All the people wearing red noses on NBC Thursday night will not be clowns.
They will in fact, be mirroring a charitable UK occasion, called Red Nose Day, that is an organization run by the non-profit, Comic Relief Inc. The annual event has collected over $ 1 billion for impoverished children in its 30-year history. Each year, on the night of the event, actors and entertainers join together on live TV and perform comedy sketches and music. This year, it was the launch site for the highly anticipated “Love, Actually” short sequel, “Red Nose Day, Actually.”
The U.S. version of the event is also organized by Comic Relief and is in its third year. The edition taking place Thursday night on NBC has relied on proven fundraising methods from its British counterpart: Red Nose Day contributors buy red foam noses (at Walgreens and Duane Reade), organize events and donate money during the show. The festivities begin at 8 p.m.
But the cause wasn’t always something that over 60% of Americans can recognize by name, according to its website.
“We’re taking the best practices in the UK — incredible partnerships, including our broadcast partner, NBC, and Walgreens — to fashion Red Nose Day here,” CEO of Comic Relief Janet Scardino told The Drum. “We’d like it to become a national holiday of giving.”
The night kicks off with a celebrity edition of “American Ninja Warrior,” the first time celebs will face the famous obstacle course and all for charity. The ninjas include Erika Christensen (“Parenthood”), Nikki Glaser (“Not Safe with Nikki Glaser”) and former New York Yankee, Nick Swisher.
Then, Julia Roberts joins Bear Grylls for a special “Running Wild with Bear Grylls for Red Nose Day” in Kenya to deliver vaccines. Lastly, Chris Hardwick hosts the “Red Nose Day Special.”
“This will be an incredible night,” Paul Telegdy, president, alternative and reality group, NBC Entertainment told The Drum. “We are thrilled to have Chris’ wit and compassion championing the evening as our host for ‘The Red Nose Day Special.'”