Evgeny Lebedev

Elton razors some eyebrows for Comic Relief

The Independent Monday 2 March 2015

Evgeny Lebedev, owner of The Independent and Evening Standard titles, has gone from high brow to no brow, after Sir Elton John shaved off his beard and eyebrows to raise money for Comic Relief.

The once hirsute Mr Lebedev offered to remove his facial hair in the run-up to Red Nose Day, and asked the legendary pop musician to man the clippers. Sir Elton was keen to play hairdresser, saying: “He’s had this beard for so long, it’s so boring and I’ve forgotten what he looks like underneath it.”

Sir Elton, having held his annual Oscar party fund- raiser for the Elton John Aids

Foundation the night before, transformed his studio in Los Angeles into a makeshift barbershop for the fundraising shave. Ol Parker, writer of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and its sequel, filmed Sir Elton at work to inspire the public to make their own faces “funny for money” for Comic Relief, which airs on Friday 13 March.

Sir Elton proved to be a dab hand at facial topiaries, transforming Mr Lebedev’s moustache into a horseshoe one moment and handlebar the next. When his face was clean-shaven at last, the show appeared to be over.

But Sir Elton’s devotion to Comic Relief went much further than even Mr Lebedev expected. Moments later, he decided that Mr Lebedev should be relieved of his eyebrows as well, which he swiftly shaved off. After his newfound talent as a barber, the singer delivered his final warning: “Next year – his balls.”

Browless and beardless, Mr Lebedev said: “I lost everything for Comic Relief – not just my beard, but everything on my face. I look absolutely terrifying!”

Despite his misgivings, Mr Lebedev thanked Sir Elton for taking the time to give him the trim. The night before the singer and his husband, David Furnish, had hosted their annual Oscars screening party, raising $5.8m (£3.8m) for the Elton John Aids Foundation.

“Having lost every hair on my face,” said Mr Lebedev, “I will be asking everyone I know to do their bit for Red Nose Day 2015. It turns out it’s easy to make your face funny for money. But if you’re doing it with a friend, just make sure you discuss eyebrows in advance.”

Daisy Fletcher