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As he hit the big time during the late eighties, English comedian Lenny Henry made a big choice. Music was (and still is) his “lifelong passion” but he found comedy came naturally. During those early days Henry won three talent competitions and was suddenly offered a TV series. The rest, as they say, is history.

“There is a magical thing that happens the very first time you realise you can make an audience laugh and then you spend the rest of your life trying to replicate that feeling,” explains Henry. “The joy of being onstage making a big audience laugh is second to none.”

Although he has enjoyed a successful career as a comedian, actor, presenter and writer, music has always been a massive part of Henry’s life.

“I grew up in a house full of reggae music – Bob Marley and stuff like that. We had a lot of Elvis around too. My best friends in the whole world listened to rock and pop music,” he recalls.

Henry’s new show, Cradle to Rave, which he’ll be performing at the State Theatre on Thursday and Friday night, is an energetic mix of comedy and his lifelong love of music including tributes to his musical heroes. By Henry’s own admission the show is, ‘hilariously funny’. “There’ll be singing, dancing like Beyoncé, Prince and Winston Churchill as a heavy metal singer,” he chuckles. “All sorts of things.”

Jun 28-29, State Theatre, 49 Market Street, Sydney, $79-109, 9373 6655, statetheatre.com.au