Red Nose Day: Helping the kids win by a nose

By Scott Kara

TV presenter Shannon Ryan getting ready for Red Nose Day. Photo / Supplied.
TV presenter Shannon Ryan getting ready for Red Nose Day. Photo / Supplied.

Flight of the Conchords have written a song just for tomorrow's Red Nose Day special on TV3 and around 30 other Kiwi musicians have added their voices for a good cause.

"When Flight of the Conchords come calling, people jump to it," says Brooke Howard-Smith, the event director of Red Nose Day: Comedy For Cure Kids which screens from 7.30pm.

The event will raise money for the Cure Kids charity which funds research into life-threatening childhood diseases.

The musical comedy duo of Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement will be joined by Brooke Fraser, Dave Dobbyn, Anika Moa, and hip-hoppers Savage and PNC, among others in the Kiwi music supergroup.

"It's basically a We Are The World-style song with guest appearances from everybody we could find," says Howard-Smith.

The song will premiere during the four-and-a-half-hour live show, which will be hosted by comedians and 7 Days regulars Jeremy Corbett and Paul Ego, and include performances from New Zealand's top comedy talent and pre-recorded footage with everyone from the All Blacks to a special reunion of the cast of Outrageous Fortune.

So it's kind of like a mini-Telethon, although Howard-Smith says the idea of a shorter show with a comic relief focus is based on Britains's Red Nose Day, which raised more than £100 million last year.

"It's a great formula. Telethons are something we remember pretty fondly but replicating them is like covering a Bob Marley song - it's something you probably shouldn't do.

"So this format is so much more today-ish. It's shorter, more entertainment-focused and less whistling tummies," he says referring to an infamous segment during one New Zealand telethon."

Last year Howard-Smith organised Maori Television's Rise Up Christchurch event and found it such an incredible experience he wanted to do a similar project for another worthwhile cause.

He says Cure Kids fit the bill because since being established in 1975 it has invested $29 million into medical research and during that time has helped make many significant breakthroughs.

"In 1980 if your child was diagnosed with A.L.L. [Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia] leukemia, they had around about a 30 per cent chance of survival but now it is up to 90 per cent."

He knows cash is tight for many in New Zealand but during the show they plan to entertain as well as relay the job Cure Kids do in a hope of inspiring people to donate money.

"I know a lot of people are doing it tough, but just realising that there is always someone doing it tougher, that there is always a family dealing with the scariest thing - much more scary than not having enough money - and that's 'will my child make it to another birthday?'

"And the real reason for this, is it's time for the country to have a national day where we all get together.

"I think we miss that national endeavour and hopefully Red Nose Day will be that endeavour where we all spend one day getting together, fundraising, watching the big outcome and knowing we've all had a chance to play a part in it."

What: Red Nose Day: Comedy For Cure Kids, to raise money for childrens charity Cure Kids.
When & where: Tomorrow, 7.30pm until midnight, TV3.
What's on: Hosted by Jeremy Corbett and Paul Ego, will feature comedians Dai Henwood and Jesse Griffin (aka Wilson Dixon) among others, with appearances by the cast of Outrageous Fortune, who get back together for a reunion, the All Blacks and BMX-riding Olympian Sarah Walker. There will be a break for Red Nose Day specials of shows Would I Lie To You? (9.30pm) and Jono and Ben At Ten (10pm).
Look out for: The new Flight of the Conchords song, sung by a supergroup of Kiwi musicians including Brooke Fraser, Dave Dobbyn and Anika Moa.
What is Cure Kids?: Raises funds for medical research into finding cures for diseases affecting children including leukaemia and other cancers, heart disease, cystic fibrosis, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, Type 1 diabetes and asthma.
To donate: Donate $3 by texting CURE to 933. For larger amounts phone 0800 CUREKIDS (0800 2873 5437). Pick up your red nose, and other Cure Kids' merchandise, from Paper Plus, Take Note, Harvey Norman and Pumpkin Patch, Avis or Budget Rent a Car, and Mico Plumbing & Pipelines.

- NZ Herald

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