Laughing in the face of injustice
Human rights can be a serious business. Dealing with torture, wrongful imprisonment, war, extreme poverty and the rest mean that we at Amnesty are pretty serious people much of the time. That's as it should be.
But we also love nothing more than to kick back and have a right old laugh. A giggle. A bit of a titter. Some deep-throated guffawing. Uproarious, thigh slapping cackling. Upper-body trembling and quiet chortling. We love it all. As I say, we like a laugh. Maybe it's cathartic.
From Pleasure at Her Majesty's, in 1976, to The Secret Policeman's Ball in 1979 (and off and on, ever since), Stand Up For Freedom annually at the Edinburgh Festival and many other shows all over the world, Amnesty has had a long and mostly glorious association with the world of comedy.
So with Secret Policeman's Ball 2008 just behind us, the next big night of all the above forms of mirth and merriment is happening this Saturday, 8pm in Belfast. It's our big, annual laughter bash: Stand Up For Justice!
From Canada, Australia, Liverpool and London, a bumper pack of comedians from near and far are headed the way of the Whitla Hall – some of whom we are delighted to be bringing to a Belfast audience for the very first time.
The 2008 line-up now includes BBC The Blame Game regular, scouser John Bishop; edgy Canadian Katherine Ryan, winner of the Funny Women Award 2008; Dublin-based Aussie Damian Clark, fresh from sell-out shows in Edinburgh and Melbourne (and reputedly one of the best comics to emerge from Oz in recent years); Andi Osho, a past winner of the Funny Woman Awards and presenter of Channel 4’s Tonightly programme and finally (phew!), Mike Wozniak, recently nominated for 2008 Best Newcomer at the if.comedy awards in Edinburgh.
Stand Up for Justice is now in its sixth annual incarnation at the Belfast Festival and always showcases talent on the way up. Tim Minchin, who at last year's Belfast show was pretty unknown, is now firmly established as one of the brightest new stars in te comedy firmament and is back at the Belfast Festival in his right this year. The same will be true of this year's line-up, so even if you aren't yet familiar with s ome of the names … you soon will be.
Catch them first on Saturday night at Stand Up For Justice. Get your tickets here!
Oh, and included in your ticket price is an introductory six months membership of Amnesty International. See, it truly is your chance to stand up for justice! (You can be glad I won't be doing the jokes on Saturday).
Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.