Limmy: What the fuck happened?

UPDATE – 12th November 2012

A blog reader, who happens to work in a sandwich shop got in touch with me last month, to tell me that Limmy had been in, they had discussed his work, and she mentioned that – although she had heard good things about his television show, she was concerned about some of the things that he had been saying online – particularly as a woman who works in a sandwich shop and who faces sexual harrassment in her job.  Limmy went and read the blogpost and apologised to her for the comment and asked her to pass the apology on to me as well.

With his new series starting tonight, I very much hope that he has taken this on board and gone back to what he does best – making fun of all of us through showing us our common humanity, and in doing so humanising the outsiders.

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I loved Limmy, I really did.

Ever since chancing across his show flicking through channels one night, I thought I had found something fresh and original.  Edgy comedy in the best traditions of Rab C Nesbitt and Still Game in a sketch format.  With characters like Jacqueline McCafferty, embodying working class self-doubt;   Dee Dee, who over-analyses the simplest of situations and Wee Gary, making a profit out of playground exploitation.   Neds, Junkies, schoolkids, dodgy prophets, frustrated suits – all portrayed with a level of sympathy and warmth, a striking contrast to the cruelty of Little Britain.


With similiarly marginalised characters we are invited to laugh at Vicky Pollard, Emily Howard and  Daffyd Thomas in a way that we can’t with Limmy’s creations, for there but for the grace of God go we – embarrassed in a posh restaurant not knowing how to pronounce something we really want; a chain of thought that won’t budge from your head and starts driving you mad; cultural ignorance which is exploited by the less noble of your mates.

A common theme running through the show was the internal narrative of paranoia that runs through all of our heads – the wee guys who controls everything you dae.   In this it harks back to Ben Elton in his glory days (before he started writing shite musicals and performing for George Bush).  In the mid-80s, an audience sick of the sexist, racist spoutings that passed for comedy, embraced the new alternative comedy, with Elton leading the charge.  Based not on – “look at them, look how weird they are, aren’t they funny”; but rather on “look at us, look how weird we all are; aren’t we funny”, it brought a level of innocence back to humour that had been defiled by endless sexism and racism.

Now, humour is an odd beast – one woman’s rape is another man’s hilarilous anecdote (trigger warning) to be told in front of an audience of thousands, so when you find that kindness in comedy – someone who can bring humour out of the marginalised by demonstrating how similar they are you and how ridiculous you are -  its a thing to be treasured.

Yet over the last week, I’ve fallen seriously out of love with Limmy.  It started on Twitter, when I got this retweet which used the hashtag #whitepeopleblues, which contributed to the satirical lampooning the accusations of racism levelled at Dianne Abbott.

#whitepeopleblues Lifelong poverty, heroin and alcohol addiction, then dying of natural causes at 52. #glaswegian

Not only missing the point of the hashtag, but also that black weedgies fare no better in the addiction, poverty and deathrate stakes.  But hey ho, nobody’s perfect.

But then yesterday there was this…

Splish splash, yer maw’s cunt needs a good wash.

…posted to his facebook page.   As one of his defenders pointed out, you need be a weedgie to fully understand the joke “yer maw’s cunt” can either be taken literally, or with “cunt” as a West Coast moniker for person, it could refer to her partner.  Regardless the “humour” still rests on the dirtiness of female genitalia.  Predictably it unleashed a torrent of misogyny from wee guys that thought they were being funny, with no challenge from the big man himself, despite several fans pointing out how unacceptable it was.

None of it seems to have been taken onboard with his latest facebook posting today.

Ask a lady at Gregg’s if she’s got a fresh fanny, and you’ll be brought a French Fancy. No way did she hear what she thought she heard

Now for the sake of brevity, we’ll ignore the benevolent sexism in referring to a female shop-assistant as “lady”, but why the fuck would you be asking the “lady” in Greggs if “she’s got a fresh fanny”?  To embarrass her, to make it clear that her cunt might “need a good wash”, and that you, a random male – for these posts are aimed at squarely at males – see fit to inquire about the state of her intimate hygiene because hey, you’re a bloke and she’s just a woman in public place, employed to serve you.

To anyone living outwith Scotland, Limmy has rapidly become an institution, with many of his catchphrases being repeated at opportune moments – at the eviction of the Hetherington for example, as supporters blocked the street, forcing the police to reverse up University Gardens, chants of “Wrong Way Down a One Way Street” filled the air.  I don’t think its inconceivable that women working in Greggs will face sexual harrassment from daft wee customers who think they are funny; nor do I think its inconceivable that there might be a fair number of daft wee customers tomorrow who get slapped in the coupon.

But its not funny; Limmy’s not funny anymore.  He’s gone from being the freshest comedy talent in Scotland to an parochial obscene Bernard Manning.

Sort it out, Limmy.

 

Leave a comment below, or join the discussion on the or join the discussion on the Second Council House of Virgo facebook page. .
17 comments
lksa
lksa

"we’ll ignore the benevolent sexism in referring to a female shop-assistant as “lady”"


- this is one of the stupidest sentences I've ever read. 

lksa
lksa

"we’ll ignore the benevolent sexism in referring to a female shop-assistant as “lady”" - this is one of the stupidest sentences I've ever read.

Gordon
Gordon

He didn't actually ask if she had a fresh fanny. You're missing the joke.

David Limond
David Limond

The World of Glasgow stuff is free on itunes and I know a lot of episodes have been uploaded on youtube now.

mhairi
mhairi

Oh - so he has. Goodness. Deleting the offensive posts (like I and others asked him to at the time would have done!) Your earlier post got caught in the spam filter, not sure why, but yeah you are probably right I am over thinking his comedy, but then I have a tendancy to overthink everything, if my brain had an off switch I would be a far happier bunny. I haven't seen the "world of Glasgow" stuff, but will take a wee look at it (link?). I think people always pick up on punchlines and to be honest that scene of the police reversing with everyone singing "One way...." was hilarious and pissed the police off no end. I was really just using it to point out how culturally ingrained he had become among a section of Scottish youth.

David Limond
David Limond

I see his facebook page has vanished. Maybe he read this and called it a day?

David Limond
David Limond

I was rather hoping to come here and see someone tear my brother a new arsehole for the way he's became a kinda wishy washy "west end" version of his former self who uses Twitter ramblings to shock the same people he always despised as a youngster (west end student types) but to be honest i think you over think the whole concept of his comedy. Like beauty, comedy is in the eye of the beholder and I'm afraid It's one of those "look if cunt's like it, then cunt's like it" scenario's.Let's face facts SOMEONE must have thought Bobby Davro was funny at some point to give him a show too. The "World of Glasgow" stuff, to me, was really good (I'm assuming you've heard that podcast series from 2005 but then again I've just realised you said you've only started watching him after a chance encounter flicking through channels.You should check it out) and I thought he's onto something really big here.It never materialised for me though, a lot of 80's humour targeted for students who have to google to get the punchline.It had it's wee moments but on the whole wasn't terrific. Anyway I'm just throwing in my opinion here, I'm still in two minds whether not to hit the "post comment" button for fear of over analysis on my post. Oh well, here goes. oh and don't get too annoyed at people quoting shitty lines from his show.I mean after all, 12 years ago the nation were all saying "gonny no dae that?" and for the life of me i still don't get the joke. Maybe someone here can clear that up for me. What was the funny part of "gonny no dae that? How no? Just gonny no?"

Chris Ingram
Chris Ingram

Oh, Brian you are so typical of so many men who react with outrage whenever anyone brings up the word 'feminism'. Clearly a sign of guilt and of defending the indefensable. If you actually undertsand a signgle thing about feminism, and were in any way inclined that way your self, you would see completely what the author of this superb blog is saying. If I can get the quote from memory acurate: "I think thou doth protest too much!"

Brian
Brian

"we’ll ignore the benevolent sexism in referring to a female shop-assistant as “lady”," - This is both incredibly stupid and sloppy. Referring to a female worker as "lady" is not sexist, no matter how much you want it to be. "Lady" is a word we're taught to use with respect, to imply grace and authority, and it's absolutely ridiculous to try and insert some sort of offensive subtext where there isn't any. You're using femenism as a weapon against someone you plainly dislike, which is both intellectually infantile and massively damaging to femenism as a cause. It's like implying that the word 'black' is racist, simply because you disagree with the sentiment in general. "But its not funny; Limmy’s not funny anymore. He’s gone from being the freshest comedy talent in Scotland to an parochial obscene Bernard Manning." Bit of a leap, based on a few flimsy references that in no way differ from his entire body of work. Limmy's comedy can be offensive to a huge number of people, if they decide they want to be offended by it. Most of which you apparently loved until you found something that upset you, personally.

George Mackin
George Mackin

I find a lot of comedy on the whole cruel and the stuff I like generally outlines the absurdity of life and at times makes you want to have a wee greet.. I have never heard of this guy before. Yip, I agree. This is in the worst possible taste and is downright nasty.

mhairi
mhairi

Cool - thank you will take a look

mhairi
mhairi

“Lady” is a word we’re taught to use with respect, to imply grace and authority" EXACTLY. Because "woman" isn't respectful enough, so we give the faux title of "lady", to bump up a bit of respect. When was the last time that you referred to a male shop assistant as a "gentleman"? based on a few flimsy references that in no way differ from his entire body of work. Nonsense - there's a cruelty here and a woman hating agenda that runs through macho white working class Scotland. Its not something that we should be reveling in or encouraging, but actively challenging. Limmy's strength was that he identified the wee bit in all of us that saw that bus going somewhere we had never been, saw it as exotic and dreamed of jumping on for a split second - but only a daft skint stoner with a paranoia complex can really sum up the feelings that we have about such a trip; or the feeling that we weren't really good enough, and people knew about our skeletons and were judging us accordingly - but only an ex-junkie can really embody those feelings like no other. He had emotionally incontinent marginalized characters playing exaggerated versions of us, and we warmed to them - to their failings, to our failings and to our mutual humanity. Yes, there was an element of cruelty in John-Paul (the wee ned character) but ultimately he looked ridiculous - a Quixotic figure chasing windmills, you sympathised with him because you felt his frustration, but you also sympathised with his largely innocent victims, and in doing so you realised the whole dance that we were trapped in - of frustration breeding resentment breeding inhumanity breeding frustration....and again, no matter what "side" of the John-Paul/victim dichotomy you were on you could sympathise, because usually at one point or another, you've been both. This has moved to a "look at them...go laugh at them...come back to us ..tell us how you laughed at them".

mhairi
mhairi

Take a look at some of the clips from the show linked at the beginning of the article. They don't have the same cruelty, except perhaps man's cruelty to fellow man, but you have sympathy for the characters that he develops, and you're generally on their side, even when they make a fool of themselves (even if you are a bit cringy)

Brian
Brian

So, the problem is that it's TOO respectful. What a pickle. It's rather hard to keep track of which terms are apparently offensive, since it seems to vary from person to person. Some people are offended by being called 'coloured' and say: 'call me BLACK, please' - while others are offended by being called black. I use the word gentleman sometimes, and it's sometimes used towards me. I don't really go around calling people 'misogynist' when I hear it, though.

admin
admin

Thanks, good comment. The post is on the front page, because its been one of the most popular posts this week, so yes, I would imagine that people are still reading the comments. The most recent posts can be found in the box with the images at the top.

NickD
NickD

Brian, you're missing the point, spectacularly. "Lady" in certain contexts would not be sexist (other than its mild allusion to a antiquated gender stereotype that is usually passive and docile) - in some contexts it could convey respect (as a form of address, for example), and certainly you could give it the benefit of the doubt (like you could, in certain cases, with "coloured"). Here, the whole point of "lady" is to draw an ironic contrast with "fresh fanny" - i.e it makes the mockery more acute, and reinforces a Madonna / Whore dichotomy you're doubtless familiar with. Making women ashamed of their bodies is a pretty old tactic of (sexual) control and denigration; "lady" heightens this projection of shame, adding the suggestion of hypocrisy and deceit (also a time-worn trope in the misogynists' closet) or even getting above your station (let's not even talk about class). I'd say calling "sexism" is spot on. If Gregg's workers have to take this shit the guy has a lot to answer for. Good post. Whoops, just seen that this is almost a year old. This blog is confusing. Ah well, maybe someone's still reading the comments....

mhairi
mhairi

"So, the problem is that it’s TOO respectful. What a pickle." Thats why its called *benevolent* sexism - like holding doors open for women, helping them down from high stools etc. It is difficult to keep track of terms, thats true. "Coloured" was once seen as a polite way of saying Black, on the basis that being Black was so horrible that it was rude to make mention of it - in the modern UK Black is usually the preferred term for people who don't identify as white.

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