Having spent five years at university, I’ve definitely had my fair share of lectures! It’s now reached a point where they seem no different to each other, and I almost feel like I’m learning the same thing hundreds of times. However, this wasn’t the case on the 1st March when, during my lecture, I found myself hysterically laughing and swooning at comedian Jack Whitehall. Sadly, this isn’t the University’s way of making lectures more ‘interesting’ and getting the girls to pay more attention, so before I get completely carried away with my imagination – back to the topic at hand! This ‘lecture’ featured the Fresh Meat cast, and was all in aid of the great charity that is Comic Relief. The show’s actors have been travelling on their aptly named ‘Banter Bus’ to universities around the country, doing different student challenges to raise money and inspire students to get fundraising.
Comic Relief has always been one of my favourite charities, probably because it’s one I have been brought up with, and remember watching with my whole family. My dad would always buy me and my sister a red nose every year, and he has the whole collection of them in his wardrobe. I have continued this tradition by buying the t-shirts, especially as now they are pretty fashionable (but you have to admit, I was a cute kid!)
The charity started in 1985 and “strives to make a just world free from poverty”. So far they have raised over £800 million and helped to change millions of lives as a result. They fund projects to help people both in Africa and the UK, and their appeals always make me stop and think: all too often, we get so preoccupied with the minor problems in our daily lives that we forget how much people are suffering. Help from celebrities is another brilliant part of Comic Relief, and this year One Direction are donating what it would cost them to make a music video in addition to what they make for their Comic Relief single. The boy band will be exchanging a conventional, high-tech video for a more budget, amateur one that they made themselves whilst on tour.
The annual Comic Relief show is also brilliant for comedy. Past shows have seen the likes of Ali G interviewing Posh and Becks, Peter Kay’s huge ‘Is this the way to Amarillo?’ phenomenon and Catherine Tate’s Lauren (“am I bovvered”) interviewing Tony Blair. It’s always an amazing show with lots of musical performances, skits and celebrity appearances with the best part being that you never know what’s going to happen next! Remember when Dawn French kissed Hugh Grant? Comedy gold!
Anyway, Friday’s fantastic Fresh Meat Takeover began with Howard (Greg McHugh) talking about his specialist subject, the film Jaws. This involved lots of shark-related jokes and interesting facts about the movie. People were asked to donate a little extra to ask a question of the actors and have a chance to be their teaching assistants. Greg was great with the audience and got plenty of laughs. Next up was Josie (Kimberley Nixon) who is an incredible actress, but unfortunately didn’t have the same rapport with the audience as the others. She admitted herself that she was nervous and a bit uncomfortable in the situation. She picked the subject of the Agatha Christie detective Poirot, which was perhaps not the best subject to be lectured on! I did feel sorry for her when it was her turn to answer questions and there was just dead silence… But her response was ‘Screw You!’ with a massive smile on her face.
Next was Vod (Zawe Ashton) whose topic was nonsensical 90s music. She was really good at this, using her character of Vod to help the lecture’s overall edginess. I particularly enjoyed Vod’s part, loving that I knew all the music – I was born in 1989 after all! One of the best questions she had was “What do you think of Jack’s new tour?” and her sarcastic reply of “he is brilliant, I think he is better at acting but you can buy this DVD at all major retailers!” was perfect.
The best act by far was Jack Whitehall, as you would expect, since he makes a career out of playing to audiences. He was dressed in a tight, Lycra running outfit and his specialist subject was Kriss Akabusi, an athlete and star of Record Breakers. I was laughing out loud to his talk, and by laughter I mean the uncontrollable kind. His teaching assistant was brilliant, and got really involved in the whole joke. The highlight was when the teaching assistant had to read from a website about Kriss Akabusi sex stories, with Jack reacting to them. Anyone who was there will know what I mean when I say I will never be able to hear the word “AWOOGA!” in the same way. And that was it – they had definitely saved the best to last.
The ticket was eight pounds, a sum that could pay for two vaccines to protect children in Africa against a deadly viruses that cause diarrhoea, a disease which kills more than half a million children a year.
So, what I think everyone should do this year is to “do something funny for money” or take part in a challenge! It could even be something as simple as saving the money you would use for a night out at Fruity and give it to Comic Relief. Let’s make a difference.
Red Nose Day is on Friday 15th March. To find out more visit www.comicrelief.com