Founded by Richard Curtis, Red Nose Day is a biannual charitable telethon for Comic Relief that has been running on British television since 1988, earning millions upon millions for charities in the process. Concentrating on poverty relief and investment in African healthcare, it also has tackled projects including homelessness in the UK. It takes over BBC1 for an entire night (with half an hour on BBC2 during the news) but also spreads out across other TV shows, radio stations and into the community, encouraging and promoting fundraising activities. Red noses are sold in stores to wear, both on the nose, as label badges, or even attached to the front of cars. A national institution, in 2015, it is doing something new.
Coming to America.
And launching tonight with an NBC spot in the Superbowl starring Jon Hamm.
(try here if you are geoblocked)
I'm a big fan of Red Nose Day. Here are a few of my favourite examples over the years….
1997. Father Ted and Father Dougal host Comic Relief. This is just part one. It's like your own extra forgotten episode of Father Ted.
1988. Blackadder: The Cavalier Years. An entire series compressed into one sketch.
I'll make do with 2009's Mitchell And Webb and Armstrong And Miller reprising the latter's 1940s modern teenage fighter pilots…
Not on YouTube sadly is 2005's Mitchell And Webb's Table Of Reds with Chris De Burgh. Oh, it was good, even if the live studio audience hated it. Another trend… see also Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer in 1991. Not a clue from the audience, but it was wonderful.
Four years later in 1995, their style of comedy was a little more familiar and got slightly better response. Only slightly though.
The Mighty Boosh did a little better in 2007 by actually making sure there were fans of theirs in the audience during the more obscure bits.
2007 also gave us Ricky Gervais with "Pop A Tent Up," the ultimate in effectively skewering the entire event, critcising the motives of those involved with Comic Relief and similar charity appeals. Brutal.
Also not on YouTube is Harry Enfield killing off the Loadsamoney, but we do have his Stavros in Hamlet with Jonathan Pryce from 1989.
In 2001, The Fast Show exploded the relationship of Ralph and Ted by inserting Robbie Williams.
In 1995, we had Dawn French in "that" dress snogging Hugh Grant. Though the lead up is the point.
But the French And Saunders sketch that most sticks in the mind is Sex from 1988.
From 1999, Steven Moffat's first attempt at writing Doctor Who for the TV…
…in 2011, we'd get the in-continuity Time And Space.
We got a mashup of One Born Every Minute and Call The Midwife… and Doctor Who…
One of the most hated sketches, though mostly in retrospect, was Catherine Tate and Tony Blair in 2005. But I still love it, and it retains the absolute shock and surprise of a that nation's standing Prime Minister doing… this.
Oh and twenty years ago, they published this…
With contributions from Neil Gaiman, Alan Moore, Pete Millgan, Grant Morrison, Mark Millar, Jamie Hewlett, Dave McKean, Simon Bisley, Melinda Gebbie and so many many many more.
Donations. Of course there are donations. I have. You can go here.