Mo Gilligan says documentary ‘celebrates the black comedy circuit and icons’

Mo Gilligan has said making his latest documentary has inspired him to do more projects of a similar nature.

He fronts Channel 4 documentary Mo Gilligan: Black, British And Funny, which sees him remember the comic veterans who paved the way for his career and also look at up-and-coming stars on the comedy scene.

Gilligan, 32, who is the first black comedian to front a primetime show in 20 years, will also look at the history of the black comedy circuit.

He said: “I think getting in this space of making this documentary has been really fun and I think what I learnt going into it has changed coming out of it, which has been really cool.

“So definitely to make … it’s hard to call them documentaries, it feels more like a film, it doesn’t feel like I’m investigating something because it’s part of my scene and my culture and my entertainment DNA, as such for me it’s definitely doing more of these kind of journeys and documentary.

“In lockdown, I’ve just been writing a lot really so just trying to explore that, and I don’t know what that would be in the form of – whether it’s a film, or sitcom, or more tours and stuff…”

Gilligan refers to comedians like Slim and Angie Le Mar as people who inspired him growing up.

Black History Month
Black History Month

Of the documentary, he said: “It’s really celebrating the black circuit and the icons that came before me that paved the way for someone like myself to get into the position I am now.

“My story often sometimes gets lost in the fairytale that sounds good, you know – ‘Oh, this guy was in retail and then Drake discovered him and he’s on TV’.

“That sounds great for a Hollywood movie but that’s not the reality. I wasn’t able to go to things like Edinburgh and forge a career in that path, it was the path of the black comedy circuit and it’s really just celebrating these icons and the circuit as well.”

Gilligan’s Channel 4 chat show, The Lateish Show With Mo Gilligan, won the entertainment performance gong at this year’s virtual TV Baftas.

– Mo Gilligan: Black, British And Funny airs on Channel 4 at 10pm on Thursday October 15.