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If you’re active on social media or have passed any billboards in the past few weeks, you’ve likely come across a photo of a celebrity in a red clown nose. The effort is all part of Red Nose Day, a global campaign to raise awareness and money for impoverished children across the world.
For those of you wanting to get in on the fun, red noses are being sold exclusively at Duane Reade and Walgreens stores. For each nose purchased before June 3, 50 cents will be donated to Comic Relief Inc.’s Red Nose Day fund. You can also donate at rednoseday.org/donate, by calling 800-500-4373, or in-store at any Walgreens.
Read on to find out more about the history, purpose and people behind Red Nose Day.
1. Red Nose Day Aims to End Child Poverty
Red Nose Day is run by the non-profit Comic Relief Inc., and aims to end child poverty by raising awareness and money. According to the Red Nose Day website, the money raised in honor of the event supports project that “ensure kids are safe, healthy, educated, and empowered.” Red Nose Day funds programs in all 50 United States, and some of the poorest communities in areas like Latin America, Asia, and Africa.
The website specifies the following in terms of donations:
– $1 can provide 11 meals for hungry children
– $10 can provide essential immunizations for children in need
– $100 can help create a safe home for at-risk children
According to the Red Nose Day website, the campaign is “dedicated to raising money for children and young people living in poverty by simply having fun and making people laugh.”
Comic Relief, the organization that started Red Nose Day, was founded in 1985 and launched on BBC One from a refugee camp in Sudan in 1985. It has since hosted many live events that have raised money for a variety of issues. A number of charities are involved in the efforts, including the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, the Children’s Health Fund, Feeding America, the National Council of La Raza and the United Way. Comic Relief helps fund thousands of projects worldwide, which you can learn about here.
2. Red Nose Day Was Launched in the UK in 1998
While Red Nose Day has been celebrated in the UK since 1998, it only launched in the US in 2015, and has since raised $60 million.
The campaign has also extended to to other countries, like Finland, Germany, and Iceland, which all have their own Red Nose Day celebrations. In a 2015 interview with CNN Entertainment, writer and director Richard Curtis (“Notting Hill,” “Love, Actually”), said, “For many years, I have dreamt of bringing Red Nose Day to the US, and I am so excited that we have teamed up with NBC, who will do such a brilliant job on this.”
3. A Fundraiser for the Event Will Air on NBC Tonight
Tonight marks the third annual fundraiser for Ned Rose Day, and it will air on NBC at 10pm ET. The event synopsis for tonight reads, “Comedy and music mix in the third annual fund-raiser for programs that address the needs of children and young people in the U.S. and internationally. Included: Julia Roberts visits Kenya; and the cast of “Love Actually” reunites. Host: Chris Hardwick.”
The special will follow two other Red Nose Day special programming shows. At 8pm ET/PT, NBC will air Celebrity Ninja Warrior for Red Nose Day, which will pair celebrities with the best ninjas, who will train them on the course, and at 9pm ET/PT, the network will air Running Wild with Bear Grylls which will feature Julia Roberts.
Tonight’s Red Nose Day special will be hosted by comedian Chris Hardwick and a number of celebrities will be in attendance. In 2015, Peter Dinklage and Coldplay united to create a Red Nose Day music video to raise awareness for the campaign. The video eulogized many dead Game of Thrones characters. Check it out below.
4. The Cast of ‘Love, Actually’ Will Reunite in Honor of the Event
In 1998, the director of Love, Actually, Richard Curtis, co-founded Comic Relief, the organization behind Red Nose Day, along with Jane Tewson. Curtis has also directed other critically-acclaimed films like Four Weddings and a Funeral and Notting Hill.
In 2003, he helped create a 10-minute short film called Red Nose Day, Actually, featuring most of the original cast, like Hugh Grant, Colin Firth, and Andrew Lincoln. Since then, the cast has reunited in honor of Red Nose Day to help inspire people to give money and raise awareness. This year, another short film has been made to give fans an update on the lives of the characters form the film. Love Actually 2 will air during the NBC event at 10 pm ET.
Speaking to the New York Times, Curtis explained that while he wasn’t enthused about creating a sequel to Red Nose Day, he was interested in the idea of making a shorter one that centered on Red Nose Day. “But I did think it could be entertaining to see what some of the characters were up to now.” He added: “It…. seemed like a good moment in the current climate in the U.S. and the U.K. to think again about whether love — not necessarily romantic love, but for fellow human beings — prevails. Which I think it does.” Curtis explains that he spent months working on the script before approaching the film’s lead actors and asking them to get involved. “I’m a believer in writing things properly before being tempted by how gorgeous the actors will be… the idea of Red Nose Day was really integrated and it wasn’t just a random sequel.”
5. Red Nose Day Has Collected Over $1 Billion Over the Past 30 Years
Over the past 30 years, Red Nose Day has raised over $1 billion globally.
Last night, the UK celebrated the holiday with their own live television event, and by the end of the night, they’d raised a record-breaking $93 million.
According to the organization’s website, Red Nose Day is targeting five issues this year: immunization, mental health, education, domestic violence, and fighting malaria. To learn more about these issues, click here.
In 2015, Walgreens stores sold over 5 million red noses, more than doubling the amount from the previous year.
Click here to donate to Red Nose Day.