Sir Lenny Henry Passes Comic Relief Torch

Comic legend transitions, spotlighting future comedic talents.

by Nouman Rasool
Sir Lenny Henry Passes Comic Relief Torch
© Jake Turney/Getty Images

Sir Lenny Henry, a beloved figure in the world of comedy and philanthropy, has announced his decision to step down as the host of Comic Relief after this year's event, marking a significant transition for the iconic charity show.

At 65, Henry, who co-created Comic Relief in 1985 alongside esteemed screenwriter Richard Curtis, has become synonymous with the biennial Red Nose Day broadcasts, having taken only a single year's break from hosting duties to star in a production of "Othello." In a heartfelt statement on BBC Breakfast, Henry shared his intentions, emphasizing his desire to pass the torch to a new generation of comedians who have risen to fame through podcasts and social media, boasting millions of followers.

While stepping back from hosting, Henry assured fans that he would remain actively involved in Comic Relief as a life president, contributing through special appearances, fundraising activities, and documentaries. The upcoming Comic Relief event at the London Palladium, titled "Comic Relief – Live At The London Palladium," is set to honor Sir Lenny's remarkable 39-year journey with the charity.

The night will feature a roster of talented comedians, including Rosie Jones, Aisling Bea, Joel Dommett, and Sara Pascoe, promising a blend of humor and homage to the cause.

Rosie Jones Celebrates Comic

Rosie Jones, a comedian with ataxic cerebral palsy, expressed her deep connection to Comic Relief and her admiration for Sir Lenny's contributions.

Jones, known for her appearances on popular panel shows and advocacy for disability rights, emphasized the importance of Comic Relief's work and her excitement to be part of the event. She also noted her approach to the night as a celebration rather than an occasion for satire, especially concerning Sir Lenny.

The announcement comes ahead of the Red Nose Day 2024 launch sketch, which will feature Jones alongside other celebrities rallying to support Comic Relief's mission. The charity continues to provide vital assistance to those affected by poverty, homelessness, conflict, and climate change, underscoring the ongoing need for support and the impact of Sir Lenny Henry's enduring legacy.