“Red Nose Day” returns to raise money for children in poverty

NBC — The “Red Nose Day” comedy telethon returns to NBC tonight.

The debut of that fundraiser for children living in poverty got a solid start in the United States last year, raising $23 million.

“Red Nose Day” started in the United Kingdom, where it’s generated more than a billion dollars since 1985 in annual telethons.

“We want to give the feeling of people being able to directly help kids in trouble,” says founder Richard Curtis.

Comedian Craig Ferguson hosts tonight’s event.

Its donations will be split 50/50 among poverty-fighting charities both in and outside of the United States.

“It makes the world more like a small town. It’s a more of a community way to help the planet,” Ferguson says.

That need is driven home between the laughs in a series of vignettes. Jack Black’s visit to the slums of Uganda motivated donors last year.

“I could feel the impact just people who came up to me on the street and said, ‘Hey I saw that thing, I was really moved and I gave some money to the cause’,” he says.

Black is among more than two dozen celebrities taking part in performances and sketches tonight.