Writer and comedian Mo Gilligan’s rise to fame is truly remarkable. Working at a clothing store in London in 2017 he and a couple of comedy friends posted videos on YouTube which gained a certain cult following among avid comedy fans and it wasn’t long before he began to get recognised by the public. This was also the year of his debut gig as a semi pro comic as he quickly became accustomed to the comedy community. Within a few months, the American rapper Drake stumbled upon Mo’s videos and cited him in an Instagram post which read “Enjoying this “Julie bring me a couple cans” weather today.” This was in reference to Mo’s cockney character created and performed on his social media.
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As a jobbing stand up in the heart of London, Mo was quick to learn the disciplines of the circuit and was able to ascend the ranks. On a typical comedy bill, there are usually three acts with an additional comedy mc who comperes the evening. It has become a rite of passage for any aspiring comic to perform all four roles starting as second on the bill, to first, before being considered as a headline act. This process can often take many years as comics patiently wait for their moment to shine. Yet due to his soaring popularity under the stage name Mo The Comedian, Mo became a headline act in just under a year and the next jump was obviously television.
With his connections to rap music and influences heavily rooted in transatlantic culture, Mo fully embraced the Grime scene of the day and had the ambition to emulate his heroes Chris Rock and Richard Prior by satirising and celebrating the fads and fashions of the day. In a similar way to the lively underground rap battles which were taking place in venues both here and in America, Mo promptly adapted the same attitude to his comedy spawning a brand new age of live performance. Such a unique approach brought him to the attention of TV executives particularly Channel Four who were looking for a comedy star to front a Friday night chat show alongside the Grime phenomenon Big Narstie. The Big Narstie Show was first broadcast on 29 June 2018 and was able to transform Mo Gilligan into an overnight household name as he attempted to maintain order alongside the notorious naive character.
The success of The Big Narstie Show was able to gain Mo high profile exposure and force producers to realise his natural flair for TV. Creating his own production company Momo G Ltd gave the young comedian more ownership over the work he produced and it wasn’t long before he secured his own late night Channel Four series. The Lateish Show With Mo Gilligan premiered on Friday 19th July 2019 and updated the TV chat show for the Social Media generation. The adoption of competitive segments involving both celebrities and the studio audience was new territory for the chat show format and allowed the public to see another side to their favourite stars. Spots including Nursery Grimes where guests sing popular nursery rhymes in the style of well known pop songs set this show apart from its contemporaries and Mo hopes that the show will prevail for many years to come.
Beyond chat shows, Mo has recently performed a one man show Momentum exclusively available on the streaming service Netflix and has since recorded second series of the hugely popular The Big Narstie Show which is set to air towards the end of the year with a Stand Up tour to follow in 2020. It was a great pleasure to interview the multi talented Mo Gilligan and I’m excited to see what’s next for one of Britain’s brightest stars.