On Sunday night I was lucky enough to attend The Secret Policeman’s Ball, a legendary British benefit concert that’s been bringing the best in comedy and music together since 1976. As luck would have it, this year’s organizers brought the show across the Atlantic, invited some of Hollywood’s heaviest hitters, and a new show was born. As we celebrated the 50th anniversary of Amnesty International, we were treated to LITRALLY one of the best lineups to ever converge on the stage of Radio City Music Hall. We saw cameos from Ben Stiller (and Blue Steel), Paul Rudd and Liam Neeson; comedy from Russell Brand, Sarah Silverman, Jon Stewart and the cast of Saturday Night Live; music from Coldplay(!!!!!) and Mumford and Sons(!!!!!). While I could LITRALLY sing the praises of these performers for weeks, I think I’ll take this time to share the brilliance of the lesser-known acts that stole our hearts and gave our abs a killer workout.
First up, Jack Whitehall:
Ladies and gentlemen, a star is born. I don’t know what “it” is — but this guy’s got it. He’s young, he’s hip, and he wears the heck out of a three-piece suit. The 23 year-old, London-bred Whitehall had been given the daunting task of following the incredible Mumford and Sons three-song set – and boy, did he nail it. Any man who can seamlessly shift from a Nokia 3310 joke to a dead-on impersonation of Tyra Banks eliminating a contestant on America’s Next Top Model, gets an A+ in my book. Mark my words, America — you’ll be seeing a lot more of this talented Brit in the future. (Jack’s work is slightly racy – Google at your own risk!)
Next, Reggie Watts:
I’ve been following Reggie (we’re on a first-name basis, natch) for a few years now and he is absolutely one of the most talented individuals on the comedy circuit today. To really appreciate Reggie is to see him live. With only the aid of a microphone and a loop machine, he builds entire songs right in front of your eyes (from the thumping base to the soprano runs) all while managing to crack you up with his various accents and use of the word “wonth”. His performance on Sunday was no exception — an epic fusion of music and comedy, an inherent nod to the spirit of the event to which he was performing. IMPORTANT NOTE: His style is no joke, as he expertly pairs Cosby sweaters with the illest ‘fro this side of the Mississippi. Check out Reg on Conan HERE.
Finally, Piff the Magic Dragon:
You might know his older brother….Steve. (Trust us it was funny) Check out Piff HERE.
It’s been said that several of the biggest benefit concerts in history were inspired by the early Secret Policeman’s Ball shows. Which one was your favorite?
1.) Live Aid
2.) Farm Aid
3.) Live 8