What’s happened to comic relief? 

Comic Relief, the British charity founded in 1985 by comedy scriptwriter Richard Curtis and comedian Lenny Henry will be on our TV screens this Friday evening. I wrote this post originally last year and I still stand by my opinion that it’s more about celebrity stars than an actual cause.

The TV show has, for the last 32 years seen celebrities, comedians and actors come together to encourage the public to raise millions of pounds for people in Africa and the UK. The aim is to make people laugh in order to raise cash. Funny seeing as it’s not funny at all. What’s happened to British comedy gold?

Facts & figures 

  1. Since 2016, Comic Relief has helped 860k African children receive lifesaving vaccinations
  2. In the U.K, over 40k people have had access to support for a mental condition
  3. The fundraising event took place at the 02 arena in London’s Greenwich
  4. Generally the event will be broadcast from early evening till late at night, normally with a break for the BBC news at ten
  5. The event will include comedy sketches that will hopefully entice the audience to part ways with their cash
  6. Sport Relief and Red Nose Day are all part of Comic Relief
  7. It was inspired by Bob Geldof’s very own Live Aid
  8. Sponsors include BR, Oxfam, Sainsbury’s and TK Maxx (where you can buy this year’s t-shirt, all donations go to charity)
  9. All monies raised through Red Nose Day is spent on people living in the U.K. and Africa
  10. Since it started, over £1billion has been raised

Now that’s all well and done and it’s a huge achievement that that much can be raised in the same time as my life on earth, but Comic Relief, like hundreds of other charities are missing a huge point. I’m all for world peace and that but this country doesn’t see half the money raised that we pump into other countries. When are we going to start paying attention to our own country instead of giving away our money? For years our NHS has been collapsing because of our overflowing boarders, the number of rough sleepers in England has risen by 16% in a year, there are 2k children in he U.K. who need to be adopted.

In 2013 BBC’s Panorama exposed how Comic Relief invested millions in arms, tobacco and alcohol and sitting on a goldmine of £100million. In the Daily Mail, it was reported in 2014 that there were 195,289 registered charities in the UK that raise and spend close to £80 billion a year, no doubt, 6 years on that figured has increased to a shocking amount. It’s always baffled me and made me wonder why do celebs do it, how can they give up their time so easily and does all that money actually go to those in need?

1. Why do celebs do it? 

It was reported in August 2016, that celebrities who appear on gameshows get paid anything up to £10k each just to take part and celebrities that take part in Comic Relief do it out of the good of their hearts. Now this is where my line for celebrity ‘good’ is drawn. In 2013, a M. Whight wrote to the BBC asking what fees presenters and celebrities get for taking part in Comic Relief and BBC gave a less than satisfactory statement claiming under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, the answer is none of our God damn business. So, to answer that question, who actually knows?!

2. Does all the money raised go to those in need? 

They say it does. They make a huge promise on TV to the nation, that every penny goes to those in need in Africa and the UK, but, having had friends work for charities, having gone for an interview when 21 for one of those annoying clipboard charity jobs and for reading this (David Craig’s 2014 book on charity scandal), it makes you wonder how much of anything that they say is truth. After paying their various staff members, senior management, marketing costs and whatever else, what exact percentage goes to the cause in need?

Last year’s comic Relief was shocking on so many levels, mainly for two reasons,

  1. The fact that over £48m was raised when the UK should invest more needed funding into its own country and not pushing out to Just international aid
  2. There was no “comedy” just celebrities desperate for attention – what’s with all the reality stars doing on these channels now?

Hopefully this year’s Comic Relief, is less cringe and more for supporting of our own. I wish charity causes would actually support charity rather than payout the big man and his knights of the round table. Comic Relief as with any public charitable organisations often change people’s views when most feel like money making machines. I do support charities and give donations as they seriously do good effective work for their cause, but I hate how most just ignore the cause and sit on their own fat cheques.

It’s a murky world out there and it shouldn’t come as a surprise that donations don’t always reach the cause, but it’s such a shame that this country heavily pushes celebrities to encourage children, youngsters and adults to buy into the branded merchandise and more without families all over knowing that their hard earned cash may actually be filling other people’s pockets rather than supporting the cause.

Whatever your view is of Comic Relief or any charity for that matter, know the charity you support is doing everything it can to offer relief.

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