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When Massive Dad Met Comic Relief

17/03/2017 14:07

When Johnny Depp appeared in the Vicar of Dibley. When Ricky Gervais did that spoof African appeal sketch. French and Saunders doing the Harry Potter rip off, where Dawn French played Hagrid who couldn't quite see Jennifer Saunders' Harry over her own boobs.

When I was a kid I'd stay up watching Red Nose Day until the rude bits started and, when my parents put me to bed, I'd creep back down and hide behind the sofa. They recently told me this was incredibly obvious as, at 12 years old, I was a head taller than the sofa. And would laugh very loudly. This continued until I was 26.

A few months ago, when Comic Relief approached us (as in, my sketch group Massive Dad. I don't refer to myself as "us") to write and film a sketch for them, it was one of those cool moments in life where you go "Oh, small Stevie stuck behind a sofa would be incredibly psyched about this". And large, present day Stevie, who often gets stuck behind sofas, was equally psyched. And sort of mystified as to the process; what would we write? How would we film it? What would the snacks be like on set?

For anyone vaguely interested in what goes into writing/filming a sketch for the Comic Relief YouTube channel, strap in, buckle up, and prepare to receive some genuine information on that subject. Oh yes.

1. There's a lot of back and forth

You can't just submit something to Comic Relief and have it approved immediately. We, as in us and the Comic Relief team, toyed with a number of sketch ideas over a month or so before settling on the flat share concept. One involved Jurassic Park and would require a Steven Spielberg cameo. One required a crowd of 90 people and 300 bottles of sugar glass. The flatshare one was a bit more doable - especially considering it's online, a charity, and we're not Beyonce. Oh, it was also the best idea anyone has ever had in the world and you should watch it immediately, etc.

2. Everyone is working their butt off

The crew are consistently slammed in the lead-up to Red Nose Day, from planning the high concept, primetime TV sketches right through to editing the online stuff like we're doing. Despite the fact that he's incredibly busy, and the Comic Relief team were happy with the cut, our director Dan still sat in the edit room for seven hours with us going "Maybe move that 0.01 seconds forward? Thanks" in a room with no windows. We are very grateful. Thank you Dan. Sorry you weren't allowed to join your Comic Relief colleagues for celebratory Friday drinks because we wanted "A laughter track that sounded a little bit happy but also a little bit pensive".

3. Don't go to the loo with your mic on

I still haven't learned this and, on every set I've been on, have accidentally had a luxurious wee into the sound guy's ear. On the Comic Relief set everyone heard me telling myself I was doing really well, weeing and singing Katy Perry's eponymous hit Firework. I was more embarrassed about the first than the second, and there will never be any shame attached to the third.

4. Yes, we wore a nose

I was hoping that the cast and crew would be contractually obliged to wear noses throughout the day but, upsettingly, this isn't a thing. It's understandable, though, as consistent nose-wearing would have rendered their voices too nasal to be heard by anyone other than dogs, and there were obviously no dogs on set, because they're too short to reach the monitors.

We did, however, get to wear a nose for a publicity shot. And yes, they're still tricky to keep on for longer than five seconds because the human nose isn't built to carry the weight of a large cumbersome ball of foam. But who cares? It's a fun nose.

5. Support new comedy, guys

Alright, so that's not a behind-the-scenes tidbit, but the fact that Comic Relief is giving lesser known upstarts like Massive Dad an online shot at a Red Nose Sketch takes Red Nose Balls. It's easy to stick with the favourites (French and Saunders, Bean, Gervais) but it's harder to take a gamble on the up-and-comers. The other sketches I've seen so far - from Beasts creepiness to Kat Butterfield & Daniel Audritt's nose-based sketch featuring Tash and Jamie Demetriou, Nick Mohammed, Lolly Adefope and Rhys James - are all right good laughs, and long may Comic Relief continue to champion new talent. As well as saving the world, of course.

I suppose what I'm trying to say is that Comic Relief is really great. It's a left field opinion, sure, but try not to troll me too hard. And go and watch our sketch. If you like it, share it about and leave a nice comment. If you don't like it, channel that hatred into a nice fat donation this Red Nose Day and go about your day knowing you've supported both The World and New Comedy. Well done you.

To watch the rest of the Comic Relief Originals series, go to YouTube.com/ComicRelief

Red Nose Day takes place on Fri 24 March

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