4 Min Read
GLASGOW, Scotland (Reuters Life!) - If you can design a swearing internet xylophone you may end up with your own BBC comedy show one day -- just ask Brian "Limmy" Limond.
Billed variously as "Scotland's most exciting new comedy talent," "internet sensation" and "evil genius," the Glasgow comic on Monday launches his first BBC TV series after rising to fame online with a string of videos, podcasts and pranks.
"I never made my website to try and get anywhere, it was just a laugh," Limond told Reuters in an interview this week.
The journey from his own computer monitor to national television screens is a departure for a man who has not shied away from controversy, and recently posted a new tool on his website offering a unique response to networking site Facebook.
"With the internet I just love how anything goes, especially in the light of this whole Sachsgate," he said, referring to the outcry that followed prank calls by BBC star Jonathan Ross and comedian Russell Brand to "Fawlty Towers" actor Andrew Sachs.
"People are so quick to get offended. I start to feel like it won't be long before they start (censoring) the internet."
"But I accept there are certain things you can't get away with on television," Limond said, looking ahead to the six part sketch show that will air as "Limmy's Show" on BBC 2 Scotland.
After creating a website with animated shorts during the dotcom boom, Limond's expletive-ridden xylophone was spotted by a British magazine, soon followed by one of the video clips he first made as "a stupid wee idea" to entertain his girlfriend.
"I just started posting stuff on the site, and it got about," the 35-year-old said. "It never made any money."
Whether musing on how it would be to wake up in the morning to find his face a mask of blood or extolling the virtues of elderflower cordial, Limond's stock gradually rose after the footage shot in his flat began reaching thousands of people worldwide when video-sharing site Youtube went online in 2005.
More people began following the atheist teetotaller when his "World of Glasgow" podcast began broadcasting the wisdom of fictional Scottish characters invested with traits like dour self-importance, canniness or a love of violence.
Championed by local rock band Franz Ferdinand, the online phenomenon won invitations to perform stand-up, eventually resulting in a pilot episode last year for the new series.
Despite his thick Glasgow accent, Limond has won admirers in places as far afield as Norway, Brazil, Russia, France and the United States, whose linguistic influence on Scotland -- Americanisms -- the show has "a moan about," he said.
Limond, a fan of English satirist Chris Morris, is also a strong believer in an independent Scotland, which he said is too often viewed "through the prism of England."
"I don't want Scotland to be more important than England," the former web designer said. "There's just a cancer of low self-esteem in Scotland and a general feeling that if we were to break away it would be game over and we would be bankrupt."
"If that is the case then that's exactly what we should do. Why are we, a country that would be bankrupt, leaching off another one? It's our responsibility to make it work."
Limond does not vent his spleen on the subject in the new series, partly because the regular broadcast only goes out to Scottish viewers, he said. But that won't last, he added.
"No doubt somebody will stick the show on Youtube," he said. "Some criminal. Some pirate."
Editing by Paul Casciato