Limmy’s Homemade Show is back - and he is living his dream
His BBC series Limmy’s Show, which ran between 2010 and 2013, continues to bring Brian Limond to a global audience through Netflix and clips shared on YouTube. His six-second skits on the defunct mobile platform Vine were woven into a film. In addition, he’s published two short story collections and a memoir. Yet nowadays, this versatile performer makes a living without ever leaving his house, most notably as a virtual truck driver singing in a strangulated, operatic style.
The most voluble of recluses, the 45-year-old spends hours chatting daily to fans on streaming site Twitch, where they tip him money to watch him play games, insult his receding hairline and hear his candid thoughts on his singular career and mental health. Long before coronavirus left his fellow performers scrambling to set up online gigs and bedsit podcasts, Limmy was hauling freight to Rotterdam in the wee small hours of the night on Euro Truck Simulator 2, with a steering wheel he’d bought for his disinterested nine-year-old son and an almost total lack of road incident. Taking followers’ questions, he’s started composing and playing them songs based on the game, for a Les Miserables-style parody featuring his overwrought, warbling approximations of Eddie Redmayne and Russell Crowe.
His is another world, part of an expanding Limmyverse that runs parallel to reality but is barely impacted by it.
“Oh, I’m fine” he says when I ask how he’s coping with lockdown. “This is what I do normally, just stay in the house. I’ve no interest in going out. My girlfriend, Lynn, it’s driving her mental. But I can just sit inside and relax. I’m forgetting that there are people in dire straits. I’ve no interest in parties, pubs, clubs, travelling, nothing at all. It sounds f***ing depressing but I’m happy.”
Such contentment notwithstanding, he’s about to re-enter mainstream culture with the timely Limmy’s Homemade Show! Written, edited, directed by and featuring only himself, shot inside his house and on the street outside, playing off himself as his own mugger or assassin, the show mixes the mundane with strange flights of fantasy and is a return to his DIY sketch roots. Originally conceived in 2017, he started crowdfunding and preparing for broadcast on YouTube when he perceived BBC Scotland were dragging their feet with it. But having reconciled with the corporation, the first episode goes out on Friday.
Snappily edited, with some sublime face-pulling and his trademark rascally humour, there are plenty of sequences demonstrating Limmy’s resourcefulness, technical innovation and self-reliance. Yet there are some really relatable moments too. Sometimes creepily paranoiac, as when he reaches out to a disturbing hooded creature that’s invaded his home, or when there’s an unsettling knock at the front door, the show will resonate with any viewers suffering cabin fever.
Other sketches channel agoraphobia, as when a businessman repeatedly fails to leave for his meeting. Or social anxiety, as Limmy clowns at a party, deflecting rather than make small talk. Then there’s the sheer horror of having to return to office employment. With his local celebrity and the awkwardness it would provoke, “the idea of having to get a real fucking job, in Glesga, f***ing terrifies me” he admits. “But the idea of having to get a real job anywhere else terrifies me even more. Because people wouldn’t be able to understand my accent.”
Mentally projecting a series of positive outcomes if he can just successfully lob a teabag into a mug from distance, the series eerily prophesies the time-wasting games many of us are currently reduced to just to keep occupied during lockdown. However, for an unreconstructed, unconventional thinker like Limmy, even a feckless hermit like Dee Dee was never a cautionary tale. “He was based on me when I left university and before I got a job [as a web developer], I did that for about a year” he recalls. “And some people would go, ‘that’s so sad about Dee Dee, that kind of life’. And I’m like: ‘Is it?’ I mean, he’s alright. And I was alright.”
The numbers tuning into Limmy’s Twitch stream have gone up exponentially during the coronavirus crisis, “especially during the daytime”. And he’s become a reassuring constant in peoples’ lives.
While shooting the Homemade Show by day, he continued streaming past midnight and whispering, so as not to wake his girlfriend next door. Inadvertently, he became an ASMR draw, that recently much-publicised phenomenon of well-being experienced by some people in response to gentle stimulus.
“I’m driving this truck through the rain, with the sound of the wipers and the indicator quietly clicking away” he explains. “I’ve had loads of people telling me that they couldn’t get to sleep unless they’re watching it, with me constantly talking. It got them through the night”.
Indeed, he would be trucking for eight hours or more if it wasn’t for the objections of his son, who, in an inversion of convention, despairs at the amount of time his father spends gaming.
“People weren’t sure about me doing it during daytime, pointing out that everyone would be at work” Limmy recalls. “But then this [coronavirus] happened. I’ve been saying: ‘If you’re bored out of your nut, if you want something to watch or to listen to in the background, or you want to skive off your work, I’m here talking shite for four hours every morning.’”
Soon, it’ll be the only place to see him once again. He envisioned the Homemade Show as more spontaneous, less scripted and more casually executed. But doing all his own lighting and sound, with builders working in his house and the vagaries of Glasgow weather disrupting outdoor shooting, meant that filming only three episodes “was f***ing hard, with lots of stops and starts.
“It looks like I’ve just popped on the camera and started filming. But there were lots of wee problems. So if I do any more telly stuff, it willnae be this I don’t think. Maybe a Christmas special. With some help.”
Acting in other people’s productions is “too stressful”. He’s ditched his plan to write a novel, and he has no unrealised ambitions. “I’m just going to be streaming full-time, that’s all I want to do now,” he explains. “Sitting in front of my computer and yapping away for the rest of my life. My girlfriend thinks it’s a waste of talent.
“I’ll never say no to more telly, books or stuff like that. But things are going so well on Twitch, people are being so generous. It doesn’t sound like a career. To play games, make up music and talk shite, it’s what I used to do to distract myself from the stresses of Limmy’s Show. Just sneak off and lock myself away. I’m absolutely living the dream.”
Limmy’s Homemade Show! is on BBC Scotland, 10 April, at 11pm and on BBC Two, 12 April, 10.45pm
Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.