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Mo Gilligan: Momentum is unlike most comedy specials you may have seen before and makes Gilligan someone you have to keep a watch on.
|Screenplay By||Mo Gilligan|
|Genre(s)||Stand Up Comedy|
|Who Is This For?||
|Where To Buy, Rent, or Stream?||Netflix|
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Plot Summary/ Review
During most of Gilligan’s set, he is mostly talking about people you’d find on estates or in your life. He starts off with your direct family. Be it the pervy uncle, the dad who acts up at public things, and ventures into talking about his own family. Be it his rastaman father and his take on nursery rhymes, to talking about his mom raising him and his sisters. All of which feels like an hour pitch for a TV show.
For, from there, he talks about the different kind of school maters you’d have, the friends girls have when going out and even ventures to the kind of mates he would hang out with. And throughout this all, we have little song and dance numbers, with a live band, and you feeling like Gilligan is taking things to the next level. Sort of in a John Leguizamo type of way but less story and more just laying out one large foundation and world-building.
Not a lot of comedians have a live band or utilize them as Gilligan does. The only one I can think of is Amanda Seales, when it comes to Smart, Funny, and Black, but that’s it. But her band, while they play music, they don’t necessarily feel part of the show. With Gilligan, he doesn’t have them talk, but like a singer does a call and response, think James Brown, they participate like that. Making it so you see them almost like Gilligan’s partner or sidekick which help give a punch up to his jokes but never are a crutch for him to get a laugh.
The Musical Numbers
Mostly because Mo Gilligan on his own is hilarious. Specifically, when he does music numbers, like the rastaman bedtime stories, you will be dying of laughter. But, to truly show his diversity, he also highlights garage music and while his number for that is still comical, it also shows him as a diverse comedian. I’d even submit, while the songs he does are jokes, a soundtrack wouldn’t be the most horrible thing. If not him putting the tunes, even if in current form, on a platform like Spotify.
Fitting Outside The Storyteller Or Joke Assembly Line Dichotomy
Most comedians are either storytellers, like Dave Chappelle, or are like Kevin Hart where they try to hit you with joke after joke, they run across the stage, and do anything they can for a laugh. Gilligan doesn’t really fit either mold. Does he have one joke after another? Yes, but it isn’t machine-gun comedy. He isn’t firing off one after another, making it so whatever doesn’t stick is compensated by him playing the numbers game.
Yet, while he does a lot of world-building in his comedy, by talking about different people he has met or grown up with, it doesn’t feel like he is a storyteller either. He is more so a world builder and seems to want to connect to the audience in such a way that, you recognize he is on stage for a reason, but he also isn’t out of touch. He still remembers that high school bully with the reading impairment or knows about the way women and men are when at a club.
Making it so you feel like Gilligan has this common man vibe but rather than be that dude whose friends say he is funny, and he sticks to keeping the jokes in the group, he honed his craft. Thus leading to his observations maybe not being the most insightful or thought-provoking, yet still funny and the type of stuff you don’t think anyone with enough gall to get on stage could pull off.
On The Fence
It Can Feel Like A Pitch For A TV Show
To be fair, with Gilligan bringing up a million and one types of people and giving you enough to visualize a character description, this may sound like he is pitching a show. Perhaps a show about his childhood, featuring his family, school mates, and the people he lived with on the estates. Which, for some, if you don’t get his humor, may turn you off. However, to me, it sounds like Netflix may have someone new to throw money at.
Overall: Positive (Watch This) – Recommended
What Mo Gilligan presents in “Momentum” is the question: “Why haven’t I heard of this person before?” Of which the only allowable answer is because he only started a few years ago. But as the title of his special notes, the momentum Gilligan has will surely make him a household name and surely put British stand up comics, Black ones especially, on the map.