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Comic Relief

Nozin' aroundLAUNCHED ON Christmas Day 1985 by NOEL EDMONDS, COMIC RELIEF has, down the years, popularised such phrases as “stick a red nose on your conk”, “pants” and of course “there’s thousands of Amys everywhere” (never as heart rending we feel as Bet Lynch’s “but then there’s the kiddies” on ITV’s short-lived TELETHON).

And never more can an honest citizen walk up a homeless person-strewn backstreet of one of Britain’s major cities without calling to mind the opening piano bit from Coldplay’s Trouble.

Much like IT’LL BE ALRIGHT ON THE NIGHT, COMIC RELIEF has established itself as classic workout fodder for your video remote controller, with the fast forward button deployed whenever JULIE WALTERS/ANNIE LENNOX/BILLY CONNOLLY pops up on screen.

Inevitably over the years, the show has lost all of its edgy appeal, and what was once an unpredictable night of alternative comedy has long since transmogrified into the kind of mutual back-slapping society that retains a shred of artistic integrity, thanks only to the fact that we know it really pisses off ALEXEI SAYLE. For many though, the sad truth is that COMIC RELIEF lost its last vestiges of coolness once there were no more Saturday morning kids shows for LENNY HENRY to piss about on the next day (always a highlight that).

Still, it raises loads of money for good causes, and for that, we’re quite happy to put up with hour upon hour of television that thinks comedy consists of an incongruous celebrity turn up in the middle of a sketch. Make your donation here!



  1. Lee James Turnock

    May 5, 2010 at 4:28 pm

    Memorably described by Mark Leigh and Mike Lepine in one of their books thus – “You’ve seen funnier sketches on a war artist’s pad”.

    BUT… they at least showed the ace Monty Python Montreux entry compilation edition once. They got Spike Milligan to sit hogtied in a pile of ‘Best of Q’ videos to do a BBC2 link following a repeat of There’s A Lot Of It About. They reunited the Goodies for an all-too-brief sketch which proved that they were still funny. And the first night’s efforts ended with the “Abu Ben Adhem” sketch from Not the Nine O’Clock News. Kudos?

  2. Gavin

    March 18, 2011 at 9:45 am

    Whose the man next to Chris Evans?

  3. Neil Carruthers

    March 18, 2011 at 12:42 pm

    I think it’s Dominik Diamond, from his Gamesmaster days…

  4. Neil Carruthers

    March 18, 2011 at 12:53 pm

    Just messaged him, yes it is he. Apparently he was launching the Comic Relief videogame, later played by Vic Reeves on Gamesmaster.

  5. Gavin

    March 18, 2011 at 6:49 pm

    Thought it might have been him. The Video Games give it away.

  6. Palitoy

    March 29, 2011 at 3:34 pm

    Comic Relief’ was a fairly landmark televisual occasion in the late eighties. For one thing, thanks to its mining of archive clips of comedy shows from Python through to Blackadder, scheduling of superior fayre such as ‘Blazing Saddles’ and ‘And Now For Something Completely different and short UK and abroad films, it educated broadly and deeply.
    In its early days, it was comedians who ruled the roost, with Wossy getting in on the act because, as we later discovered, all those weird folk popping out from under his armpits or interrupting ‘The Last Resort’ would become Vic n Bob, The Fast Show alumnus and Oscar winners.
    My friends agree that post ‘Four Weddings and a Funeral’, when Curtis, Elton and Henry et al’s comedy stopped “Righting On” and began “Writing Cheques” it all became a little too much of a brand. Curtis became a sainted Bill-Gates-Of-UK-Comedy figure, Ben Elton went from coolest guy on TV to despised culture traitor and Henry peddled Chiltern valley wine on the mirthless ‘Chef!’
    Furthermore, we need McCall, Wnkleman and O’Leary not to be involved in Comic Relief any longer. From a purely comedic perspective, Winkleman was the straight “man” to the big skinhead off of ‘Liquid News’ when it was on and is about as funny as your mum (sweet at best… not truly “funny”) while McCall looks like an angry Boglin with the terrible twos surmounting a slighter Sophia Loren-esque frame. She seems to have taken presenting lessons from the cruel (but hilarious) Marti Caine puppet ‘Round the Bend’ used to showcase – an upturned mop in a scarf, shaking at the camera.
    And, forget what you think you should think about ‘Hale and Pace’ – ‘The Stonk’ was the best Comic Relief single ever.

  7. Matty

    April 26, 2011 at 8:18 pm

    Neil Carruthers:

    I think it’s Dominik Diamond, from his Gamesmaster days…

    It is indeed, and they seem to be promoting now-largely-forgotten 1993 Comic Relief tie-in charity videogame “Sleep Walker”.

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