Without wanting to make a sweeping generalisation, throughout history, entertainment has forever struggled to fairly represent disability and diversity in our society and despite priding ourselves on being an inclusive society, it’s the one area that entertainment has slightly fallen behind in. Yet in recent years there has been somewhat of a significant sea change in comedy and Light Entertainment which has helped to shine a light on diversity like never before. It’s difficult to pinpoint a defining moment which was the catalyst for such a positive revolution but when Channel Four secured the license for the London 2012 Paralympic Games this was heralded as a breakthrough in entertainment. This spawned the entertainment series The Last Leg presented by Australian comedian and amputee Adam Hills and fellow comedian and amputee Alex Brooker alongside Devonshire’s own Josh Widdicombe. This paved the way for more disabled comedians to join the circuit and in the subsequent years comedy forged to go to places where it never went before.
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Writer and comedian Lee Ridley had always had his sights firmly set on a career in comedy yet having cerebral palsy from birth made this seem almost impossible. Relying on sign language as his predominant method of communication didn’t lend itself to being able to entertain an audience. Yet the adoption of an iPad would change everything for Lee and promptly put him on the path to success. In 2014 he won the prestigious BBC New Comedy Award which gained him notoriety amongst comedy circles and pushed his career on. By this time Lee had already been lucky enough to support fellow Geordie Ross Noble on his UK tour following correcting him on his inaccurate impression of Stephen Hawking. As a huge fan of the long haired comedy powerhouse, touring with Ross Noble was a great achievement and invaluable experience for the upcoming comedian.
In 2017 Lee Ridley now preferred to be known as his stage name Lost Voice Guy as he had his sights firmly set on world domination. One day his agent recommended that he should audition for the heavyweight Britain’s Got Talent following the subtle change in attitude toward reality television amongst the comedy fraternity. Merely as a result of the original manner in which he delivers his material, Lee realised that this opportunity could be extremely fruitful and he wasn’t wrong! Yet of course the other and more important reason for auditioning was to meet fellow Geordies Ant and Dec. Sunday 3rd June 2018 was the best night in the comedian’s career as Lost Voice Guy reigned victorious as the twelfth winner of the Reality series. This transformed Lee from a jobbing Stand Up comedian to a recognised household name and a spot at that year’s Royal Variety was assured.
Performing at The Royal Variety Performance was a real honour for Lee after he successfully managed not to swear in front of Harry and Megan. This success led to his critically acclaimed nationwide tour I’m Only In It For The Parking which has spanned the later half of 2019. Now in demand from both comedy bookers and TV producers, there’s so much in the pipeline for one of the most exciting performers on the comedy circuit. It was a great pleasure to meet and interview Lee Ridley aka Lost Voice Guy and it’s exciting to see where his unique comedy journey will take him next.