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5:09pm on Saturday, 7th March, 2009:



I don't mind the BBC advertising their Red Nose Day charity event, and I don't mind their using the tag "do something funny for money". However, it would help if what they were suggesting was actually funny.

Example: they have radio ads telling us how some woman in Larne raised £30 or whatever last year by not speaking for a day at work. What's funny about that? You could do that for Children in Need, it's standard fund-raising fare. Then the ad ends with an exhortation to "do something funny for money"! Well give us an instance of someone doing something funny for money, then, instead of simply not talking for a day, or (as in another radio ad) wearing their pyjamas all day.

Another example: a bunch of celebrities have just finished climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. Yes, great, it took them eight days and they raised over a million quid, but it's not funny. Maybe the celebrities had entertaining personalities, or maybe we were supposed to laugh at them as they endured altitude sickness, but the basic act of climbing a mountain is not funny. Why is it part of Red Nose Day?

Selling stuff in a car boot sale is not funny. Waxing a man's legs is not funny. Giving up chocolate or biscuits or coffee is not funny. Holding a 1970s-themed party is not funny. Wearing nothing but balloons that people pay to pop is not funny; it may be titillating, but it's not funny. Creating a red nose by getting people wearing red to lie down in a circle is not funny. Selling buns you've baked is not funny, even if you've iced animal faces onto them (and no, animal faeces wouldn't be funny either).

Jeez, Red Nose Day people, get a grip! Remember you're supposed to be making people laugh here, not morphing Red Nose Day into the worthy but dire events you were set up to replace. Saying something is funny doesn't make it funny — it actually has to be funny.

Yesterday, a woman walked up to Peter Mandelson and chucked a cup of green custard in his face. OK, so I don't like practical jokes, but it did make me smile to learn that she'd made it green because then it would be slimier. I bet it wouldn't have been funny if the Red Nose Day people had done it, though...

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Copyright © 2009 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).