his show to the stage.
‘I hoped the podcast would get attention and I’d get lots of money to write a script for a TV show. Then I was asked to appear at the Glasgow Comedy Festival in March and the show sold out in under an hour.’
Limmy doesn’t swear once when we talk, but his podcast monologues are bristling with expletives, whether from the filthy mouths of former heroin addict Jacqueline McCafferty or teenage chav John Paul.
But will that web success translate to the stage or even small screen? Jon Thoday, one of Britain’s most successful comedy producers, says there has yet to be a big-name comedian who has made it through the internet. ‘But it’s a great way for comedians to express themselves without having to wait for a reply from a commissioning editor or an agent.’
The real test will come when he performs at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this summer. ‘With podcasts, you can hide behind the internet,’ he says, sounding uncharacteristically nervous in his dense, expressive Glaswegian accent. ‘It’s not that I’m a cowardly internet comedian … you just have to be really brave to be able to deal with hecklers.’