The presenter 46, on his Red Nose Day rave, sitting in a bathtub of spring rolls and kitchen fashion statements.
How you doing, Gok?
I’ve just finished a 4k run in 25 minutes. Pretend to be impressed.
Considering I’m turning 47 this year, it’s not too bad. Although I do look like haggis when I’m running!
Tell me about the Red Nose Day rave you’re holding — that’s a combination I never expected.
It’s a massive party bringing together three powerhouses: Isolation Nation, which is a brand I’ve cultivated during lockdown, Glitterbox, which is one of the best house-music brands out there and, of course, Comic Relief, which I’ve supported for many years.
How did it come about?
One of the big bosses at Comic Relief, an incredible woman called Emma who I used to live with back in the day, as we went to university together, texted me to ask if I was up for doing something with Isolation Nation.
I supersized it and said, ‘Why don’t we do the first ever Red Nose Day rave?’ Everyone jumped at it and we’ve got Melvo Baptiste, The Shapeshifters, Teni Tinks and all of the dancers from Glitterbox involved. We managed to pull the whole thing together in two weeks.
The rave is due to finish at 2.30am. Surely there will be an after-party because no good rave ends that early…
[Laughs] You clearly know me, just by asking that question! It will have to finish at 2.30am, unfortunately.
People will have been fundraising all day, watching the show at night and then dancing, and they’ll want to go to bed by then.
You’re a fashion icon. How does the red nose stack up in the fashion stakes?
I think it’s as important as any of the shoes, handbags or belts in this season. And, in fact, I’m going to put myself on the line here and say that it’s more important.
So regardless of what you’re wearing this season, if you’re not wearing a red nose then you are just not on trend.
This isn’t your first Comic Relief rodeo. You’ve done Bake Off and The Apprentice for it too. But we’ve yet to see you in a bathtub of beans…
Well, I’ve not done that publicly. How do you know I’ve not done it privately? Though I have to say, if I was going to sit in a bathtub of food it would have to be spring rolls and I would eat my way out.
Isolation Nation has been a huge part of many people’s lockdown. Are you surprised at the reaction to it?
When I started it in March 2020, it wasn’t selfish, but I knew that I needed something. I’m not very good with my own company.
I live at home alone with my dog and then, because of the pandemic, I had my freedom, friends and family taken away from me — as did everybody else — so I needed to do something.
It was an innocent thing when I asked if I should drop a set online and in a few months it turned into one of the largest parties in the UK. It’s been one of the important things I’ve done in my career.
Between you and pop star Sophie Ellis-Bextor, the kitchen has become the place to be…
I don’t think the kitchen rave will go away now. When things open, it won’t be quite as much online but I will definitely keep the Isolation Nation party going.
How much are you looking forward to returning to clubs?
My DJ diary has gone absolutely through the roof, be it tours, clubs or festivals, and I can’t wait. Part of the reason I’m going out and running at the moment is to build up my stamina because I know it’s going to be so busy.
I’m so excited about seeing people and about looking around a room where hopefully every single person is smiling and dancing and enjoying the music.
Any other skills up your sleeve?
I think I’ve run out now, even for a polymath. Oh, I do magic! I can do some close-up magic — please, don’t even ask. I’m not particularly good at sitting still.
Why should people get involved with the Red Nose Day rave?
Three reasons. Number one: just close your eyes and get involved in the beat of those tracks. It’s not just standard house, it’s disco house, so you’ll recognise these tracks and want to get involved.
Number two: you deserve a party. We all deserve a party after these past 12 months.
Number three: we’re going to be raising money for one of the most important charities of our generation and just by being there — even if you can’t afford to give any money, it doesn’t matter — you’re supporting something we’re very excited about doing.
The rave will be on Comic Relief and Gok Wan’s Facebook Live and YouTube from 11.30pm tonight and is free to join.