A spate of celebrities and public figures, from comedians Jordan Peele and Keegan-Michael Key to tech industry tycoon Bill Gates, can be spotted sporting red noses in photos and videos posted to social media Thursday in support of Red Nose Day. Long popular in the U.K. and a recent success in the U.S., Red Nose Day is a charity event aimed at raising awareness and funds for the 2.2 billion children worldwide who live in poverty.
The event is sponsored by the charity Comic Relief, which aims to help children through a “vision of a just world, free from poverty,” according to its website. Comedy writer-director Richard Cutis of "Love Actually" and “Notting Hill” fame organized the first event in 1985. Since its start more than three decades ago, the charity event has raised more than $1 billion to help children in poverty.
“The basic idea is that we provide the best, classiest entertainment show we possibly can — and then slip some classy appeals to raise money in the middle of it,” explained Curtis in an interview with Global Citizen in May 2015.
— Bill Gates (@BillGates) May 19, 2016
The effort raised over $23 million in 2015 alone. While U.K.-based, it now operates in all 50 U.S. states as well as more than 20 countries worldwide.
Thursday night's fundraising event will be hosted by Scottish-born comedian Craig Ferguson and is set to feature appearances from actors Liam Neeson, Kristen Bell, Paul Rudd and Julianne Moore, among others. The television event is scheduled to broadcast live from Los Angeles on NBC from 9-11 p.m. EDT.
"We wanna give the feeling of people being able to directly help kids in trouble," Ferguson said, adding, "It makes the world more like a small town. It's a more of a community way to help the planet."