Limmy: New king of angry comedy
Friday 11 February 2011
There are lots of angry young men out there who are fed up with being ignored by terrestrial television. They don't want celebrity, stupidity or faux bonhomie; they don't want phone-ins and nostalgia; they want honesty. Frankie Boyle's Tramadol Nights should have delivered, but it failed. It was unfunny and smacked of him being given a chance and not knowing what to do with it.
But as Boyle's sun temporarily sets, another Scottish comedian's dark moon is rising. Like Boyle, Limmy is from Glasgow, in his thirties and full of anger. But while Boyle's debut show revealed shallowness, Limmy's TV debut, Limmy's Show, is heartfelt and intriguing. Broadcast on BBC Scotland earlier this year, and now released on DVD, it has already received praise from Graham Linehan (wrote Father Ted) and Matt Lucas (wrote and starred in Little Britain), as well as Boyle.
The show features characters and sketches adapted from videos and podcasts Limmy previously put on the internet. Targets include the Question Time audience and charity bracelets, and in one brilliant sketch he starts telling a gruesome true story about a girl, before stopping, asking what's wrong with us, then cancelling the end credit music and making us watch them roll in uncomfortable silence.
"I like some of my stuff not to be particularly funny," he says. "It's supposed to be amusing, entertaining or thought-provoking, like a curiosity. If you put it on in front of 500 people in the Odeon they wouldn't laugh. They shouldn't laugh." There are problems with it – it not being funny is the main one. There are also some clichéd targets. But it's an intriguing exploration of ideas that feels frustratingly like the build-up to something bigger and longer lasting.
"I'm wanting to have a bit of a change next," he says. "I've got wee ideas that keep floating about. I like the idea of something bigger and chunkier and meatier."
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