British Red Cross Comedy Night
Six months ago my best friend Rachael took me out for a drink to ask me a favour. And as I would do anything for this girl I went along gladly.
“I’m running the London marathon,” she said.
“Oh god, please don’t ask me to train with you,” I thought.
“Don’t worry, I’m not asking you to train with me. That would be daft. But I do need to raise £2000 for the British Red Cross.”
“Oh no again,” I thought, “I love the British Red Cross but I really don’t have any money right – ”
“And I know you don’t have any money. So I was wondering if you would help me organise a fundraiser comedy night?”
“OH THANK GOD YES OF COURSE I WILL DO ALL OF THAT!”
She knows me too well. And so it began.
It had been a while since I had produced a show and I’d forgotten how much I loved it. I’m very lucky to have the support of some great people in the industry like Steve Roe and Mike Hutcherson who helped me get started and of course doing all of this with Rachael made it way more fun.
My family also got involved. Look at this awesome poster whipped up by my Auntie Marie!
And just look at those names… Of course the best part of producing a comedy show is getting to choose all your favourite acts. All of them had the place howling and glowing.
I remember seeing Rachel Parris and Joseph Morpurgo at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2013 doing Austentatious and solo shows and thinking, yes, I love this, I wish I was doing that! And while we’ve crossed paths a few times it was great to have them on board for the show. They did not disappoint. I love Rachel’s stand-up so much that I forget she also does songs and then it just doesn’t seem fair that someone can be that talented. And every year Joseph’s solo shows just rip the air out of me and swivel my brain around. I urge you to see both of them at the Ed Fringe – if you can get tickets!
The Story Beast (AKA John Henry Falle) was also on my radar back in 2013 when he was part of The Beta Males. A great sketch group who unfortunately have disbanded for now but I’ve been lucky enough to work with a couple of them. The Story Beast really is a wizard. I’ve never seen a room full of adults so enthralled and giddy by a storyteller.
I had the pleasure of coming across Laurence Owen during one of my first ever Dante gigs at the Secret Variety Club. Another annoyingly talented person, he’s a composer and a comedian. So when he wants to parody a Disney musical he just writes a Disney musical. And it’s epic. He blew everyone away.
Another new favourite of mine is Gabby Best who was performing as Marijana, celebrity life guru. WATCH HER NOW. A powerhouse comedian and always an absolute joy to work with. She even performed with a broken toe! Watch out for her on Top Coppers and stand-up sets too.
The night had to end with a bang and it certainly did – The Kitten Killers. Possibly my favourite sketch group right now. Not just hilarious but moving and empowering. I come from a family where we certainly never talk about sex or genitalia but I’m sure I’m sure I’ve heard my parents sing “Camel Toe” and “Jizz Walk”.
“It’s dripping on the lino, is it yours or is it mine though? It’s the jizz walk”
I mean, Bob Dylan could have never written a lyric like that.
All in all the acts were great, the audience was great and a good time was had by all. The main reason for this though was the contribution from the British Red Cross itself. It meant so much to everyone involved to have Kerry Thomas, National Events Manager for the British Red Cross come to fill us in on all the incredible work they do throughout the UK and abroad. (She also had some pretty killer jokes prepared!)
There’s a lot going wrong in the world but you can trust the Red Cross will be there with the best people working the best they can to provide help and restore humanity. I’ve had a lot of love for them ever since I started my high school’s British Red Cross fundraising and awareness group back in 2007 but that’s a blog post for another day.
We managed to raise £650 on the night thanks to the generosity of the audience, the acts, the venue and many other supporters. It’s enough to help send Rachael on her way but there’s still time to help her raise even more for the British Red Cross.
She’s a good gal. The best.
- DONATE TO RACHAEL’S PAGE
- CHECK OUT THE BRITISH RED CROSS
- AND CHECK OUT THESE AMAZING ACTS