Mo Gilligan on ‘pressure’ of representing black community on TV

By Lucy Mapstone, PA Deputy Entertainment Editor

Mo Gilligan has said he felt “massive amounts of pressure” in representing the black community when he landed his TV jobs at Channel 4.

The comedian and presenter co-hosts The Big Narstie Show on the channel and had his own entertainment series, The Lateish Show, having risen to fame following years on the stand-up circuit and through posting his own comedy clips to social media.

Gilligan, 31, also had his own Netflix comedy special called Momentum last year.

He told fashion website Mr Porter that “to have a special in itself is sick”, adding: “But this has come at a time where, with things like Top Boy and Stormzy at Glastonbury, it’s almost like we’re giving our UK culture to the world.

“And we’re doing it our way, without watering it down.”

The London-born star said the significance of his work on a major TV channel was not lost on him.

“There was massive amounts of pressure because I was representing the black community,” he said.

“But there was also the thing of ‘Don’t make us look stupid. Don’t go on there doing stuff that makes us cringe’.”

He said that moving from grime rapper Big Narstie’s chat show to hosting his own sparked another reaction from fans.

“People were saying ‘So did you snake Narstie? Does that mean The Big Narstie Show is finished?’” he said.

“It’s not like I’m some chosen one and there isn’t any room for any other (black hosts) after me.

“The response to a lack of black people on TV shouldn’t be ‘Oh well, we’ve got Mo on at 10pm, so that’s all we need’.”