Lenny Henry, Narrator, Friend of Neil Gaiman

Meet Lenny Henry, big in Britain..

Listener Gavin Bruce took the BPP to task today for not knowing who Lenny Henry was when we played a clip of Henry's audiobook recording of Neil Gaiman's Anansi Boys (this month's BPP Book Club selection). Bruce wrote:

You didn't seem to recognize Lenny Henry's name or voice on the show today (he's the narrator of your talking book version). I wanted to mention that he is actually a very very very famous person, one of the most well-known and talented people in the UK for at least 20 years. You might want to learn more about him.

Right you are, Gavin! You can find out everything you might want to know about Henry on his website. He's not only a very accomplished comedian, he's also a friend of Neil Gaiman's, and, according to Gaiman, was at least in part the inspiration for Anansi Boys:

There's definitely a part of me that feels that Lenny Henry's reading of ANANSI BOYS will be in some odd way the definitive text, but that's because Lenny was there when I came up with the idea, and much of the time while I was writing it, I was hearing Len's voice in the back of my head.

Gaiman also said this about Henry in an extensive interview about Anansi Boys for

On the one hand he's a very private, quiet, scholarly, reserved person, and on the other hand is an absolutely wild, outgoing, over-the-top, huge, funny dude. And both of these things are true. And I love the fact that both of these things are true.

After the jump, links to ever-so-slightly blue, absolutely hilarious Henry clips.

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He's also married to Dawn French, the lucky bastard.

Sent by Stewart | 12:36 PM | 5-22-2008

I don't know how anyone who watched PBS in the past 15 years could have missed him - "Chef!" used to be on every Sunday night when I was in college. And there weren't really that many episodes. . .

Sent by eliz.s. (@elizs) | 1:12 PM | 5-22-2008

He was also in a sketch comedy show in the UK that really launched Tracey Ullman's career called Three of a Kind.

Sent by Ann V. | 1:25 PM | 5-22-2008

Lenny Henry: brilliant! But then I get BBC Prime.

Sent by Marc Naimark | 3:59 AM | 5-23-2008

I love Henry's rendition of Anansi Boys. I've listened to recorded books most of my life but very rarely do I get as connected to a particular reading as Henry's. Even when I pick up the book (now for the fourth or fifth time) I hear his voice telling me, "All the stories and Anansi's..."

Sent by Matthew | 7:59 AM | 5-23-2008

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