This is a show for the fans. Explicitly so. Part book reading, part anecdotal discussion, part general chat with the audience, it feels intimate and relaxed in this packed 500-seater hall, but also a little underwhelming. Now the third book tour of this kind that Limmy, real name Brian Limond, has delivered across the country, the format should now be familiar to those attending, but perhaps it has all got a bit self-referential.
Intimate and relaxed... a show for the fans.
Starting with a short, quick-fire 10-minute “mega-mix” of the audience’s requested favourite characters from Limond’s various social media content through the years, there’s an audible bubbling passion for the Glaswegian comic’s deep back-catalogue. With requests streaming in from across the hall for favourite creations from Twitter, YouTube, his infamous Vines, as well as those from the popular Limmy Show, it feels a little lacklustre that he only gives around a 5-second recreation of each. It is a teaser. A moment of recognition for the super fans, but nothing more.
The show seems to begin in earnest when Limond moves on to reading three short excerpts from his newly-released autobiography, also entitled Surprisingly Down to Earth, and Very Funny. Each is delivered with charisma and improvised elaboration for the crowd, sitting atop a large masonic throne, that Limond is quick to point out is nothing to do with him; there because this Grand Hall is used as a Freemasons meeting place year-round. It does give the readings a suitable gravitas, though, and with the rapturous audience, it feels a privilege to get to spend stripped-back time with this much-loved celebrity.
The three readings are revealing and quite funny, covering the recurring difficulties of working with a snarky production assistant when making the Limmy show and having accidently demanding an apology from him, the experience of meeting Charlie Brooker and pitching a whimsical Black Mirror episode, as well as a not wholly convincing anecdote from his childhood designed to explain why he has craved recognition from crowds ever since.
The final third of the show takes another turn towards the clannish, comprising a lengthy Q&A section, with anyone welcome to call out a question from across the hall. Some of the questions about the inspirations and experiences of creating various sketches across his career entice interesting insights. Others, however, have the strange mix of intimacy and banality that suggest a Twitch live-feed format has morphed into real life, with people firing off the first thing that comes to mind. “Have you managed to fix the toilet in your house?” was the kind of question that illustrated the odd all-consuming nature that comes from being a prolific social media star, but I couldn’t claim that the answer, “not yet, but we’re working on having it pulled out, and the tiles replaced” provided much audience entertainment.
Deserving of the fandom he receives, it was unavoidable at times throughout the show to wish there was more time devoted to showing off Limmy’s comedic writing ability, and less on any ongoing plumbing issues.