Comedy for Mental Health: Dave and CALM Announce New Partnership

Becky Banham
By Becky Banham,
updated on Dec 6, 2019

Comedy for Mental Health: Dave and CALM Announce New Partnership

Comedy entertainment channel Dave has announced a new series of stand-up specials, to raise awareness for mental health charity CALM

Comedy Against Living Miserably is the latest initiative by UKTV’s award-winning channel Dave, in their partnership with CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably). The initiative, a series of three filmed stand-up specials which is set to air next year, will raise funds and awareness for the charity.

There is often a suggestion that comics face a difficult task in maintaining their own mental health – having to put on a brave face to get their audiences laughing, even when they may not feel like laughing themselves. So, this series creates the perfect opportunity for the comedy community to join the mission towards creating a more positive and open culture when it comes to mental health.

The stand-up comedy specials will star some of the nation’s biggest names in comedy, all of whom are generously waiving their fee to donate to the charity. Each episode will be hosted by a headline act and feature three leading comedians. Before taking to the stage, the nation’s favourite funny people will discuss their own mental health stories and what it feels like to feel sad when your career is built around making other people laugh.

The stand-up specials are being held at EarTH (Theatre) Hackney and tickets for the first show hosted by Nish Kumar are now available, with proceeds going to CALM.

This comedy series is the latest activity in Dave’s partnership with CALM since the ‘Be the Mate You’d Want’ campaign, which launched last year. The 2018 campaign comprised of an ad break takeover, where airtime was given to encourage viewers to spend that time texting or calling a mate.

Since launching its partnership with CALM last year, Dave’s ambition is to encourage its viewers to reach out to their mates, in a bid to bring about a behavioural change in society. Earlier this year, Dave aired a ‘Comedy Festival in an Ad Break’, as well as launching its hit podcast Conversations Against Living Miserably, hosted by mental health author Aaron Gillies and stand-up comic Lauren Pattison, now in its second series.

The new stand-up series will be executively produced by Matt Campion, creative director of Spirit Media, alongside Morgan Jones, former head of creative for Comic Relief whose recent credits include A Royal Team Talk featuring Prince William, Duke of Cambridge for BBC1.

Matt Campion said: “Comedy Against Living Miserably is such an amazing follow up for Spirit to the event we produced last year, Music 4 Mental Health, which saw the biggest names in the music industry come together to help combat the stigma surrounding mental health.

“Not only does this series promise to deliver on the funny, but we hope along with CALM, Dave and some of the UK’s biggest comedians, we can build a new TV-led awareness-raising platform that uses comedy and the gift of laughter to make a meaningful difference to those of us who are struggling with mental health.”

Dave channel director, Luke Hales added: “The whole Dave team are really proud of the work we do with CALM, we are so glad we have managed to make these three stand-up specials happen as they promise to be brilliantly funny and are for such an important cause. The aim of these shows is to help raise awareness and lots of money for CALM to help them as they continue their incredibly important work saving lives.”

Simon Gunning, CEO of the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM), said: “We’re delighted to continue our partnership with Dave and UKTV for Comedy Against Living Miserably. We’ve seen how comedy can be an effective vehicle for conversations around mental health, suicide, and generally being there for your mates when things get tough. This series of events, in collaboration with our friends at Spirit Media and the brilliant comics who are on board, will promise bags of fun with an important message underneath.”

Tickets for the first stand up special, hosted by Nish Kumar on Thursday 21st November are now available. All proceeds will go towards the Campaign Against Living Miserably.

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