Alan Carr Interview For Stand Up to Cancer

Stand Up to Cancer is back. What can we expect on the night? An emotional rollercoaster really, I always end up struggling to read the autocue because I have a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes. It’s getting that balance right isn’t it? We want a night of entertainment but we don’t want to lose the message and that it is to raise as much money as we possibly can.

You are taking on the Child Geniuses in a battle of wits. Are you mad? I know, what was I thinking? They were not only really clever but also really intense too - they brought their A-game and really enjoyed intimidating us. What I thought would be quite a fun way to spend an evening actually turned into a really protracted psychological mind game.

Have you done any specialist training for Child Genius? I had a quick flick through Wikipedia.

Who’s on your team, and why did you pick them? Aisling Bea, Krishnan Guru Murphy and Rachel Riley - they were already pre-chosen so I can’t take any credit for assembling them - weirdly I was team captain even though they are all far cleverer than me. No lie, but at the end of the game there was dust on my buzzer.

What strengths will you bring to the team? I will know the answers to any pop culture questions that come up - if anything Kardashian related pops up I’m your man.

You’ve done every SU2C. Why is this event so important to you? I don’t know if it’s me getting older, but there doesn’t seem to be a week goes by without hearing someone you know being diagnosed with cancer. It can happen to anyone – I think this year has particular resonance what with us losing such greats as David Bowie, Victoria Wood and Caroline Aherne all to cancer.

You’ve had close friends who have had cancer. All of us will be affected by cancer one way or another, won’t we? Sad but true. After the last SU2C the Great British Public were so generous and raised so much money we were absolutely buzzing about it - the next morning still so excited about the money raised I got an email from the mother of a lad who was going to come to see my stand up show later that year that had sadly lost his battle with cancer the night before. We were too late to save him - and so we must keep battling on. It was so sobering to get that email you realise we have to keep going, raising money and awareness.

You’ve been very emotional on the programme in the past. What sets you off? The whole night sets me off - I was crying at the Cancer Choir rehearsing and we weren’t even on air then!! - me and Davina just end up hugging each other at every opportunity.

How do you handle those emotions? I grab Davina!!!

Do you think comedy is a good way of coping with sadness? It has a role to play in the bleakest of times, doesn’t it? Yes, like I said – it’s getting the right balance we have to give the audience at home an evening of entertainment and with Stand Up To Cancer you definitely get tears whether they be through laughing or crying. It is one of the hardest nights for me but we can’t be too down and anyway the people living with cancer need cheering up too - we owe it to them. 

It’s live TV, and often pretty anarchic. Do you enjoy that aspect, or is it terrifying? I love live TV – it’s always a bit crazy and I think people like it if things go wrong. And besides if you start complaining we are trying to raise millions of pounds for people with cancer so you can just piss off you miserable sod.

What have been your highlights of past SU2C’s? I think Leona Lewis singing Run with the Cancer Choir back in 2012 was a real highlight. Also Bradley Cooper popping up and sharing his story - even Hollywood stars have to deal with this awful disease - it was an important moment.

What can people at home do to show their support? Watch on the night, get involved, even if you are skint, just giving your time and listening to the cancer sufferers stories can be just as supportive.

What message do you have to all of those who have supported SU2C and given so generously in the past? Thank you so much!


About Stand Up To Cancer (UK)

  • Stand Up To Cancer is a joint national fundraising campaign from Cancer Research UK and Channel 4
  • This October Stand Up to Cancer returns to Channel 4 with a plethora of exciting telly and an unmissable night of live TV on Friday 21st October
  • Launched in the UK in 2012, Stand Up To Cancer funds translational research, accelerating new cancer treatments and tests to UK patients to ultimately save more lives
  • More than £25million has been raised in the UK to date and 30 trials and projects have been funded, involving more than 9,000 cancer patients 
  • Stars such as Naomi Campbell, Noel Gallagher, Nicole Scherzinger, Pharrell Williams, Tom Hardy, Benedict Cumberbatch, Gillian Anderson, Britney Spears, Idris Elba, Andy Murray, Bradley Cooper, Taylor Swift, Martin Freeman, Jamie Oliver, Kathy Burke, Miranda Hart, Paul O’Grady and Richard Ayoade are just some of the talent who supported Stand Up To Cancer 
  • To find out more about fundraising activities visit (opens in a new window) or (opens in a new window) or follow us on Facebook (opens in a new window)Twitter (opens in a new window) or Instagram (opens in a new window)

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October 4, 2016 6:56am ET by Channel 4  

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