DARA O’Briain will lead a line-up of some of the UK’s top comedians to raise funds for refugees during a special stand-up event at the Brighton Dome.

The Stand Up For Refugees gig on Wednesday, June 21, will also include performances from Mark Steel, Shappi Khorsandi, Francesca Martinez, Bec Hill, Zoe Lyons, Kerry Godliman, Tiernan Douieb and Tom Allen.

All the money from ticket sales will go to Help Refugees, the biggest grassroots distributor of aid to those in Europe and the Middle East currently affected by the global migrant crisis.

Comedian and co-organiser Jen Brister tells JOSH WALTON about the upcoming show.

As co-organiser of the Stand Up For Refugees series of comedy shows, what made you decide to focus on this cause?

I think, like a lot of people, I saw this issue and the refugee crisis on the news a lot and have friends who have given their time to volunteer and help the cause out in Calais and Greece. With so many heartbreaking stories I found it hard to sleep peacefully. I thought the one thing I can do is help raise a lot of money. It was going to be a one-off show before we gauged the interest and everyone came together to make it work. I went to Calais myself to see the work Help Refugees are doing. I took away from the visit just how lucky we are to live where we do and have the rights and freedoms we have.

How do you think the comedians on the line-up match the ethos of the show?

There isn’t a single comedian featuring in the show who doesn’t do charity work on a regular basis. We are all friends and I have asked them to come and take part for free. They believe in the charity Help Refugees and what it stands for. They have all done stuff for refugees so they were the first people I contacted.

What can guests expect from the show?

People have bought their tickets and that is the main thing. Don’t think it is going to be very political and dry because of the cause we are raising funds and awareness for, because it really isn’t. We want to see the best turnout and have the best night ever. People have paid a lot of money and really deserve that. There could be some mention of the refugee crisis during the show but we have not focused our content specifically on that. I have a little bit on the crisis in my own part of the show.

How would you like to see the money spent by Help Refugees?

They know exactly what they are doing at the charity. They are on the ground helping refugees all over the world. There are people who just need clothing and food because they are stuck in these places. We need to try and keep the people who are suffering in a positive mood and the charity helps to do that as well as offer legal advice and hope. They should not have to feel hopeless or as though they are stuck. So many refugee charities are out there but I chose Help Refugees because of the connections they have. They really know what needs to be done.

What has your experience of the shows you have held so far been like?

The nights really are always magical and the crowd shows so much support and love for the acts involved. This is the comedians’ reward for doing the shows for free. They have been going great so far and the energy throughout is really infectious. It is also good to see how generous our guests have been.

How do you expect the Brighton audience and show to differ from the others you have played so far on the tour?

It is our final show and will be the biggest venue that we have played at. We are planning for a very big night at the Brighton Dome. All of the audiences have been incredible and everyone who gives money is definitely a decent human being. Brighton is a very liberal place and one of the best places in the country. Just know that this is going to be an amazing night. Even if we don’t sell any more tickets it will still be amazing.

What impact do you think the recent general election will have on how the refugee crisis is dealt with?

The Conservatives have been very dogmatic in their approach to this humanitarian issue. People just seem to accept that what they do happens and that’s it but we don’t have to do that. The Tories don’t have a majority. I hope we can see a change in the way the government deals with the crisis and it would be good to see an effort to reunite more children with their families.

How do you think comedy can be used as a way of raising awareness about serious social issues?

You can use comedy as an effective way of flagging up these types of issues with people so that they consider stuff themselves. If you make people laugh and it isn’t preachy then it’s always a good thing. It can have a huge impact and bring like-minded people together. In a way you can certainly get people to think about these issues more thoroughly. There are some comedians who manage to take a subject this tragic and approach it in a way that makes people respond to it in a different way.