Amnesty International’s Secret Policeman’s Ball sees music group Coldplay and funnyman Jon Stewart head this years show.
For the first time in its history the event, on Sunday March 4th, will be held outside of the UK, with this year’s three-hour extravaganza taking place New York’s Radio City Music Hall to an audience of over 6,000 people.
Since John Cleese and friends brought together a star-studded mix of comedians and rock stars for the first Secret Policeman’s Ball in 1976, the legendary Amnesty International show has championed the right to free speech for people across the world.
John Cleese, one of the pioneers behind the original Secret Policeman’s Balls, said: “I used to think humour was a luxury, but at the last election Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert taught me it was a necessity. The Secret Policeman’s Ball was – and is – a coming together of the very best comedy talent of any generation to celebrate their art, remind audiences how important free speech is, and highlight just how much vital work Amnesty International does to protect it. I implore you to support it.”
The New York gala event will also feature UK act Mumford & Sons, along with US stars Stephen Colbert, and Reggie Watts, joined by a host of others to help spread Amnesty International’s message to a global audience.
Chris Martin of Coldplay, said: “We are so happy to be involved with the 2012 Secret Policeman’s Ball. We have followed and supported Amnesty International – and the amazing work they do around the world in the field of human rights – for years, and it is a pleasure to be asked to contribute to such an inspiring event.”
A supporting online campaign at facebook.com/secretpoliceman will reveal further stars of the show in the coming weeks. Top UK comedians Alexander Armstrong and Ben Miller have voiced new animations created for the campaign by leading French artist, McBess.
Previous Secret Policeman’s Balls have featured some of British comedy’s most iconic sketches including Monty Python’s ‘Four Yorkshiremen’ and the famous ‘Dead Parrot’, Peter Cook’s ‘Biased Judge’ and the then unknown Rowan Atkinson’s ‘School Master’. The 2012 Ball will create new classic moments of its own with three hours of new material specially written for the landmark event.
Andy Hackman, of Amnesty International, said: “This year’s Secret Policeman’s Ball brings together an incredible representation of the best comedians and musicians in the world. It’s humbling that they have given up their time to join us and champion the fundamental right to opinion and expression – and in doing so helping us connect with a new generation of supporters. I hope comedy and music fans in the UK will help us in making it a bad night for dictators and a good night for free speech.”
To find out more visit www.facebook.com/secretpoliceman the event will also be screened on an as yet un-named British broadcaster with recent balls airing on Channel 4.