A star on the rise, Award Winning Comedian Mo Omar has proved himself within the comedy circuit, having taken part in various competitions and events, most notably having performed on Harry Hill’s Clubnite on C4, and the Pleasance Comedy Reserve at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2019. Making an appearance at this year’s Vault Festival, Mo tells us more about how Canadian-Somalian rapper/poet/singer-songwriter K’naan (known here for his World Cup anthem in 2012 Wavin’ Flag) has inspired him and more!
Hi Mo, you’ll be performing stand up at this year’s Vault Festival on 1st and 2nd Feb. How are you feeling ahead of the show?
Excited, last year my show fell on my birthday and so at the end of the show a group of lovely Canadian lads (they’re like normal lads but are a delight) bought me a sherry to celebrate (it related to an anecdote). Also writing this I have to mention grammar isn’t my strong suit.
Your show is a work in progress exploring culture, faith and love. What inspired you to explore these themes?
It’s actually based on K’naan’s 2012 album, Country, God or the Girl. He was the first person I saw in popular culture who spoke to my experience. Talking of immigrating, integrating and having to consolidate two identities. Then when he hit the “big time” with a song picked up by FIFA, record executives convinced him to change everything that made him unique so as to have a broader appeal. Creating what he said had been “drowned out by the loud siren of ambition”. Personally I quite liked the album, but I do wonder what it was he was trying to say and whether I could myself write my own version while a) staying true to my experiences and b) communicating to wider (read whiter) audience. I feel uniquely positioned to as I’ve been called a “freshie” and “bounty”, sometimes by the same person. I’ve never felt I’ve held the right opinion in any topic but I think we’re funniest when we admit and explore our own hypocrisies. Does that make sense? I got a B in GCSE English so I’m pretty confident but not in my grammar.
Audience feedback and responses will prove pivotal in shaping your show. Does this positively/negatively impact on your performances?
The feedbacks in the laugh, I’ll pretty much know straight away whether I’m talking drivel or not. Also feedback means people were there so how can that be taken negatively?
How have you approached creating the show?
It’s an organic thing, I wish I had a system but I write quite sporadically and constantly which means I’m never not but never fully am. Then it’s compiled, cut and trialled. Rinse, repeat and NEVER DELETE!
What are your hopes for the show post the Vault Festival?
It’s a work in progress and will hopefully be taken up to Edinburgh as such. I don’t much see the point in rushing. I like the process.
What can audiences expect from your show?
A fun time with a lot of z’s at the end like those mall concerts they used to have. They were before my time but I’m trying to make you associate me with a nostalgic memory or if like me it was before your time, make you think I’m all cultured. Also again le grammar est ne strong-suite.
What would you like for audiences to take away from the show?
What advice would you give to aspiring stand up comedians and theatre makers?
To never get bogged down by lofty ideas (trololol). I’ve never been funnier then when I’m accepting my own shortcomings. Doing badly means you tried and that’s no small achievement.
Questions by Lucy Basaba.
Mo Omar will perform on Saturday 1st and Sunday 2nd February 2020 as part of this year’s Vault Festival. To find out more about the production, visit here…