Comic Relief WILD: The Concert for the Animals
Comic Relief is a non-profit organization, founded in 1985 by comedy writer-producer Bob Zmuda, who envisioned the potential energy of uniting the comedy community behind some of society’s most relevant causes and pressing needs.
The first live “Comic Relief” fundraiser appeared on HBO in 1986, hosted by Billy Crystal, Whoopi Goldberg, and Robin Williams. It featured 47 well-known comedians and raised $2.5 million in pledges. Subsequent fundraisers, including seven more telecasts for HBO, along with others on ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, Showtime, and Comedy Central have raised over $50 million for Americans in need.
Today on the eve of its 20th anniversary, Comic Relief is mounting its largest event ever, “Comic Relief 2006”, which will raise funds to help families recovering from Hurricane Katrina in the rebirth of the beloved city of New Orleans. Live from both Las Vegas and New Orleans, the show will be broadcast to the show’s largest audience ever, a combined HBO and TBS audience of over 10 million viewers. But this is only the beginning.
For next year, Comic Relief will turn its attention to yet another man-made emergency, this time global: the loss of animal habitat. “Comic Relief WILD: The Concert for the Animals” will be the world’s largest gathering ever of international entertainment superstars, who will perform live via satellite from major cities on all seven continents. This will be the “LIVE AID” of comedy.
The 3+ hour concert will be televised live on HBO and TBS/CNN from its “home base” concert stage in Los Angeles, in front of an audience of 6,000, where celebrity hosts in the field of comedy and music will perform and “throw”, via satellite, to other superstar performers in front of similar sized audiences around the world.
Although the great majority of well-known comedians and other performers will be gathered in Los Angeles, a handful of others will host from these worldwide locations, with the rest of the bill made up entirely of that particular country’s well-known celebrities and top entertainers.
AOL and/or MTV International will capture ALL of the performances (approximately 3 hours per show x 7 continents = 21 hours), and make them available in their entirety on-line for a minimum of 4 to 6 weeks afterwards.
Pre-built video appeals will be used both to solicit funds and to educate the public as to the reasons wildlife is endangered and how they can help. Donations will be made on-line at Comic Relief’s website and through established toll-free telephone numbers worldwide.
This unprecedented live event is expected to have a worldwide audience of over one billion people, made up of HBO and CNN International viewers and those viewing the show via AOL and/or MTV’s website, not to mention local market broadcasts via television and radio throughout the globe.
Historically, this will be the largest fundraiser for animals ever.