NBC's Red Nose Day Special: Craig Ferguson Hosts a Night of Sketches and Fundraising

Craig Ferguson NBC Red Nose Day Publicity H 2016
Paul Drinkwater/NBC

Paul Rudd, Bill Gates and Ellen DeGeneres joined Ferguson at the annual fundraising event.

Host Craig Ferguson was joined by several of his celebrity friends for NBC's second annual Red Nose Day special on Thursday.

The star-studded special kicked off with a sketch starring Jay Leno, who appeared at Ferguson's house to convince him to host the event, even though Ferguson claimed he had a prior engagement ("sexy over 50" on the Today show).

The night was filled with comedy sketches, visits with celebrities and even a performance by Elton John ("a new guy to the scene," according to Ferguson). Danny Trejo, Steve Buscemi and Game of Thrones' Iwan Rheon (who plays Ramsay Bolton) also sang a song about how their evil characters kept them from the special. "The only thing that's tough about me is my luck," they sang, "People run from me, but I just want to play. Why can't I be part of Red Nose Day?"

The Red Nose Day special was created by writer-director Richard Curtis (Love Actually) as a fundraising campaign dedicated to lifting kids out of poverty around the world. The campaign, run by Comic Relief, has raised more than $1 billion globally in the last 25 years.

After stopping by the celebrity-filled phone bank, Ferguson introduced "ant-based superhero" and "ageless" Paul Rudd. With the NBA's Blake Griffin, Rudd starred in a sketch where Griffin had to make as many three-point shots as possible, with Rudd writing a $5,000 check to the campaign per shot. In the end, Rudd owed over $50,000.

Will Ferrell, Ellen DeGeneres, Kristen Bell and Bill Gates also starred in a sketch to highlight the inequality of how many words each star gets to say during PSAs. (Gates was not happy with how few he got to say, while Bono only got to give a serious look.)

In "Storytime With Tracy Morgan," the comedian introduced new bad words to kids and debated the word "dwarves" with children as he tried to explain Snow White: "The queen has got it out for S.W."

The Walking Dead even participated, with Andrew Lincoln and Norman Reedus starring in a Red Nose spoof with "Merle's hand" and Daryl's family, which included Jeff Goldblum and Yvette Nicole Brown. The comedic take on the series even starred Steven Yeun as Glenn, with his (ventriloquist-dummy) partner, Edmund Roddington III. The rest of the cast got shaky, with special guest-stars Dax Shepard and Chris Hardwick fighting over who would get to be Han Solo.

The second annual event aired live from Los Angeles on Thursday with Ferguson as host and Paul Shaffer and the "Red Nose Orchestra" as his band.

Ferguson hosted the event, featuring Morgan, Emma Watson, Trejo, Ellie Kemper, Gates, Kobe Bryant, Julia Roberts, Goldblum, Kate MicucciHardwick, David Morrissey, Jon Daly, Shepard, DeGeneres, Jack Black, Rudd, Julianne Moore, Liam Neeson, Sarah Silverman, Keegan-Michael Key, Jordan Peele, Anna Kendrick, Seth Rogen, Zac Efron, Bell, Ludacris, Rose Byrne, Griffin, Emma Thompson, Chloe Grace Moretz, Buscemi, Adam Devine and Ron Funches.