Press Release

“We can all work towards raising our basic living standards for people of all walks of life. Because united we have the power.”: top Comedian Dane Baptiste calls on support for Big Issue vendors as he joins organisation as official Ambassador

Baptiste joins existing ambassadors including Christopher Eccleston, Sophie Winkleman and George Clarke in support of Big Issue Group

Image: Dane Baptiste, Big Issue Group Ambassador

Image: Dane Baptiste, Big Issue Group Ambassador

Today (Monday 27th February) Big Issue Group has announced the appointment of acclaimed stand-up comedian, presenter and writer, Dane Baptiste, as an official Ambassador.

The comedian is using his platform to call on people to support Big Issue vendors across the UK through the enduring cost-of-living crisis.

Ahead of his latest stand-up tour, Baptiste met up with London-based Big Issue vendor George Anderson on his pitch outside BBC Broadcasting House to explain why backing the Big Issue Group is so important during the cost-of-living crisis.

Baptiste joins actors Christopher Eccleston, Daniel Mays and Sophie Winkleman, politician David Lammy MP, architect George Clarke, dancer and choreographer Sherrie Silver and youth champion Jack Parsons as a Big Issue Group ambassador.

As a renowned observational stand-up comedian, writer and podcaster, Baptiste is as popular as he is provocative and political. 

Baptiste made history in 2014 as the first black British comedian to be nominated for a comedy award at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

He has since made acclaimed appearances on Live at the Apollo, Mock the Week, 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown, Children in Need and Comic Relief alongside his fast, frenetic, fresh and funny sitcom Sunny D (the first new commission of a black sitcom by the BBC in 20 years) and his BBC Three entertainment show Bamous.

Dane Baptiste, said: “I am really pleased to be joining Big Issue Group as an official Ambassador. The work the organisation does in order to support those locked in poverty is invaluable, especially now, with people facing the worst set of circumstances you can imagine.

“I really want to help people who feel they may be close to or experiencing sleeping rough or homelessness that they’re not alone.

“Homelessness might become a reality for more of the British population than they would care to acknowledge.

“The ramifications of the austerity that has been executed by our current government and has been over the last decade or so is massively damaging to all of us. For me, it’s unlawful. It’s definitely immoral.

“And those same policies, if unchecked, are going to start affecting those of you who consider yourselves productive parts of society as well. So I want to help people to come together collectively for a solution, which benefits the majority.”

Baptiste considers working with the Big Issue as a natural extension of his work.

“A large amount of the work that we do as comedians is people watching,” he says.

“I was just with George on his pitch outside the BBC and he was really on the ball. It’s ironic – Big Issue vendors observe people and their nature from so many different walks of life, so they have a similar insight into contemporary behaviour to comedians.

“And homelessness is as real an issue as ageing in our society at the moment, with our current state of economic inequality. The economic crisis is at the forefront of most people’s minds.

“Like most comics or observational comedians, I try to discuss experiences people can relate to. And the cost-of-living crisis is the most encompassing and most relatable issue most people are dealing with in their day to day lives now.

“So it I am going to make effective observations about our current social state, then I need to be involved. If I’m going to opine on an issue, I really want to know about it.”

“I hope that by being an ambassador, I can encourage people to come together, have empathy for others and that we can all work towards raising our basic living standards for people of all walks of life. Because united we have the power. That would be my big message.”

Lord John Bird, Founder of The Big Issue, said: “It’s a privilege to have Dane onboard as an official Big Issue Ambassador, using his platform to support our vendors through the ongoing cost-of-living crisis. We are pleased to have Dane’s voice and influence to help raise awareness of the difficulties caused by rise in the cost of living and recent Government spending cuts.”

To support Big Issue vendors, buy a copy from your local seller or subscribe at bigissue.com/subscribe. You buy also buy a subscription and allocate it to a vendor via the vendor map bigissue.com/vendors/ and the vendor will receive 50% of the net profits.

Support the Big Issue

For over 30 years, the Big Issue has been committed to ending poverty in the UK. In 2024, our work is needed more than ever. Find out how you can support the Big Issue today.
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