Limmy’s Show is for my money the best British sketch show of the 2010s, admittedly it doesn’t have as much competition as it should have but it means that I admire it even more than Vic and Bob’s Big Night Out and that’s really saying something given how much I love that show (even if it is a very close run thing). Limmy decided he only wanted to do three series and a special though, and then hoped to make a sitcom around recurring character Falconhoof, but the BBC were ridiculously annoying and turned down the opportunity.
Everything then went a little quiet for a while (tv wise at least, he did produce a couple of slightly disappointing collections of short stories and can often be found live on Twitch playing games and telling stories) but then in 2018 a pilot for a new sketch show aired, with the main difference to Limmy’s Show that it didn’t have the very talented supporting cast that his previous sketch show did. But it was still a fantastic half hour of comedy, packed with a great selection of Limmy’s trademark skewered takes on life and thoughts and feelings about some of the more unusual aspects of your day to day existence.
Fortunately the BBC didn’t screw up a second time and when I heard a three episode series had been commissioned I couldn’t wait to see it. Frustratingly this first episode is a pretty enormous disappointment however, and as with his short stories and Twitch stream the quality control is all over the place, there’s a couple of real gems but far too much filler and a few sketches that made me shake my head and wonder why on earth he thought something would be funny in the slightest.
To start off on a more positive note there were at least a few moments which made me laugh out loud, with a one off sketch about manipulating crowds while DJing being particularly strong, and there’s a nicely unusual (and extremely well performed) bit where Limmy discusses his penchant for making a list of things to talk about with someone who you might not have seen for a long while, with that person then noticing said list.
On the “Eh, they had their moments but definitely didn’t deserve the amount of screen time they got” front the segments featuring Limmy throwing a teabag in to a cup occasionally made me smile, and a sequence where something unusual takes place when he accidentally films himself cleaning a mirror was kind of okay, the idea being strong at least even if the final pay off wasn’t all that.
Sadly they were the best of an average bunch though, and there were also some really weak and pointless sketches. A brief adaptation of one of his short stories about the smell of people’s shit was far less effective on screen than it was on the written page, and one ongoing bit of silliness about how they speak Portuguese in Brazil didn’t go anywhere and became increasingly irritating as it went on, as did Limmy following some arrows around the town, the repetitive aspect of the idea was presumably meant to be funny but it just wasn’t. That’s also the case with a sketch about meeting someone who’d blocked you on social media, and worst of all was a bit where he imagined what it would be like if he had to get a normal job that went nowhere interesting or amusing over and over again.
With all of these sketches (and a couple of others that I haven’t mentioned), I kept on presuming that there was going to be at least a really fantastic pay off, something that made them finally worthwhile, but it sadly didn’t occur. There was no bang, just the same thing being said time and again and it became less funny on each occasion rather than the opposite. The whole thing made me really miss the time when he created characters like Dee Dee and Jacqueline McCafferty and slowly explored their lives over time, and the low budget nature of the piece seems to have made him pretty lazy, all too often it has a “That will do” feeling to it, which was never an aspect of his previous tv work.