‘We are asking people to think of the poor comedians and to pick up the phone and donate’, said Curtis. ‘Comedians need Red Nose Day. Take Lenny Henry, for example – it’s one of the few opportunities he gets to venture out of his Dudley Premier Inn.’
Curtis has admitted that if it wasn’t for Comic Relief, many comedians would be struggling to make ends meet in obscurity. ‘For just £2 a day we can ensure that these comedians won’t trouble you with any of their material again until this time in 2015. But if we don’t hit our fundraising target we’re going to have to let some of them go. Should our budget be cut, we’ve already lined up Russ Abbott, Les Dennis and Cheggers for the next one.’
Many people incorrectly assume that all comedians already have plenty of money. ‘Don’t be fooled by the large sums of money you see on the totaliser,’ said Curtis. ‘That’s just Jimmy Carr checking his bank balance.’
This year Comic Relief is hoping to raise both the funds and the profiles of many comedians in need. Miranda Hart will be completing a series of testing challenges involving ever more contrived ways of falling over while talking to camera, while Dara O’Briain and Jack Dee jumped at the challenge of riding a dinghy down the Zambezi river rapids, taking the place of the sick and underprivileged children who had been so looking forward to their water sports holiday.
But in addition to the comedy, viewers have been warned that they may find some of the footage distressing. ‘The return of David Brent is particularly affecting. Many of us found it too painful to watch.’