The Problem With “Comic Relief”


“Today a colleague suggested I might like to shave my hair off, bark like a dog for the  day or dress up as character from Pirates of the Caribbean, all in the name of Comic Relief … I suggested he might like to F**k off.  If the incident proved anything, it proved he didn’t know me very well at all…. (He also brought in an enormous tray of Red Nose cakes, and failed to see the irony-help those without food by celebrating with a huge cake!)

Comic Relief?  Isn’t that the annual event which broadcasts the ridiculous spectacle of  Lenny Henry attempting to  revive his ‘brand’ and sees the BBC cast as a desperate paramedic giving the kiss of life  to the  freshly exhumed corpse that is Henry’s career?  Let us face it, the man’s about as funny as a case of gonorrhoea, but without the social relevance.  But Comic Relief?  Ah yes, that backslapping national w*nk fest when we feel at one with our celeb pals.  Anyone else find it nauseating, patronising and totally misguided?  The so-called 3rd world doesn’t actually want our charity or our pity – they have pride, they require independence and a level playing field – alas charity ensures that playing field remains forever tilted, and let’s not forget the one thing charity does exceptionally well is to make us feel good about ourselves!

Sadly well meaning donations are not the answer, it merely assuages those minor twinges of conscience we sometimes experience about the “poor people.”  Yet there is enough money in the world to genuinely make a difference, to give the “3rd World” a real chance to develop, alas the capitalist system dictates that they must instead be treated as inferior beings.  They must be dehumanised and turned into Gary Barlow sound tracked montages.  Do we really need  U2’s Bongo or Barlow or Moyles to prick our  national conscience ( prick being the operative word. ) every year just to keep the status  quo ?

Hey Kids ! Let’s give Africa some crumbs of comfort from our table of plenty when we have finished gorging ourselves to bursting point.  The problem is charity is a stopgap, never a solution and of course, it lets governments off the hook.  It allows our governments to carry on funding “Wars on Terror” (my mate Trevor’s dyslexic and sh*t himself when he first read that phrase!) and bail out the corrupt bankers, and multi nationals

Political pressure on governments could achieve a real sea change in how we live our lives, if we were prepared to make even some small sacrifices.  Sadly, we consider sitting in tubs of custard to be the only real sacrifice we need make.  But hey!  It shows we really are wacky, fun loving people, why I bet those African folk can hardly contain their mirth!

The long-term solution is political, but of course that’s not very entertaining is it, that’s boring, dull, worthy, and dry innit?  And of course, the petit bourgeois love their charitable fun and if Davina says it’s cool to have fun and raise money then it must be OK mustn’t it?  And Davina’s a gal’s best mate isn’t she?  I bet it would be great to go the pub with her ‘cos she’s like, so down to earth and sh*t

Bongo, Gary Barlow, David Beckham and all the backslapping sanctimonious chums, all the hypocrite millionaire rock stars and Z list celebs, with your jets and your mansions and your lectures about how we should donate money spare me your wisdom and piety… …Mind you I’ll give money willingly to keep Chris Moyles and Gary Barlow atop Kilimanjaro permanently, Brokeback Mountain for the terminally dull and talentless perhaps?  ….

You do wonder about peoples self worth when they have to live their lives vicariously through modern day philosophers like Cheryl and Jade and Myleene and Chris and Gary and their ilk.  The most profound thing I’ve ever heard Fern Cotton say is “Wicked innit” and frankly it changed my life.  Could she be any blander?  Well yes, the afore mentioned Davina would suggest so.

Of course, comic relief also helps celebs feel good about themselves too, raises their profile and in their disconnected little heads they can actually justify receiving a weekly wage, which would keep a small African republic’s economy afloat.  As Chumbawamba once sang with reference to, Live Aid “Pictures of Starving Children Sell Records” and they win Oscars too.  In “Slum Dog Millionaire only the good looking kids were cast, you know, the ones who have large liquid poetic eyes, like deep wells of misery and they are of course eminently  photogenic .  “For god sakes keep the ugly sick kids away from the cameras ….Jeez the ones with no teeth, conjunctivitis and rotting limbs might put  the cinema going public off their pop corn, and we don’t want to deal with reality really do we, this aint a f**king liberal commie pinko documentary Danny, this is entertainment for god sakes” !

People will defend comic relief saying it’s better to do something than nothing.  I’m not advocating doing nothing, I’m talking about taking radical action, doing something more than wearing a bright red nose like a badge of honour one day a year to denote your compassion and then behaving like a c*nt for the rest of the year.  Let’s pay more tax, let’s boycott celebs that are paid stupid money, let’s donate our season ticket money to pressure groups.  Will you do that?  Or will you merely wear a red nose and donate a fiver once a year.

However, we are all manipulated by the media and led by celebs and we lap it up, all of us!  Take the case of poor Jade Goody, is she really now an embodiment of the nations grief?  Did Gordon Brown really have to say, “Jane Goody’s plight is of concern to the nation” to be honest it took me a while trying to work out who this “Jane” lass was.  However, the Jade Goody coverage makes me want to vomit my own kidneys up.  Cancer negates racism eh?  So she’s now cast as Mother Theresa, and displaced “poor little Maddie” in the nation’s hearts.  Sad as it is that someone so young is dying, the voyeuristic hour by hour updates are truly ghoulish, sick and deeply disturbing, but African kids sell records and pictures of Jade sell newspapers and Joe Public LOVE it !  They want to actually see her die…they demand that final tragic picture….

It seems that today fame is the only justification for anybody’s existence, and our obsession with the lives of people who we don’t even know, seems to be the only way the masses feel connected.  We’ll spend hours searching the net and magazines for Jade related stories, cos we care,   yet next-door our 80-year-old neighbour has been dead for a week…………… nobodies noticed.

It’s a twisted world….

The short version