As a follow-up to my last post about Comic Relief, I’d like to take this opportunity to completely contradict myself. You see, despite everything I previously wrote being what I sort-of believe, I still support Comic Relief. I watch it, I buy the CDs, I donate more money than I can afford. If they ever asked me to write for it I’d be looking down on the moon.
Several reasons why. Firstly, many of the things done in the name of Comic Relief are of such high quality – such as Moffat’s Doctor Who sketch – that it would be ungrateful not to phone in and add to my credit card debt. Secondly, a lot of people I admire and respect are involved; not just comedians, but writers, producers... all working for no money, without cynicism or self-regard. I genuinely believe that. I wouldn’t say that applies to every single person involved with Comic Relief, but the exceptions are very much in the exception.
Thirdly, or fourthly, or whatever number I’m up to now, when Comic Relief started it was as an alternative to things like Children In Need, where charity was a head-patting, patronising, Blue Peter-type of gesture; portraying those in need as ‘victims’ requiring our ‘pity’. Comic Relief didn’t do that; I remember Griff Rhys Jones’ remarkable film about disability not being a matter of charity, but of campaigning for equality; they even used The Housemartins’ ‘Flag Day’ as backing music.
And whilst the African babies with flies on their eyelids still get the headlines, what’s really admirable about Comic Relief is that it gives money to ‘unsexy’ causes which would otherwise find it hard to get a public profile, such as those for reformed drug addicts or those who have suffered domestic abuse.
So ignore that last post.