If you’re in the UK, you could hardly have failed to notice that last Friday was Comic Relief’s Red Nose Day, where comedians, celebrities and people who wish they were still celebrities gather to raise a chuckle and encourage the great British public to donate to good causes. As ever, Twitter had a lot to say on the subject, so here is a cross-section of some of the commentary from the evening.
Show me the (un)funny
Comic Relief celebrated its 25th anniversary this year, so it was perhaps fitting that last Friday’s fund-raising extravaganza should provide something of a send-off for BBC Television Centre. (Yes, I’m still banging on about it.) Oddly though, there was a lot of negative feeling on Twitter before, during and after the event, with criticism of how much money actually goes to charity, which charities they go to, how the government is exploiting charity to avoid doing anything for the needy itself, the lack of genuine comedy given this year’s ‘Funny for Money’ theme, and so on.
Guardian journalist Simon Ricketts provided this useful cut-out-and-keep* guide to keeping up with the evening’s Twitter stream.
Comic Relief is funny/terrible isn’t it? That comedian is brilliant/awful eh? What a laugh/mess. (Please delete as necessary. I’m at work).
— SimonNRicketts (@SimonNRicketts) March 15, 2013
(* Warning: Do not attempt to cut out!)
For sure, the naysayers were out in force.
I decided i would donate a fiver for every time Lenny Henry made me laugh on Comic Relief. So far, he owes me a hundred quid.
— Miserable Madge (@MiserableMadge) March 15, 2013
Do you know what would make Comic Relief REALLY funny? Back-to-back episodes of Family Guy
— Paul McCarthy (@PaulMcCarthy66) March 15, 2013
Although others were more bought into the idea that the evening is not so much about cutting-edge comedy as a reason to get people dipping into their pockets for a good cause.
— westendproducer (@westendproducer) March 15, 2013
And surely that’s the point. An average of 9.8 million people watched the main part of Comic Relief, with I suspect many more like myself watching time-delayed to speed through the show selectively. Overall, £75 million – a record amount – was raised by the end of the night. Whatever your views on the funniness of the entertainment or how the money is distributed, that’s a lot of money.
I wonder how much more Comic Relief might have made if this had been an option? It would have got a tenner out of me, for sure.
How much does one have to donate to Comic Relief to never hear One Direction ever again? #RND
— Elizabeth Windsor (@Queen_UK) March 15, 2013
Yes, it’s a parody account (as if you needed to ask). Incidentally, am I the only person who finds it amusingly ironic that the one-dimensional One Direction are frequently referred to by the acronym ‘1D’?
I know it’s for charity and all, but I have to say that their cover of Blondie‘s One Way or Another is, quite frankly, an abomination. Judge for yourself:
And here’s the original being performed live:
It’s not one of my favourite Blondie songs by any means, but it knocks 1D’s version into next week. Bring back Peter Kay. Or Mel Smith and Kim Wilde. Or even Cliff Richard and The Young Ones. (I’m showing my age again, aren’t I?)
Piers Moron strikes again
Despite being a fellow Arsenal fan, I have a particularly low opinion of former tabloid editor and Britain’s Got Talent judge Piers Morgan (real name Piers Stefan O’Meara, fact fans). This particular piece of supposedly witty self-regarding, self-promotional twaddle tweeted during the early part of Comic Relief pretty much sums the man up.
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) March 15, 2013
Thankfully, not many people bothered, as Morgan’s show was watched by just 2.8 million people, half the audience of the previous week. At least Morgan’s follow-up tweet the next morning was somewhat more self-deprecating.
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) March 16, 2013
Just to be clear, I find both facts equally delightful. It’s still 2.8 million viewers too many, though.
The power of Twitter
Anyway, enough vitriol. Let’s finish this week with a feel-good story about the power of Twitter to support good causes. Fiona Mactaggart – no relation to the TV detective Taggart, I’m assured – made a spur of the moment pledge at 8:25pm on Friday.
I will give £1.00 to Comic relief for every retweet of this message before 9pm
— fiona mactaggart (@fionamacmp) March 15, 2013
35 minutes later, this was the end result:
Ok stop now I owe comic relief£14,268. Phew! Cheque soonif you don’t believe me check with comic relief
— fiona mactaggart (@fionamacmp) March 15, 2013
Despite a few cynics suggesting she would merely claim this total back on expenses, the response from the Twittersphere was overwhelmingly positive. Ms Mactaggart said:
I think generosity should hurt a bit and one of the figures that has always shocked me is that poorer people give between 4% and 5% of their income to charity, and richer people give around 2% of their income to charity. We should step up to the plate.
Fiona Mactaggart, I doff my red nose to you. And on that note, I’m off to pop 50p in the charity box. I’m on holiday next week, so Tweets of the Week will return in a fortnight’s time.
To read previous Tweets of the Week columns, click here.