The Jester’s Privilege ~ Mo Gilligan: There’s Mo To Life


There will be “Mo” to say about this man’s career once it gets past its infancy, but one thing is already clear: he’s going to get a LOT of mileage using his name as a pun.

I say “infancy” loosely, because while he only achieved any sort of widespread acclaim in 2017, he’s done a fair amount since then. He hosts two shows on British television: The Big Narstie Show, where he is a co-host alongside Mr. Narstie himself, and The Lateish Show, of which is his own. He’s made appearances on Celebrity Gogglebox and The Big Fat Quiz of Of The Year, and this special, “Mo Gilligan: There’s Mo To Life,” isn’t even the first comedy special he has released. Clearly, there’s something about him that gives him an appeal to a widespread audience.

After watching his special, however, I’m not sure it’s because of his comedy. Sure, he’s funny. His voices and use of slang are very amusing, and his crowd work is as good as you can find. Then, looking at the topics of his comedy, it’s hard to applaud the content alone. The struggles of working in retail? Anecdotes of how annoying being on TV can be? The differences between men and women? Pretty sure if he had a quip about how insufferable his wife is, I would’ve had Superficial Comedy Bingo. In terms of fresh observations and hilarious stories, he brings little to the table.

Now, if I seem hard on Gilligan, it’s because I am. I’ve watched way too much comedy to let normalcy slide, especially if you are at the level of popularity that he has attained. I would be remiss, on the other hand, to not mention the part that makes Mo Gilligan quite the rare comedian, and that is his energy. Very few comedians are able to jump on stage and have the same enthusiasm and mannerisms as a hip-hop artist with a packed stadium, which does match Gilligan’s own definition of his genre of “grime comedy”. He even had the audience rap battling each other, spitting the most British insults at one another over a UK drill beat. That was pretty entertaining and displayed a lot of confidence in about half the crowd there that clearly had no idea what drill was.

I liken Gilligan’s special to a hibachi grill. Though what you get is a normal Asian noodle dish, what you pay for is everything else. The knife tricks, the flames shooting off the grill, the chef flirting with all the moms at the table. If the grill delivers in a flashy, entertaining way, and the food is edible, you get what you pay for. I feel like, with “There’s Mo To Life,” you get what you pay for. The dynamic showmanship and the lighting/musical elements to accentuate the jokes even out the mundane content, which are still funny at times.

I don’t see a lot of re-watchability with this one, but if you like British comedy that has a lot of character, it’s worth a shot. Or perhaps, for Julie, a couple of cans. (Did I do that right? Was that a good reference? I’m sorry, Britain, I have NO IDEA WHAT IT MEANS HELP ME)




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Nick McGlynn

Nick McGlynn

He/Him. Approaching the “trying something” era of my life. Twitter/Instagram: nickwritesjokes