Lenny Henry is working on a play about controversial comic Richard Pryor at the National Theatre.
The actor, who appeared at the theatre on London's Southbank three years ago in William Shakespeare's The Comedy Of Errors, said the role meant he could keep his "hand in" with stand-up.
He told BBC London's Robert Elms show: "I've been working on a Richard Pryor play at the National, I've been working on that with Michael Buffong. In the course of rehearsing that, I get to improvise and mess about so the comedy impulse isn't dying on the twig, it's still there."
The play, based on the life of the US comic who died in 2005, is in the early stages of development at the theatre which has brought hits including War Horse and One Man, Two Guvnors to the stage.
Pryor was known for his x-rated routines which dealt frankly with issues including racism in America, before finding mainstream success in films including Brewster's Millions, Stir Crazy and Blazing Saddles which he co-wrote.
He struggled with drugs and lived with multiple sclerosis for almost 30 years before his death.