LONDON — “A just world free of poverty.” This is the tagline of the nonprofit Comic Relief, a U.K. organization that deals in helping impoverished youth get an education, medical assistance and much more. Using celebrity appeal, Comic Relief has raised more than $1.2 billion since it was founded in 1985 by Richard Curtis. His goal was to “use comedy to raise money and change lives in Africa and the U.K.”
With this concept in mind, the Red Nose Day benefit came into being. Red Nose Day is a day when celebrities across the globe come together to raise awareness for the poverty striking across the globe. While major celebrities, such as One Direction, David and Victoria Beckham and Rowan Atkinson participate in Comic Relief every year, another group is now reaching millions of potential donors — YouTubers. U.K. YouTube stars have teamed up with Comic Relief to use their content as a platform for change. Here are a few highlights of videos YouTubers have made over the years in support of reducing poverty in the U.K. and Africa.
Charlie McDonnell, aka charlieissocoollike, teamed up with Dan Howell and Kyan Mansley to make not only his last Challenge Charlie video but to raise awareness for the 25th annual Red Nose Day back in 2015. For the challenge, Howell and Mansley covered McDonnell in honey and feathers to transform him into a large chicken. What made the video even better is that years prior, McDonnell failed to record a different Comic Relief video with Tim Minchin. As a payback, Minchin returned in this new video, without telling McDonnell, to help pour honey and feathers all over McDonnell.
Dan Howell, aka danisnotonfire, and Phil Lester, aka amazingphil, decided that in support of Comic Relief’s “Make Your Face Funny for Money” campaign, they would do a blind makeover challenge. How it worked was one YouTuber would blindfold themselves and attempt to put makeup on the other and then vice versa. After the makeover disaster was completed, they took a selfie and sent it to Comic Relief with a £1 donation. They encouraged their fans to also take a selfie, donate, and send it to their friends to spread the word.
For Red Nose Day 2014, Marcus Butler, Alfie Dayes, Jim Chapman, Joe Sugg, and Caspar Lee teamed up to form the YouTube Boyband. To raise awareness, the YouTubers made a cover version of McFly’s “It’s All About You.” Oli White, against his better judgment, decided that for Comic Relief 2013 he would — for the first and last time — wax his legs.
After the success of the YouTube Boyband, BBC and Comic Relief asked Brett Domino and Steven Peavis to write a charity single for Red Nose Day. The catch was that they were only given three hours to complete the song. The video chronicles the difficult process of creating a song. But, with the help of other YouTubers, they were able to create a powerful charity single that highlights why helping people and donating is so important.
Each year, YouTubers have risen to the occasion and created amazing content to raise awareness for the reduction of poverty. This year, however, the rules were changed. For Red Nose Day 2017, YouTubers have taken part in #redout, a 24-hour offline campaign. All YouTubers that take part have left a link on their social media that directs the viewer to a video about #redout and the effects of poverty in the U.K. and Africa.
The organization is about more than making people laugh. It’s evolved from using humor as a means of attention-grabbing. Celebrities that take part have dedicated themselves to raising awareness and becoming instruments of change and growth in the global community.
— Taylor Elgarten