Preview: Benefits Culture – Best Fundraisers Guide

marcus brigstocke

Stand ups have always been happy to do their bit for charity, but this May that urge to help out seems to have gone into overdrive. Maybe it's the comedy faction of the Big Society in action, maybe ongoing brutal government cuts mean that organisations have to be a bit more proactive in raising cash and profile. Whatever the reason, these gigs below need you.

Comedians are certainly keen to help out. Sometimes they care passionately about the cause, maybe sometimes they see it as a chance to try out new material, maybe sometimes they think it might be a way of attracting new fans to their own gigs, which is fair enough. Stewart Lee says that he does it for the crisps. But it is a win-win situation for fans – you get a bumper bill and if you don't like one turn the chances are you will like the next one ten minutes later.

Whatever the reason for this benefits boom there are more fundraisers than you can shake a stick at in May, so to help you choose BTJ is simply listing all the big ones here. Click on the links to find out more about the causes and for ticket details. I've had a lot of leaflets thrust into my hand after gigs recently and some shows may have been accidentally overlooked, so if there are any others around London we have missed please let us know at [email protected] and we will be more than delighted to update this guide. But please support something here – if you are only going to go to one comedy gig in May make it one of these. Ideally go to loads.

1 May – War on Want with Marcus Brigstocke (pictured above), Sara Pascoe (pictured below), Imran Yusuf, Isy Suttie at Shepherd's Bush Empire

1 May – Firebox (organisation championing left-leaning ideas) with Stewart Lee, Francesca Martinez, Mark Thomas, Jeremy Hardy, hosted by Jen Brister at  Bloomsbury Theatre.  

7 May – Breast Cancer Charity Coppafeel! with Russell Kane, Mae Martin at Bloomsbury Theatre

8 May NAPAC (national organisation focused on supporting adults who have been abused as children) with Stewart Lee, Mark Thomas, Isy Suttie, sara pascoeMark Watson, Keith Farnan, Ginger & Black, hosted by Tiernan Douieb at Bloomsbury Theatre.

12 May – Loving Linda – Tribute to late comedian Linda Smith and fundraiser for Target Ovarian Cancer with Jo Caulfield, Jenny Eclair, Barry Cryer, Phill Jupitus, Stewart Lee and more at Rose Theatre, Kingston.

13 May Stand Up For Women with Michael McIntyre, James Mullinger, Joel Dommett, Hal Cruttenden, Lucy Porter and more at Bloomsbury Theatre.

13 May Balls to Homelessness – Ian Stone, Milton Jones, Carl Donnelly, Tom Rosenthal at The Comedy Store.  

18 May – Bringing It Home for Homelessness with Bridget Christie, Cariad Lloyd, Mae Martin, Margaret Cabourn-Smith and lots more women at Union Chapel N1. Details here.  

18 May C4 Comedy Gala – Annual Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital benefit with Michael McIntyre, Jack Dee, Alan Carr, Lee Evans, Miranda Hart and loads and loads more household names at 02 Arena.

27 May Belarus Free Theatre – Mark Thomas, Isy Suttie, Phill Jupitus, Omid Djalili, Imran Yusuf and more at Comedy Store.





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