Red Nose Day has raised over $1 billion globally since its inception 25 years ago, and this year marks the 2nd year it’s been celebrated stateside. NBC’s 2-hour prime time television event airs tonight at 9/8c, and we spoke to host Craig Ferguson about his connection to the event and its importance in America. Make sure to tune-in tonight to see all the hilarity go down live!
How did you get involved with Red Nose Day?
If you’re from the UK and you get asked to do Red Nose Day, you just have to do it. It’s kind of like a court summons. If you don’t show up bad stuff will happen to you. Plus I grew up watching it! I mean I’ve known about it for a long time. It’s been going on for thirty years and I’m thirty-two. So I don’t remember a time when there wasn’t a Red Nose Day.
What are your duties as a host, and how are you going to handle this responsibility?
I think this is a quite a difficult hosting job because you have to be “cheery funny,” but then you have to be sensitive to the backbone of this which is quite serious and sad. It requires a set skills which I possess! If you’ve had any kind of Sunday dinner or Christmas dinner with my family you know that it can go from funny to deadly serious to very sad in the space of 3 to 5 seconds. So I’m very well trained for this!
You mentioned that Red Nose Day is an institution in the UK. This only the second year we’ve had it the states. Tell us about the history of Red Nose Day—how big of a deal is it really and what does it means to finally have it stateside?
Well it’s such a big deal in the UK, it’s raised so much money over the years for such a diverse range of mostly children’s charities. I think it’s like a billion dollars or billion pounds, which is forty dollars…I’m lying, that’s not true! It’s raised a great deal of money. It became a source of pride I think to a lot British people—to see just how much money has actually been raised. People have fun and get engaged! It doesn’t feel like a patronizing way to help people, it really makes the world feel more like a small town, it gives that sense of community and inspires people to help the planet. I think that’s good for America particularly right now! When there’s a wide range of different opinions in America, particularly in an election year. So this is something that we can all get behind!
How can people get involved?
I don’t know… send money I guess! Ha! Is that how they’re doing it?! How are they’re doing it?! They’re sending money to a number—you can pledge money and you can give money. It’s about money. I’m asking for money basically there is nothing new about that, just give me money—but it’s not political ask. Like an election year when Democrats are asking for money, and Republicans are asking for money. I’m just a straight up asking for money with no political agenda. I just want to help people! People can buy a red nose at Walgreens.
For people who didn’t see the television special last year, what can they expect when they tune in?
I think they can expect a full grown man in panic, because it’s two hours of live television and they’ve handed it to me! I can only assume NBC has never seen me before. I’ll be honest with you I would not let me drive two hours of prime television on my network. If owned NBC I would be like are you crazy?! Get somebody reliable… I mean I’ll be on time, not saying I won’t be on time. You know I’m curse a lot! This the longest time I’ve gone in my life right now that I haven’t cursed!
Anything else you want to add about Red Nose Day?
Yes, please watch Red Nose Day! Please give some money! At the end of Red Nose Day you’ll feel like I cursed. I didn’t curse, but it’s going to feel like it and you like that don’t you!