Comic Relief 2013 – Lenny Henry says that red noses don’t fit black people

Posted on 14 March 2013
By Pierce King
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Comic Relief legend Lenny Henry has told how he has always needed to get the red noses he wears specially adapted, ‘because they don’t make them to fit black people.’

Red Nose Day celebrates its 25 year anniversary tomorrow and the TV funnyman is gearing up to raise laughs and money again, but also told how he had to get his red noses cut wider and stuck on with tape.

Lenny, 54, who has developed his acting skills in more serious roles lately, including Shakespeare’s Othello – spoke fondly of his memories of the first show and how his nose kept flying off.

He said: “There was a great irony with the red noses, because they don’t make them to fit black people.

“I have a wide nose like a Volkswagen and I’ve never had a red nose that fitted me – I had to get mine cut in the middle and use tape to secure it. I’m not sure if the other people remember, but I had to make a bit of a fuss. They were always flying off.”

Lenny also recalled the fear of going live during the first show and how everything went wrong, but that everyone involved made it work.

He added: “There is a lot of fear bound up in comedy – ‘How will I be funny? Am I going to be the funniest?’ – but since we were all aiming at the same target there was a bullish vibe.

“Everything went wrong, of course – the autocue stopped, someone tried to do some magic and it didn’t work, Frankie Howerd came on and wouldn’t stop talking – but people were really moved by the films.

“We raised £15 million that night, which was a big deal.”