The Comedy School held a huge fundraiser at The Comedy Store in Leicester Square last night with the aim of raising £10,000 to support projects that draw attention to the dangers of knife crime. Keith had persuaded a host of top acts to come and perform which made for a fantastic evening, brilliantly compered by Jeff Innocent.
Some of the comedians Arthur Smith, Jo Brand, Neil Mullarky were veterans of the venue's hey day when the alternative scene was finding its feet in opposition as much to the racist misogyny of the traditional circuit as to the policies of Thatcher's government. Others Andi Osho, Rob Grant, Mr Cee all had a moment to pinch themselves that they were here. It's a bit of a Mecca for comedians.
Maybe it was the pre-show soundtrack of Madness, The Beat and The Specials but a wave of nostalgia swept over me. As a teenager watching telly in my room, I was offered, through The Young Ones, Friday Night Live and Spitting Image, brilliant glimpses of how satire and song might provide some form of morale boosting contrast to the depressing orthodoxy of the age. At a time of rising unemployment, attacks on the Unions and the wasted potential of the inner cities this was form of solidarity that seemed hopeful, energised and above all fun.
Tonight, though, the venue paid tribute to the twelve years that Keith has dedicated to using comedy as a tool for education, rehabilitation and prevention. He made his target. It was wonderful to be here.