THE ART OF ASKING EVERYTHING: S1E2 Lenny Henry: Humor, Trauma, and Flipping the Cosmic Spatula
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Humor. Armour. Racism. Voice. How our youth really shapes why we want to do what we wanna do, especially when we are drawn to the stage…this long yarn with Sir Lenny Henry, one of the most celebrated comedians in British history, was one for the books. We talk candidly about the paradoxes of celebrity and social media, how The Internet is a buffet, starting a career in entertainment in working mens’ clubs, using humor as armor against racism, the history of minstrelsy in the UK, making your work the structure of your life, giving your loved ones fair warning when you publish a memoir, the beautiful meld of words and images in comic books, the power of masks and fiction and why giving advice to younger artists is so important.
Episode 2 of The Art of Asking Everything: Lenny Henry: Humor, Trauma, and Flipping the Cosmic Spatula is out now wherever you get your podcasts.
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Amanda Palmer presents: an intimate conversation with Lenny Henry, recorded December 17, 2019 in London.
Lenny Henry is one of the most successful British stand-up comedians of all time. In 1975, at just 17, his career took off when he was a repeat winner on the weekly TV talent show, “New Faces.” He went on to host his own sketch comedy program, “The Lenny Henry Show,” starting in 1984. Later, Lenny stared in the 90’s BBC sitcom, “Chef!” Lenny is a founder, front-man and a creative force behind the charity Comic Relief.
In this episode we talk about the paradoxes of celebrity and social media, how the internet is a buffet, starting a career in entertainment in Working Mans’ Clubs, using humor as armor against racism, the history of minstrelsy in the UK, making your work the structure of your life, giving your loved ones fair warning when you publish a memoir, the beautiful meld of words and images in comic books, the power of masks and fiction and why giving advice to younger artists is so important.
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Many, many thanks to my guest Lenny Henry, Sir Lenny Henry. The engineer for this interview was Christo Squier. The theme song you heard at the beginning is a song called “Bottomfeeder“, from my 2012 crowdfunded album, Theatre is Evil. I would like to give a shout out to Jherek Bischoff, my soul-brother who arranged the in-betweeny orchestral music you heard in this podcast, those are all little snippets from my latest album, There Will Be No Intermission, which you should listen to if you like really sad songs. For all the music you heard in this episode you can go to the new and improved amandapalmer.net/podcast. A million thanks to my podcast assistant, social media helper and additional engineer Xanthea O’Connor. A lot of thanks are due to team AFP: Hayley, Michael, Jordan and Alex, I love you guys so much. Special thanks to Nick Rizzuto, Brittney Bomberger, Allie Cohen, and Braxton Carter.
And most importantly this podcast would not be possible without all of my patrons, about 15,000 of them, so that we can have this space with no ads, no sponsors, no censorship. We are the media. Please go to my Patreon, become a member, you can get extra stuff and also tune into the follow up live conversations that I’m doing with almost every guest of this podcast and also there are pictures, transcripts, notes, links and lots of other things. Those are my chickens by the way – can you hear them?