(*No, not in a Jamie Theakson sense.)
Okay, first of all, we concur that the most important aspect of it all is that the largest possible amount of money is raised for good causes. That’s why it exists, and it’s tremendously good at that. Okay? Okay.
Right. Why doesn’t Comic Relief have more than naff all actual comedy in it any more, eh? Yes, yes, rose-tinted noses might forget that the early Red Nose Days had a lot of filler in them (you don’t see that Carla Lane one-off with Wendy Craig and Jean Boht waxing wry in a nightclub washroom cropping up on any ‘best of’ compilations, do you?), but no matter how how good or bad the standard, at least it was all identifiable as comedy. Each fresh Red Nose Day seems to be taken up with yer standard TV presenter types getting to announce dance-offs, boy bands and the like, with any actual comedy restricted to pre-filmed sequences.
Here’s a quick look at the presenters for Red Nose Day 2011 (the proper bit, not the pre-recorded highlights show that goes out at a billion o’clock in the morning, which clearly doesn’t count). Actual comedians in bold:
19:00 - 20:05 Michael McIntyre, Claudia Winkleman
20:05 - 22:00 Graham Norton, Davina McCall
21:10 - 22:00 Dermot O'Leary, Davina McCall
22:00 - 23:10 Lenny Henry, Fearne Cotton
23:10 - 00:00 Jonathan Ross, Claudia Winkleman
00:00 - 00:40 Jonathan Ross, Claudia Winkleman, Jimmy Carr
00:40 - 02:15 Alan Carr, Fearne Cotton, Claudia Winkleman, Davina McCall
Noticeably sparse, aren’t they? And the number of female comedians given the chance to host: zero. All a shame, and while you could indeed claim that maximising the amount of cash coming in is paramount, it does seem to be the case that the vast majority of money Comic Relief makes is raised before the show even starts, with the various crisp-wine-T-shirt-toy-based tie-ins having been running for weeks beforehand. So come on, why not at least treat us to an hour hosted by Jo Brand and Sean Lock? Jon Richardson and Sarah Millican? Vic, Bob and Alice Beer (who isn’t a comedian but hey, the hosts of Families At War, reunited as last)? We’d wager the vast majority of Britons won’t get scared off as soon as they see someone who hasn’t appeared in a bikini on the front of FHM, we promise.
Anyway, while all that was going on, we took the opportunity tweet YouTube clips of actual comedy from Red Nose Nights past, each time something boring or harrowing was on telly (hey, we still think they’d make a lot more money if a £10 donation could give you access to a Sky Box Office channel where the appeal films are replaced with classic comedy clips). And, as suggested by Twitter’s Ian Symes, here they are, all embedded in one Firefox-buggering page, just after the ‘Read post’ link…
Actual #RND Comedy To Watch Instead Of Etc.
1: Vic & Bob & 75 pints.
2: Eddie Izzard does a set on actual telly, 1993:
3: Whose Line Is It Anyway, 1989:
4: 73 Of A Kind Crimewatch sketch, 1988:
5: Rory Bremner, Andy Gray and Melvyn Hayes, together at last!
6: "The Belgians?"
7: Hot Metal - The Satellite Years (1989)
8: Blackadder, The Cavalier Years
9: Wood and Walters as Marjorie and Joan.
10: Paxman's Bring Your Kids To Work Day:
11: The Goodies reunion.
12: Lenny, Griff, Wossy and a big comedy bed (1989):
13: Stavros does Hamlet (1989):
14: Fry & Laurie On The Horns Of A Dilemma (1991)
15: CONTINUITY: When RND Still Had To Wait For Wogan (1989):
16: Celia Imrie and Peter Howett advertise Gold Bland (1989):
17: The last ever ever One Foot In The Grave (2001)
18: Richard Wilson, Paul Merton, One Foot spesh (1993)
19: Smashie and Nicey (1993)
21: The Young Ones with Bob Geldof (1986):
22: Ted and Dougal host Comic Relief 1997 (Pt1).
23: Blankety Blank with Serafinowicz, Pegg, Frost. Lucas, Walliams et al (2003)
24: Smashie and Nicey – Thank Fab It’s Friday (1997)
25: Finally, it’s Rowan, Lenny and Kate Bush, in an unused advert for the Comic Relief 1986 album.
Okay, get though all that? It did used to be better, didn’t it? Anyway, Comic Relief still does a marvellous job, and at least this year they did do 24 Hour Panel People, which is one of the best Comic Relief things ever, which makes it annoying that there was no way to re-watch it if you missed the first 16 hours of it like us. Tsk.
So, give them a few quid, why don’t you? Donate to Comic Relief HERE, you monster.