Mo Gilligan: ‘The funniest heckle? Your flies are open – and they were’

The award-winning standup and television host on the things that make him laugh the most

The funniest sketch I’ve ever seen …

The Prince sketch from True Hollywood Stories with Eddie Murphy’s brother, Charlie Murphy. The sketch is them going to a nightclub where they meet Prince, played by Dave Chappelle, and they end up playing basketball. Prince was playing in heels and was really good at it. The fact that it’s a true story makes it even funnier.

The funniest TV show I’ve ever seen ...

This was a hard one: it was out of two shows, the first one being The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. I grew up watching that show and I always felt like the family was my family a little bit, you know? Will Smith being the funny guy, Carlton the annoying brother. You kind of age with them as well. Me and my friends would just quote it to each other. The other show was The Real McCoy on the BBC – that was the first time I’d seen black people on TV being funny and just doing comedy in a sketch show.

The funniest film I’ve ever seen …

It’s got to be Coming to America. That film for me is just so iconic – I know all the words to it. One time I went to Jonathan Ross’s Halloween party dressed up as Prince Akeem. Only one person recognised me but it paid off – they came up to me and were like: “Oh my God, you have the best costume here.”

The funniest heckle I’ve ever had …

Once I was on stage and I was doing really well – had the crowd in the palm of my hand, as they say. And then someone just shouted out: “Your flies are open.” And they were. So I just carried on doing the show with my flies open.

The funniest item of clothing I’ve ever owned ...

There was a shop in Carnaby Street that used to sell really quirky items. About 10 years ago, a friend of mine bought one of these so I thought:“I’m gonna buy one too.” It was like a black gilet with a hood on it, and it had a long tail – like a butler’s tail of a suit jacket. It was that, but imagine it had no sleeves. I never left the house in it – I looked so, so stupid. It was quite expensive as well, like £150. It’s the worst item I’ve ever bought. But looking back on it, also hilarious.

The funniest meal I’ve ever eaten …

After the first time I had Wagyu beef – where they massage the cow – what that translated to me, I don’t know why, was that they’d massage seasoning into the cow while it’s alive. I was telling people this with confidence for two years.

The funniest dream I’ve ever had …

I had a dream once that someone accidentally put a million pounds into my account. I woke up and checked straight away, and there was obviously no money in there – fuming. But this dream felt so real I kept checking my account every other day, thinking: “Maybe it’s a sign.”

The funniest thing that shouldn’t be funny …

At the moment, it’s Americans on Twitter taking the piss out of #thingsbritishpeoplesay, like: “Going to me mam’s on chowsday.” They spell the words wrong – it’s nothing like how we speak. But then you’ve got a load of UK people getting irate over it, which I find even funnier – it’s like two jokes in one.

Mo Gilligan’s All Star Happy Hour is on Monday 25 May, 10pm, Channel 4


Kathryn Bromwich

The GuardianTramp

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