By Caryn James | James on Screens March 2, 2012 at 9:00AM
Jon Stewart, Eddie Izzard, Russell Brand, Coldplay, Kristen Wiig, Paul Rudd – that’s just part of the crazy-long list of performers who will be on stage at Radio City Music Hall on Sunday for the first U.S. version of The Secret Policeman’s Ball, the long-running, usually raucous and hilariously raw benefit in Britain for Amnesty International. The show will be on the EPIX channel and – even better – live-streamed free by EPIX so everyone can watch on-line.
Other guests include Seth Meyers, Liam Neeson, Rashida Jones, Mumford & Sons . . . it just goes on. And the issue they’re supporting is urgent; the event will benefit Amnesty and raise awareness of free speech. As Suzanne Nossel, Amnesty International USA’s executive director put it, The Secret Policeman’s Ball can tell “a new wired audience that the freedoms we enjoy every day – to post, tweet, blog, and email – are under threat in every region of the world.” (She’s right; it’s hard to keep track of the latest country trying to shut down political comments on Twitter or Facebook.)
But Russell Brand’s statement captures the spirit of the show better: “It’s good there is freedom of speech. It means that I can say I find Prince Charles sexually attractive and that the U.S. presidential elections are a meaningless spectacle to distract us from the mercantile skullduggery of the cabals that control our planet and no one can do anything about it.” That helps explain why the British versions have been so popular, even edgy.
The show begins Sunday at 7 ET. You can watch by clicking this link or pasting in:
(It’s also available through EPIX apps on Xbox 360 and Roku at www.EPIXHD/devices.com). So if you've been wondering what all those posters around New York are about
now you know.