The Secret Policeman's Ball was started 36 years ago by Amnesty International and Monty Python's John Cleese, who gathered comics for a gala to raise funds for the human rights organisation. Videos were played from three members of the Pythons - Eric Idol, Terry Jones and Michael Palin.
During the show, American television comedian Stewart appeared with a Kim Jong-il impersonator, who kept interrupting him. “I thought this was going to be Kim Kardashian,” Stewart joked.
Statler and Waldorf, the grumpy old critics from The Muppets, observed the show from their customary position of the balcony, dispensing their usual negative comments. "It's a young curmudgeon's game now," said Statler, as he checks his mobile phone.
In other memorable moments, Mumford & Sons were introduced as “a band of hillbillies"; while actor Stiller and David Walliams discussed how words have different meanings on both sides of the pond. 'Bush' was defined by Walliams as "Too embarrassing to mention,” as Stiller added: “Same here.”Piers Morgan” means “annoying” in both countries, they agreed.
Chris Martin of Coldplay said, “We take pleasure in being the least funny act here.”
Actor and director Maung Thura Zarganar of Myanmar introduced a serious note to the show, recalling the importance of freedom of expression.
Released from prison in October 2009 after an intervention by Amnesty International, he talked about his 11 years in prison, where he was sent by the local military junta "just for making jokes."