The Red Nose Day Special Brings Out Comedy's Best to Help Kids in Need

Aubry D'Arminio
THE RED NOSE DAY SPECIAL
Paul Drinkwater/NBC

Anna Kendrick is doing it. Jack Black is doing it. Tracy Morgan and Paul Rudd are too. You’re not required to wear a scarlet bubble on your schnoz to enjoy NBC’s second annual Red Nose Day telethon, but why not join in the fun? (If you’d like to own one, they’re available at your neighborhood Walgreens for a crisp $1.)

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THE RED NOSE DAY SPECIAL

Peter Kramer/NBC

Tracy Morgan

In case you missed last year’s Red Nose Day, expect a few hours of your favorite actors and recording artists participating in Saturday Night Live–esque skits and manning the phone lines to raise money for people in need throughout the world. (The 2015 standout? Coldplay’s Game of Thrones musical featuring the HBO show’s cast in full croon.)

THE RED NOSE DAY SPECIA

Peter Kramer/NBC

Paul Rudd

The special is a British import started by Love Actually writer-director Richard Curtis 25 years ago as a way for actors and comedians to give back to the community the same way pop stars did with Live Aid. (Fun fact: James Corden’s Late Late Show viral “Carpool Karaoke” videos originated as a Red Nose Day skit featuring the actor with George Michael.)

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THE RED NOSE DAY SPECIAL

Chris Haston/NBC)

Anna Kendrick

“It’s April Fool’s Day with a good cause,” describes Curtis, who was delighted to bring his fundraiser across the pond. The first U.S. Red Nose Day garnered $23 million, a number he’d like to beat this year with help from Julianne Moore, Liam Neeson, Sarah Silverman, Keegan-Michael Key, Jordan Peele, Seth Rogen, Ellie Kemper, Rose Byrne and more.

One of the sketches the show’s creator hints to look out for involves Rudd and Los Angeles Clippers power forward Blake Griffin. The theme: a similar fundraiser gone bad. “The moment a celebrity agrees to do Red Nose Day, they’re taking a partnership in it,” Curtis says. “They’re doing it because they know money can make a huge difference, and every $5 could help feed a poor family in America.”

Red Nose Day, Thursday, May 26, 9/8c, NBC.