It’s been three long years since Teenage Cancer Trust took over the Royal Albert Hall with a series of events to raise money for a truly incredible cause. Over the last two decades, the series of events has seen the best musicians and comedy acts come together to support the charity supporting young people facing cancer.

This year’s comedy evening saw Joel Dommett host some of the finest UK comedians. Knowing this event was for such a worthy and important cause, it was a total honour to go along and enjoy some hilarious stand up.

Being a massive fan of stand up and comedy panel shows myself, this line up was a total dream, and like many others I left feeling like I’d gained abs from laughing. Although the events haven’t been on for three years, everything felt so slick, it felt like no time had passed at all.

Introduced by Absolute Radio host Ben Burrell with a few jokes thrown in, you could easily have mistaken him for one of the comedians. Hosting the evening, Joel Dommet kicked off the night with tales of working on The Masked Singer, not knowing who some of the contestants are (naming no names… ex-MP Alan Johnson.) and the details of an intimate waxing experience, Dommet had the perfect set up for a stellar evening.

Suzi Ruffell bounced onto the stage and met a huge cheer of excitement for her fifteen minutes, jam-packed with life stories including her own mum spoiling her wedding proposal. Completely owning her LGBTQ+ life and style, there was no shortage of laughter. From pointing jokes about the obvious lesbian vibe, to sharing how her parents have previously been confused on where she stands after watching a range of documentaries. Ruffell was an absolute joy to watch and a comedian that you immediately wanted to set up tour alerts for.

Following on, Judi Love entered the stage with instant laughs from the crowd. Creating jokes about being mistaken for Lizzo and Alison Hammond, flowed beautifully into wanting to be compared or mistaken for the iconic Beyoncé. Once again in the short set, Love covered a huge range of topics and antidotes ranging from getting fit with Strictly, Loose Women and dating skinny men black men and their love of curvy women.

Romesh Ranganathan came on next to close the first half of the evening. Known for his deadpan humour, there was en effortlessly casual vibe given off. Opening his set straight away joking how this gig was being done for free and we wouldn’t be getting the best stuff. One of the funniest tales of the evening however came from Romesh recalling the time he was recognised with a family wanting a photo, only to turn around and not believe it was actually him.

After a short interval the reason we were there was brought to the front of our minds again. Sharing vital facts about the importance of the work Teenage Cancer Trust does alongside figures on how the pandemic has affected fundraising, a short film of Francesca’s story was shown to give a full demonstration. Although difficult to watch, there was an overwhelming sense of happiness felt through the audience on seeing her pull through and just how much the charity helped in such a positive way. An incredibly special moment came with attention being brought to a group of VIP audience members who have also received support from the charity. With the entire venue holding up their phone flash lights for “the best selfie ever” was a truly stunning sight to see.

Although these moments weren’t comedy driven, Tom Allen had a tough act to follow continuing the second half of the night. In true style, Allen dove straight in, interacting with audience members and bouncing off everyone in the room. Going from talking about gay dating apps to hosting gigs on zoom could be such a jarring change in pace, but one Allen pulled off effortlessly; all well bragging about being a “thoroughbred gay”. Continuing to interact with the audience, one teacher in particular faced such interaction they began feeling the pressure and embarrassment- to which this was met by comparing the evening and interactions to a giant school assembly.

While the whole night was in aid of a wonderful cause that is often a difficult subject to handle, all comedians managed to give an escape from the real world for a little while. Theres always a risk fund-raising events can feel corporate or forced, but the Teenage Cancer Trust truly know how to put on an incredibly engaging set of events with super effective fund raising.

For more information on the Teenage Cancer Trust and to make a donation, please visit the official website.

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