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Comedy Gala

The world’s top children’s hospital, Great Ormond Street in London, was the recipient of a huge charity donation from a comedy gala held in the O2 arena (formerly the Dome) in Greenwich. Channel 4 filmed the proceedings for TV.

Most of the best stand-up comedians in the country were invited to join while others contributed with a short film. The percussion group Stomp opened proceedings and the first compere was camp comedian Alan Carr. With so many comedians taking part, they were all only given about five minutes each. This made for a very disjointed show.

The O2 arena is absolutely enormous and most of the acts had never played such a huge space before. In fact, you could see the look of shock on their faces as they gazed up and saw the enormous banks of people – around 15,000 were there.

Next up were Jo Brand, virtually the only female comedian, Rich Hall, the only American, Patrick Kielty (dreadful and unfunny), Mark Thomas, Andy Parsons, Jonathan Ross – all well known from television but not so entertaining given their short allocation.

A few appearances were made by film. Johnny Depp, whose daughter’s life was saved by Great Ormond Street, gave a funny short monologue, also Patrick Stewart and Sharon Osbourne donated films. Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant made a short contribution as their cartoon characters.

Someone had the bright idea of giving former model and serial attention seeker Katie Price and new husband Alex Reid a slot. There was booing from the audience and someone shouted ‘I love Peter Andre’ – Katie’s previous husband from whom she has just had an acrimonious divorce. However, they introduced the first really funny act of the show, Michael McIntyre. He came in and took the show by the scruff of the neck and made the whole proceedings funny again. Then he is used to playing the O2 and seems really at home on that stage.

There was brief skit from Peep Show which was entertaining, then David Mitchell himself came out and also made a comment about the size of the arena – likening it to a small planet. James Corden and Ruth Jones from Gavin and Stacey did a little skit which was not particularly amusing.

Lee Evans came out in the final part of the show. I find him largely unfunny. For some reasons, he sweats prodigiously and his schtick is very slapstick, rather like an old fashioned Norman Wisdom. However, he is very popular so each to his own. The point of the exercise was to raise money for the hospital which hopefully it did in spades. However, I think next time they should have fewer people in a smaller venue and with more time allocated to each. But perhaps that is not so lucrative…

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