Red Nose Day
Jack Black checked up on a Ugandan teen that he met during last year’s Red Nose Day.

Red Nose Day, a fundraising campaign run by the non-profit organization Comic Relief Inc., was held this year on May 26. The campaign works to free children around the world from poverty.

The Red Nose Day Special is a live two-hour primetime television event that brings celebrities together to use the power of comedy to raise money. This year, the organization partnered with NBC, Walgreens, M&Ms and the Bill and Melissa Gates Foundation.

Jack Black, an American actor, comedian, musician and producer, was one of the 2016 participants of Red Nose Day’s inaugural telethon. He took a look back on his experience last year, when he traveled to a Ugandan slum and met an impactful young man.

Black was brought to tears when he visited the slums of Kampala, Uganda, where he met the orphaned teen named Felix. Black spent two days with Felix, learning how the teen made his living selling plastic bottles and slept on the dangerous streets at night.

The experience stuck with Black. The telethon covered an update on Felix, showing viewers how the teen benefitted from the organization’s efforts and giving Black some peace of mind.

When Black visited the slums, he was shocked at how much it emotionally affected him. He found it unfathomable that teenagers were sleeping on the streets and had little to no access to basic necessities.

During Black’s trip, the teen asked if he could go home with Black, saying, “I want to go with you.” While holding back tears, the actor replied, “I don’t think I can take you home. I don’t think it’s allowed.”

After the emotional experience, Black now feels better knowing that Red Nose Day has helped teens like Felix. In the video clip update, Felix describes his life now, saying: “I’m not scared anymore. There is no scary place. I would like to do well at school and complete my bright future. Now I have a dream.”

Felix additionally thanked Black for sharing his story with the world. With the funds raised by Red Nose Day, Felix was placed in a counseling program and then with a foster family. He is also now receiving an education.

This year, Black took a comedic spin on tackling child poverty. He said the best way to donate is simply by buying a little red nose, noting that they are great stocking stuffers.

The little red noses must have been a hit, as Red Nose Day raised $31.5 million this year. This money goes a long way in aiding the global poor. According to the Red Nose Day organization, $4 buys anti-malaria to protect mothers and children against mosquitos, $5 buys antibiotics to prevent pneumonia in children, and $15 can keep a child safe and sheltered for a week.

Globally, Red Nose Day has raised $1 billion in the last 25 years. While half of the money is given domestically, the other half goes to the poorest communities in places like Africa, Latin America and Asia. The funds are directly given to children in need of safety, education and healthcare.

In 2015, $170,000 was given to provide vaccines to children under the age of five living in the poorest communities in Africa. $30,000 was given to children and families in Africa that do not have access to clean water and sanitation.

Some of the 2016 charity partners included the Children’s Health Fund, The Global Fund, OXFAM, Save the Children and Gavi.

Kimber Kraus

Photo: Flickr

comedy as philanthropy
NBC announced recently that the network would partner with Comic Relief UK, a British charity, and Funny or Die, a comedy video website, to bring American viewers standup, music, short films and sketch comedy in May 2015. The network will raise money for charities both in the U.S. and across the globe through the television program.

Comedy as philanthropy? The idea might surprise Americans, but it is quite familiar to many British television viewers. Comic Relief has been around since 1985 and has promoted Red Nose Day, one of its two major fundraising campaigns, since 1988.

Red Nose Day is the brainchild of Richard Curtis, who will be an executive producer on the American special. Curtis’s name might sound familiar to fans of films like “Four Weddings and a Funeral,” “Bridget Jones’s Diary” and “Love Actually, ” because he wrote all three screenplays.

Curtis’s charity event takes place every two years. On the day of the event, the BBC airs comedy programs. The event has succeeded overwhelmingly in its goal to “inspire the nation to give generously.”

In 2013, Comic Relief featured Simon Cowell’s marriage in addition David Brent, with his own brand of awkwardness, who played the British version of Michael in “The Office.” In the end, the charity raised £100,331,808 (about $172 million.)

By channeling our desire for entertainment toward charitable purposes, Comic Relief has had a considerable impact.

The charity distributes viewer donations by awarding grants to projects that promote some or all of the following five concepts: (1) “better futures,” (2) “healthier finances,” (3) “safer lives,” (4) “stronger communities” and (5) “fairer societies.”

Grants are awarded both in the UK and throughout the rest of the world. Most importantly, the organization has had a great impact in the areas where it is involved. In the realms of education, HIV treatment and malaria prevention, Comic Relief has helped millions, according to their website.

The hope, then, is that Comic Relief’s successful methodology will resonate with an American audience. The charity has some notable friends in the U.S., which bodes well for the endeavor.

In fact, the most prominent American philanthropist strongly supports Comic Relief’s efforts. “I’ve been really impressed by how Red Nose Day in the UK has both raised large amounts of money and also engaged the public on the issues of poverty,” said Bill Gates, adding: “I hope lots of people from throughout the U.S. will participate.”

– Ryan Yanke

Sources: Deadline, Comic Relief 1, Comic Relief 2, Comic Relief 3
Photo: Mirror

Laughter is fr universal language, and comedy is a much broader medium, than given credit for. Laughing is disarming, warm, enjoyable, and can help unite people. It isn’t a stretch to imagine that comedy can also connect and rally people to fight intractable problems. Humor can indeed be a powerful weapon against the scourge of something like global poverty and the absences of technology and education in communities. This is the very idea behind Comic Relief, an organization operating in the United Kingdom and abroad that stands up to poverty.

Existing officially as both a company and charity in the UK, Comic Relief began in 1985 during Christmas season at a Sudanese refugee camp. Renowned and well-meaning British comedians hoped to raise awareness of the Sudanese plight and the Ethiopian famine going on. The success of that first event spawned more live comedic appearances in Sudan and gave way to Red Nose Day in 1988, which brought much needed attention and money to the region that went directly to relief. Since that time, Comic Relief has grown in size and scope, spreading laughter and awareness of numerous other initiatives.

One of those other initiatives is Send My Friend to School (, a nonprofit movement in the UK working to make the Millennium Development Goal of education for all children a reality by 2015. A member of the Global Campaign for Education (GCE), the initiative boasts UK membership of over 10,000 schools and youth groups. Another initiative Comic Relief supports is the intrepid See Africa Differently ( campaign, aimed at changing the world’s perception of the continent and sharing stories of real people there that aren’t covered in major news. For example, the London art scene has recently been enthralled with the works of West African artists.

A very personal and striking account of Comic Relief in action is the story of teen sisters Hazel and Hiayisani in Tembisa, South Africa. Orphaned after their mother’s sudden illness and death, older sister Hazel was now in the position of caring for herself and her sister. Poor and completely exposed to the worst of society, they were at risk of being split up by Social Services, falling into a life of crime or the world of sexual slavery. However, after finding the Bishop Simeon Trust, a Comic Relief partner in Tembisa, the girls were able to join other orphans. They now receive a stipend and care packages from the trust to live on, free education, and enjoy time at the Bishop Simeon facility with other teenagers.

Comic Relief is best known for its initial and ongoing fundraiser, Red Nose Day. Happening every few years, this international event is celebrated mainly in the UK and Africa. For those who participate, the objective is to put on a red nose and be ridiculous. Proceeds from the event go directly to initiatives like the ones mentioned above, aimed at education and the changing of negative international typecasts.

Comic Relief has shown that maybe laughter is the best medicine for social ails.

David Smith
Sources: Comic Relief –History, Send My Friend –About, West African Art Pops Up in London, Comic Relief –Hazel and Hiayisani, Africa, Red Nose Day –What Is It?
Photo: BBC


For celebrities and average Joes alike, Red Nose Day is a great chance to make a complete fool of yourself. The idea, originating in the U.K. and supported by the BBC, is to take one day every other year to donate some of your time, humor, and your nose to help change lives across the U.K. and Africa. Wearing red noses, thousands of people across the United Kingdom take to “comic relief” (also the name of the organization behind Red Nose Day) as a way to raise money for households in need.

The U.K. audience is no stranger to those laying it all on the line for a laugh. So, it’s no surprise when even the more serious celebrities, including David and Victoria Beckham, take to donning red “badges” of courage and let themselves be the butt of a little sporting humor. The famous couple was interviewed by Ali G, or Sacha Baron Cohen, to raise a few bucks for the cause and hilarity ensued.

But the day is not reserved for the wealthy or famous. Young and old people across the U.K. get together to raise money by hamming it up on and off the stage. From schools and grocery stores, to a live comedic set on the BBC Red Nose night, few public spaces and TVs are safe from the do-gooders and their jokes. This year, the day saw contributions accumulating to well over 100 million pounds.

Although Comic Relief and Red Nose Day donations go to fund projects worldwide, the vast majority of money is centered on projects in the U.K. and Africa. Generally, the issues addressed by these projects concern poverty and social justice, but also include mental health and asylum causes, among others. Every four years, the funding structure and program investments are reevaluated to accommodate change in the world and the local communities in which these projects take place.

On a rolling basis starting September of this year, Comic Relief accepts grant applications to receive funding for potential projects. The 2009-2012 funding cycle just ending, so now is the time for organizations to apply for these grants. So, if you have an idea that you would like to pursue, check out the application process here.

Herman Watson

Sources: BBC, Red Nose Day, Comic Relief
Photo: Chronicle Live


Raising money and awareness can be fun! Or at least this is the motto of the individuals committed to Comic Relief-a UK based organization working to create a just world free from poverty through their funny antics.  The biggest annual event is Red Nose Day. This telethon boasts the trademark of red noses and includes stand-up comics and all sorts of funny acts to raise awareness and money for the organization.

The Fun*Raisers include well-known celebrities and even Miss Piggy in the day long event. Each Fun*Raiser has a speciality such as dress-up, bake, sell, challenge, entertain, and dare.  They offer tips and advice for hosting an event.  Schools, organizations, and individuals all across the UK participate in Red Nose Day.  The website-– has some amazing resources and ideas for fundraising in general.

This past Red Nose Day was held March 15 and the fundraising total is currently at $141 million USD with funds still being collected.  The funds raised go to support UK charities giving shelter to young people and protection to those living with domestic abuse. In addition,  funds go to Africa to provide clean water and life-saving vaccines.  The organization is working hard to ignite change throughout the UK and across Africa.

Red Nose Day helps to bring awareness to their mission through a very simple object-a red clown nose.  By wearing one, individuals are identified with a cause and the day is devoted to raising money and having fun in the process.  The website has games and funny ideas and stories of how thankful individuals are for the help they have received from the organization.  Keep an eye out for next year’s Red Nose Day and find out how to get involved here.

– Amanda Kloeppel

Source: Red Nose Day
Photo: Sony Music

red nose day
Friday, March 15, 2013 was best spent celebrating Red Nose Day by sitting in front of the television watching Comic Relief – Funny for Money on BBC One. The show was full of comical sketches, musical performances, and celebrity appearances all to help raise money for Comic Relief, an organization working to make the world poverty free. It definitely resulted in a great deal of laughter, which is the point of Red Nose Day, which promotes “having fun and changing lives” as one of its main goals.

Red Nose Day is a day for everyone “to put on their Noses, pull out all the stops, and get fundraising,” according to the official Red Nose Day website. Literally, on Red Nose Day everyone puts on red noses and clowns around, eliciting laughter and donations. Celebrity support of the day came from an array of celebrities – from Rihanna, who donned a Stella McCartney red nose t-shirt, to Ron Burgundy of Anchorman, who performed in one of the comical sketches. And, of course, One Direction, a big supporter of the Comic Relief organization, made an appearance, performing their hit song, and the official Red Nose Day single, One Way or Another (Teenage Kicks). Yet, one celebrity stood above the rest, Jessie J, a panelist for the show The Voice. On live television, Jessie J sacrificed her lustrous black bob in order to boost the amount of money raised, all of which is going to Comic Relief. After shaving her head she said, “It is the weirdest feeling” to have no hair!

The money raised for Comic Relief is going to help support a variety of people and projects in both the United Kingdom and Africa. In the United Kingdom, it will, amongst many other things, help provide shelter to young adults living on the streets and help protect those who have suffered from domestic abuse. In Africa, it will help by providing life-saving treatment for malaria to communities by giving them access to clean and fresh water and much needed vaccines.

Red Nose Day was celebrated throughout the United Kingdom and Africa. As of 6:30pm on Friday night, Red Nose Day had raised over £75 million, setting a new record for the most money raised in the 25 years since the creation of Red Nose Day. The total amount raised, however, has not yet been released.

If you missed the “the star-studded and unmissable Comic Relief- Funny for Money” (Red Nose Day) show on Friday, don’t worry! You can get exclusive clips on iTunes, with all purchases going to support Red Nose Day.

– Angela Hooks

Sources: UK Yahoo, Red Nose Day, BBC
Photo: Red Nose Day

Jonathan Ross Red Nose Day
March 15 will mark the 25th anniversary of the charity organization Comic Relief’s Biannual Red Nose Day. The event, which began in the UK in 1988, is an all-day affair that showcases British comedians performing telethon-style with the ultimate goal of raising money for poverty reduction in Africa. Since the first event, the organization has raised 660 million pounds for the cause.

What now appears to the public as a well-rehearsed and professional telethon was once a much more amateur affair with the most earnest of the organizers and performers of Red Nose Day holding it together. British talk show host and comedian Jonathan Ross recalls one mix-up from the early years when Welsh comedian Griff Rhys Jones began a comedic bit with his trademark enthusiasm only to realize that he was supposed to be presenting a tragic event. Despite moments of confusion, the event was a wild success and continues to be an important national event to this day.

The organization does not simply raise money to be passed on to indiscriminate sources. Walking through the halls of a Comic Relief-assisted school in Accra, Ross was impressed by the real world impact that a little money collected from thousands of people can make. He recognized the importance of the school to the community in helping the children gain a solid education to escape poverty.  When faced with the reality of the effect that the charity money makes, it is obvious that the school is more than just a place to collect impressive donation statistics or take riveting photos for a catalog. It is an institution that means a great deal to the community.

Ross admits that the idea of using comedy to highlight tragedy, as in the staggering poverty in Africa, is a risky way to raise awareness. Regardless, the performers and the organization have built a large following in the early years that has only grown since then. At the least, Red Nose Day is a bright and cheery way to bring awareness to global poverty on the international stage.

Sean Morales

Source: The Guardian

The band One Direction includes five boys: Niall Horan, Harry Styles, Zayn Malik, Louie Tomlinson, and Liam Payne. They recently visited some of the poorer areas of Accra, Ghana as part of Red Nose Day. One Direction is helping an organization called Comic Relief by giving the proceeds of their upcoming single, “One Way or Another,” to the charity. This single was made as part of the Red Nose Day project, which often give proceeds to the area of Ghana that the boys visited. Comic Relief is an organization that aims to eliminate poverty worldwide through the form of entertainment. They have two main campaigns: Red Nose Day and Sport Relief. Sport Relief is a program that involves thousands of people to run a certain number of miles while raising money at the same time through sponsorship. There are also a few other scattered sports-related events to raise money throughout the year. The other campaign, Red Nose Day, is the project that One Direction have chosen to involve themselves in. The band is helping Comic Relief by following the basic idea of this program: to raise money while enjoying themselves; in this case, through music. Also, One Direction is helping the Comic Relief  Organization by visiting Ghana. When they visited Ghana as part of their video, they encountered the lifestyles of those living in the impoverished areas. The boys in One Direction have said their experience in Ghana was life-changing and moving. During the trip, some of the boys were brought to tears by the school they visited, and the children attending it. Harry Styles commented, “If you get involved in it and you don’t cry, you’re superhuman.” Overall, the boys want to have a positive impact on as many peoples’ lives as possible. To see the band being interviewed on the subject, click here. – Corina Balsamo Sources: Comic Relief, One Direction Music, Belfast Telegraph