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The Secret Policeman's Ball is Back

Amnesty International's Comedy Class of 2012 including Jon Stewart, Russell Brand and Coldplay to perform in NYC for one night only

The funniest night of the decade has been set for Sunday 4 March with the announcement today of the return of Amnesty International’s Secret Policeman’s Ball.

Multi award-winners Coldplay, The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart and comedian and actor Russell Brand will be joined by a stellar cast of fellow stars from the world of entertainment to commemorate 50 years of Amnesty International at New York’s Radio City Music Hall. It’s the first time the Ball has been held outside of the UK.

Since John Cleese and friends brought together a star-studded mix of comedians and rock stars for The Secret Policeman’s Ball in 1976, the legendary Amnesty International show has championed the right to free speech for people across the world. The New York gala event will also feature UK act Mumford & Sons, along with US stars Stephen Colbert and Reggie Watts, joined by a host of others to help spread Amnesty International’s message to a global audience.

Coldplay frontman, Chris Martin said:

"We are so happy to be involved with The Secret Policeman’s Ball 2012. We have followed and supported for years Amnesty International and the amazing work they do around the world in the field of human rights, and it is a pleasure to be asked to contribute to such an inspiring event."

A supporting online campaign at will reveal further stars of the show in the coming weeks. Top UK comedians Alexander Armstrong and Ben Miller have voiced new animations created for the campaign by leading French artist, McBess.

An audience of more than 6,000 people will gather at Radio City Music Hall to experience a one-off night of original performances, first time collaborations, unique comedy sketches and stand-up from the funniest men and Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights on both sides of the Atlantic. 

John Cleese, one of the pioneers behind the original Secret Policeman’s Balls, said: 

"I used to think humour was a luxury, but at the last election Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert taught me it was a necessity.    The Secret Policeman's Ball was  - and is  - a coming together of the very best comedy talent of any generation to celebrate their art, remind audiences how important free speech is, and highlight just how much vital work Amnesty International does to protect it.  I implore you to support it."

Previous Secret Policeman’s Balls have featured some of British comedy’s most iconic sketches including Monty Python’s ‘Four Yorkshiremen’ and the famous ‘Dead Parrot’, Peter Cook’s ‘Biased Judge’ and the then unknown Rowan Atkinson’s ‘School Master’. The 2012 Ball will create new classic moments of its own with three hours of new material specially written for the landmark event.

Andy Hackman, of Amnesty International, said:

“This year’s Secret Policeman’s Ball brings together an incredible representation of the best comedians and musicians in the world. It’s humbling that they have given up their time to join us and champion the fundamental right to opinion and expression – and in doing so helping us connect with a new generation of supporters.

I hope comedy and music fans in the UK will help us in making it a bad night for dictators and a good night for free speech.”

  • Find out more at where you can win tickets from Monday 30 January
  • Follow the Secret Policeman on Twitter at /li>

The show will be broadcast on British TV.


About Amnesty International

Amnesty International is an international human rights organisation with more than three million supporters worldwide.  Working in over 150 countries, Amnesty International investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilises people into action, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom and dignity are denied.

About The Secret Policeman’s Ball

The Secret Policeman’s Ball is a world-famous comedy event which celebrates freedom of expression with the very best within the arts and entertainment industry. Established in 1976, The Secret Policeman’s Ball shows used anarchic humour to raise funds for the fight against human rights abuses.

Returning to mark Amnesty International’s 50th anniversary The Secret Policeman’s Ball this year is set to be bigger than ever, as some of the world’s best comedians and musicians team up for an evening of original, cutting edge entertainment.

About Free Speech

The Secret Policeman’s Ball celebrates free speech – one of the first rights to be stifled by state authorities which seek to repress its citizens. Free speech is a basic human right denied to thousands of people around the world. The Secret Policeman’s Ball aims to celebrate this right through comedy and music.

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