Comic Relief’s popular fundraising initiative returns to our screens on Friday 15th March. The telethon event will kick off at 7pm on BBC One, with plenty on the agenda to reel in donations. Hugh Grant and Andie McDowell reunite in the epic revival of ‘Four Days and a Funeral’ set 25 years on, while Richard Madden resurges as ‘The Bodyguard’ and Lord Sugar brings back his first special-edition ‘Celebrity Apprentice’ after a decade.
But with comedy at the core of the charity, one of the main appeals involves a one night spectacular at Wembley Arena on the 28th February with some of the biggest comedians on the bill. In the past, Graham Norton, Dawn French, Jennifer Saunders, Jack Whitehall and Jonathan Ross have all been part of the petition, helping the event to surpass donations of over £1 billion together with its sister event Sports Relief. Since 1985, Comic Relief has always delivered plenty of humour and feel good entertainment, and the roster for this year is right on track. Keep reading to discover which top comedians have pledged their support to join the charity’s co-founder, Sir Lenny Henry for Red Nose Day 2019.
The award-winning comedian is best known for presenting TV shows such as ‘8 Out of 10 Cats’ and ‘Your Face is Mine’ as well as hosting ‘The Big Fat Quiz of the Year’. He is known for his penetrating sarcasm and dry sense of humour, often controversial at times but consistent in shocking audiences. Though spending much of his time on the small screen, Carr has continued to perform stand-up shows throughout his career. His new ‘Terribly Funny’ UK tour will run from May 2019 and expected to end on 4th December 2020.
The Canadian comedian, presenter and actress has been part of the UK comedy circuit since immigrating in 2008. She has appeared on ‘8 Out of 10 Cats’, ‘Bring the Noise’ and became Carr’s partner in crime for the reboot of ‘Your Face is Mine’ in 2017. Her honest and pithy one liners are unmistakable, matching Carr in the roasting of contestants on their show. She showed excitement at being involved in this year’s Comic Relief Spectacular, stating that ‘with a name like that, you know it’s going to be an extravaganza.’
Much of Jones’ themes in her stand up shows surround disability, in particular her cerebral palsy. She claims to use it to her advantage, as in having it she can push boundaries while also opening the conversation about disability through comedy. Though she has been writing for many hit TV shows in the past, including ‘Harry Hill’s Alien Fun Capsule’ and ‘8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown’, her own debut show took place just last year. Alan Carr expressed his excitement for Jones to join the Comic Relief Spectacular, dubbing her the ‘rising star of comedy’.
The Scouse comic is no stranger to doing things in the name of charity. In 2012, he completed a triathlon over five days for Sport Relief, which included a 298 km cycle from Paris to Calais, rowing across the English Channel to Dover and then a 140 km run to London the following day. His efforts raised an impressive £4.2 million for the cause, which arguably spurred him on to do more (less hellish) charity events. Following the completion of his latest ‘Winging It’ tour, Bishop has a select few shows scheduled so far for 2019.
Famed for his deadpan style, Ranganathan follows 2018 - arguably the busiest year of his career - with a UK tour starting in September this year, with some shows already sold out. The stand up comedian regularly explores different politics and cultures in his material such as his BBC show ‘The Misadventures of Romesh Ranganathan’, and his own documentary ‘Just Another Immigrant’, while also taking on the role of a regular panelist on ‘The Apprentice: You’re Fired’ in 2015 and on ITV’s ‘Play to the Whistle’ from 2015-2017. Ranganathan is no stranger to Comic Relief events, having had a paddle fight with his mum on stage back in 2017 to the surprise of audiences.
Through infectious energy and heaps of charisma, Love is one of the comedians that have you laughing and smiling throughout. Her motto is ‘Laughter is Healing’, and so she aims to resonate with as many people as possible in her shows, making light of everyday obstacles and situations. The Comic Relief Spectacular won’t be the first time she’s used comedy as a tool to help others, having travelled with a group of comedians to refugee camps in the past. However, the ‘rising star’ has described the inclusion in such a big charitable event as an ‘honour’.
After giving himself the nickname of ‘Mouth of the South’ thanks to his 2015 tour, Beckett is back with new material in his upcoming tour ‘Wallop’ this October. His last was so overwhelmingly popular, Beckett extended its run by two years! As a sought-after comedian with down to earth style, Beckett has also be recruited to co-host ‘I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here! NOW!’ spin off shows, ‘All Together Now’ with Geri Halliwell and ‘Celebs Go Dating’. The comedian began participating in stand up events a decade ago, and has since featured on the top comic TV shows with other big names involved in the 2019 Comic Relief Spectacular.
Born in Dorset but raised as a comedian in Manchester, Carr is one of the circuits most recognisable faces thanks to his range of TV shows. He began with hosting ‘The Friday Night Project’ alongside Justin Lee Collins, before going solo and eventually creating ‘Chatty Man’, which ran for seven years. As an award-winning TV personality, Carr will bring his usual tongue-in-cheek quips and irony to the Comic Relief event, having been a popular guest for the appeal in the past. He announced how thrilled he was to be back doing stand up for one of his favourite charities.
Taking his inspiration from Lee Evans and Frank Skinner, Howard’s endearing and friendly appeal have made him one of the UK’s most successful comedians with millions of social media followers. His shows ‘The Russell Howard Hour’ and ‘Russell Howard’s Good News’ were viewed by masses, with segments of the latter reportedly going viral. The Comic Relief Spectacular won’t be the first time the comedian has worked with the charity. Back in 2017, he travelled to Liberia to see first hand how the funds were helping people there, describing it as an ‘eye-opener’. He claims he is ‘delighted’ to be joining forces again, stating ‘gigs like this are great’. Howard will also be travelling to the rest of the UK in his upcoming world tour ‘Respite’ in September.
Taking comedy to another level with a Punch and Judy-esque flair, Conti uses onstage puppets - in particular ‘Granny’ and ‘Monk’ the monkey, alongside witty conversation in her shows. Conti won a handful of awards as she transitioned from acting to the comedy loop, and is now regularly a headliner at comedy shows and festivals around the world. Known for engaging with audiences, here’s a gentle word of warning to those attending the Comic Relief Spectacular, Conti may just pull you up on stage.
Best known for starring in Ricky Gervais’ ‘Derek’ as ‘Hannah’, Godliman is the ‘straight-talking, quick-witted’ (Off The Kerb) and incredibly talented (Alan Carr) actress and comedian whose talent translates equally from TV to the stage. Her career constantly means switching it up, where one day she’s on tour and another she’s heading back to the set. And now she’s heading to the SSE Arena to join other comic heavyweights and rising talents.
Red Nose Day 2019 has perfected the programme for the ultimate night of comedy, combining comedians of different backgrounds and comic styles to keep the laughter rolling in all evening. And what’s more...it’s all for a good cause!
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