Britain's Got Talent winner coming to Clitheroe for hilarious stand-up gig
Britain's Got Talent winner may not be able to talk, but Lee Ridley will definitely have something very important to say when he comes to Clitheroe.
Ridley quit a hum-drum job in a council office to follow his comedy dream and performing under the stage name Lost Voice Guy he became an overnight sensation in front of a TVaudience of millions.
Ridley has cerebral palsy and can’t speak.
He uses the automated voice on his Ipad to speak to the world, programming his material before selecting certain lines based on audience reaction.
“One of the best things to happen since I won is that people are engaging with me a lot more than they would have in the past,” he said.
“For the first time, they seem comfortable talking to a disabled person.”
Ridley was the first ever comic to win Britain’s Got Talent.
And what does he think his victory will have meant for other disabled performers?
“Obviously I can’t speak for every disabled person,” he says.
“In fact, I think it would be quite ironic if I was the voice of the disabled.
“But from the feedback I’ve had from other disabled performers and people, I do think my success has given them the confidence to follow their dreams a bit.”
He added: “I don’t feel like, or see myself as an inspiration, no.
“I’m just a guy getting up on stage and messing around for an hour.
“I never started doing stand-up comedy to change people’s attitudes or anything, it was just because I enjoyed it.”
A lot of Ridley’s material centres on disability, and on the voice.
“That’s what I have most experience of; I’ve got 38 years’ worth of material about my disability, so I’d be silly not to use it.
“Our government has a weird relationship with disabled people.
“We are either seen as superhuman or as some sort of burden.
“We seem to be putting disabled people into two groups, the super crips and the feeble crips.
“And that’s a dangerous game to play, because it suggests to the rest of society that some disabled people aren’t as worthy of attention and support as others.”
Little Britain star Matt Lucas is a huge fan, and Ridley adds: “I think humour definitely helped me cope with everything when I was growing up, and it still helps today.
“If I didn’t laugh at my situation, I’d most definitely cry.”
Grand Theatre: Britain’s Got Talent Comedy Special: Lost Voice Guy, Mandy Muden and Robert White with MC Tony Vino.
Friday, September 20. 01200 421599, www.thegrandvenue.co.uk