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Got Mo' laughs: We speak to comedy sensation Mo Gilligan

SENSATION: Mo Gilligan is taking the world of social media by storm, and has sold out many of his solo tour dates

IF YOU haven’t heard the name Mo Gilligan this year, then you must be living under a rock. The south-Londoner has been all over Instagram feeds, Twitter timelines and Snapchat, thanks to his collection of bite-sized, social media ready clips, with the comedian depicting various characters from ‘The Roadman’ to ‘The Geezer.’

“I was doing comedy for a while when I started to do little videos on Snapchat and sometimes I’d post them on Instagram and Facebook,” says Mo. “It was never meant to be a thing, it was more like if you like it, you like it, if you don’t it don’t ¬– and that’s what happened.”

Mosiah Gilligan was raised in Camberwell and begun his interest in comedy whilst attending a performing arts school in Pimilico. “The school I went to is known as a special music school and it was a really good school for acting too,” recalls Mo. “Growing up, I wanted to be a footballer but it wasn’t until I was in secondary school that one of my teachers said I should look into acting.

“Eventually I realised that to be a footballer, you should be signed to a major club at around 15-16 yeas old and I wasn’t. So I looked at drama as another option.”

Deciding to take a back seat to his sporting dream, Mo begun to take performing arts - comedy specifically – more seriously and took inspiration from some American comedy greats. “Def Comedy Jam was a big inspiration for me. I remember watching it and going into school the next day and telling my classmates all about it and they’re laughing like I’m the comedian.

“I wouldn’t say that made me want to do comedy but watching them made me think that ‘oh, I could maybe do that one day’”.

And it didn’t take long for that day to come, as Mo made his first comedic performance at a friend’s comedy night at 19-years-old. He says: “A family friend of mine used to run a comedy night not to far from Peckham and he asked me if I wanted to go and do a little set. So he put me on the bill with proper comedians and I went and performed - it went really well.”

Mo’s acting background and stand up humour only took him further in his career, from performing at small comedy clubs and weddings to one of his most memorable stints as the host for The Sunday Show. “The Sunday Show was a massive part of my growth and it was a chance for me to try new ideas and material.”

The weekly event included performances from Amerie and Blackstreet Boys to the UK’s very own Ed Sheeran. “Seeing those acts and their success made me think as a creative that if I kept going id’ be really successful too.”

With these experiences came moderate success for the creative, but there was still more that he wanted to achieve. “I was at that stage where I felt like I needed to branch out and perform to different audiences up and down the country,” states Mo. “I didn’t want to limit myself to one demographic – I wanted to make everybody laugh. So I decided to leave the show and from then on, I had to go back to the drawing board and reinvent myself a little bit.”

This reinvention provided fruitful for the comedian, as a fresh mindset and a new team took him to different surroundings whilst remaining true to his vision. “I started to perform at festivals and begun to see comedy in a different form and realised that it’s so much broader than taking place in a comedy club.”

“When it comes to comedy I always stay true to who I am. I never feel like I have to dilute it – if I can do the same material to different types of audiences I think I’m winning.”

This strong desire to remain true to his craft whilst evolving with the times is partially what took Mo to the next level, as his short video clips hit the web. From boasting over 495,000 followers across his social media alone, getting co signs from the industries biggest figures and most notably - selling out his one-man-only nationwide tour – Mo is finishing 2017 off with a bang and there’s much more to come. “The co-sign from Drake was definitely a big moment this year. Some might see it as it’s just on Instagram, but he has 38 million followers and he didn’t need to do that.

“And as for the tour, I’m excited to take the show to the people, up and down the country, instead of just doing a one off gig.”

Even with his stand-up, Mo – the man who’s perfectly mastered the art of online comedy – still takes into consideration how young people absorb online content. “The way people watch comedy is through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. People aren’t going on YouTube to watch a ten-minute video because our attention span is smaller. So I take all those things into consideration for my videos and how my show has been structured.”

And if he could choose between online and stand up? “I haven’t been doing the videos that long so I enjoy both. But if I had to pick one it’d be stand up because it’s live. It’s in front of a people, and you can’t compare seeing someone laughing in front of you versus seeing a bunch of laughing emojis on a video.”

“With online you can plan and retake which is great, but stand up is live and it’s like having the audience in the palm of your hands – you can’t buy that.“

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