Mo Gilligan is laughing in the face of racist critics who take issue with his success – vowing to keep winning despite hate.
The TV host is exploring the history of Black comedy in new Channel 4 documentary Mo Gilligan: Black, British and Funny tonight, speaking to his stand-up heroes and investigating why so few have made it onto mainstream telly.
Mo, 32, has become one of the most successful Black British stars of the last five years, earning a Bafta this year after becoming the first Black presenter in 20 years to front a primetime show, following Richard Blackwood.
But with his success, there’s always some fun sponges ready to try and tear him down, and speaking to Metro.co.uk, Mo knows that it’s all too common.
Even now, he’s still getting comments from trolls who think there’s ulterior motives to him doing so well.
He told us: ‘When I won my Bafta, someone said “Well he’s only won it because what’s going on politically! Even when you’re winning, you can’t win!
‘At the same time, I find it amazing that they just get rattled, and I think that’s a cool thing. They just sit there, in an angry place, but there’s nothing you can do! There’s nothing I can do [for them].
‘I could spend time replying back to people and stuff, but the best thing to do is just keep winning.’
‘It’s a very, very small minority now, he said. ‘People that write reviews are mainly people who are quite in an angry place.
‘If you’ve got bad customer service from somewhere, you’re going to be like “yeah I’ll write a review about this place, and I really didn’t like it”. As opposed to people that enjoy it, that are like “Yeah, that’s great. I’m gonna buy a ticket!”’
Mo isn’t the only one to experience this, with his pal Nabil Abdulrashim, who he met on the comedy circuit, earning thousands of complaints by appearing on Britain’s Got Talent and performing a stand-up routine about life as a Black Muslim.
But, just like Nabil, he credits his time in stand-up comedy for helping him brush off the hate.
‘I would say, if you can perform on the Black comedy circuit you can perform anywhere because you know the level of laughter you get,’ he said.
‘You really have to prove yourself on that circuit. When you get into a mainstream space, a comment from someone who doesn’t have a picture is not really doing nothing for me right now.’
‘I’m not bothered bruv. I find it more funny, if I’m honest,’ he concluded.
‘The kind of negativity that comes from that, for Black comics performing on the circuit, if it was a pinch of salt, it would be the crumb of the sea salt.’
Mo has since called upon channels to champion more diversity on both sides of the camera to make sure there’s not another decades-long gap as he continues to succeed.
Mo Gilligan: Black, British and Funny airs tonight at 10pm on Channel 4.
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