TV preview: Russell Brand’s Give It Up Gig For Comic Relief

Russell Brand hosts the music and comedy Comic Relief show

Russell Brand hosts the music and comedy Comic Relief show

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There’s something inherently likeable about comedian, actor and presenter Russell Brand, although it’s hard to understand exactly what that is.

Russell Brand’s Give It Up Gig For Comic Relief

(BBC1, 11.35pm)

Brand is frequently on the front pages for the wrong reasons; he’s had a distinctly chequered past involving a string of exes, drug and alcohol use, and after ‘Sachsgate’, a track record of being, at times, rather unpleasant. Yet he exudes charm and continues to win over fans.

He’s had a run of successful Hollywood films, from St Trinian’s and Forgetting Sarah Marshall to Get Him To The Greek and Arthur. They have succeeded due to his winsome personality, dandyish good looks and idiosyncratic, cheeky-chappy charm.

Tonight he brings all this to our screens, for Comic Relief, in which he fronts a stand-up extravaganza of epic proportions.

It’s essentially a star-studded music and comedy gig in aid of this month’s charity event, and features musical performances by the likes of Brit-winning singer Emeli Sande, upcoming indie talent Jake Bugg, pop superstar Jessie J, indie rockers Kasabian, former Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger, ex-Oasis star Noel Gallagher, acclaimed singer-songwriter Paloma Faith and Brighton-based hip-hop duo Rizzle Kicks.

The comedy part comes courtesy of such luminaries as Jimmy Carr, Jason Manford, Doc Brown, Eddie Izzard, Noel Fielding, Simon Amstell and, of course, Brand himself.

It might seem like fun and games, but it’s important to remember what brought so many stars from the worlds of mirth and music together - it’s a charity fundraiser, with all proceeds used to help support people affected by drug and alcohol addiction - a subject close to the host’s heart, as he himself has struggled with addiction.

A recovering alcoholic and drug user, Brand understands better than most what the people that this show hopes to help are going through.

As he said. “I think that what must be frustrating for the families of people with drug and alcohol problems is that the allure and potency of the disease is such that it makes people make a lot of irrational and difficult decisions.

“The things that I did when I was using and drinking were fathomless and boundless and nonsensical. Anyone who knows someone who’s suffering from this disease will think ‘well why would they do that?’ But I think there’s a deep sadness and malady that people are trying to address with drugs”.

Brand believes that abstinence-based recovery is the only sensible option, but there are plenty of techniques which can help people, if only the resources were there to reach out to those who need it.

Through charities such as Comic Relief, we can all help that happen - and, brilliantly, we can have a great time while doing it.

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