INTERVIEW: Lost Voice Guy | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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After being crowned the winner of Britain’s Got Talent, it’s fair to say that Consett-born Lee Ridley’s life has been full of craziness. From dancing with Paul Chuckle at the Royal Variety Performance to writing his own Radio 4 sitcom, entitled Ability, the comedian’s life has been full of extremes he could never have expected, which all makes perfect fodder for his new show Cerebral LOL-sy.

With an inspiring confidence, Ridley’s routines have always plucked from his experiences and hardships. Even his stage name, Lost Voice Guy, is a not-so-subtle nod to the automated voice he uses on his iPad to speak. “Humour helped me cope with everything when I was growing up and it still helps me today, I’ve always liked to make people laugh and as long as I was laughing at myself, it meant nobody else could.” With his routines discussing his struggles with cerebral palsy, the day to day of navigating social media or “sending dirty messages to my blind girlfriend”, his act strives to make experiences many of us don’t face seem human and accessible. “People forget about the disability and treat me as another comic who messes around on stage for a living, people now seem more comfortable talking to a disabled person. It’s nice being stared at for positive reasons.” 

I’ve always liked to make people laugh and as long as I was laughing at myself, it meant nobody else could

While making an impact and interacting with people is the crux of Ridley’s act, his new show takes aim at the dark world of internet trolls. Never one to be defeated, the comedian sees the funny side, quipping: “One Tweet I received said, ‘well done on finding the easiest way to do comedy. You can just write stuff on your laptop, and get that to remember it and say it for you’. Of course, he is right. Can you imagine how hard my life would be, if I could actually talk? It just doesn’t bear thinking about. I’d have to remember how to say words, remember how to form sentences, remember all my jokes. Clearly by choosing to be disabled, I have taken the easy way out. And, for that, I’m truly sorry!”

Mentioning his frustration around his “posh sounding” automated voice, he was delighted when a company called CereProc approached him to design a Geordie accent for his communication machine. “I’ve always wanted a Geordie accent. I don’t think my current voice represents where I am from. And It isn’t exactly the voice that I would have had, if I wasn’t disabled. But creating a Geordie accent isn’t a simple thing to do. Because of the new technology involved, it costs quite a lot to create one, and it’s quite a long process. So when CereProc, who have lots of experience in creating voices, approached me offering to make me a Geordie accent, I jumped at the opportunity.  And, of course, most ladies love a Geordie accent.”

Having previously played the Royal Variety Show, the comedian sees his upcoming tour as a welcome change of pace. “I’ll definitely be naughtier on my tour, Harry and Meghan might have had me locked in the Tower of London! Playing in front of Royalty is great and everything, but I definitely think my jokes land better when I can swear in them!”

Lost Voice Guy performs Cerebral LOL-sy at Alnwick Playhouse on Tuesday 8th, The Witham, Barnard Castle on Wednesday 16th, The Forum in Northallerton on Wednesday 23rd March, and Tyne Theatre & Opera House, Newcastle on Saturday 28th May.

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