I n AprilLee Ridley wrote an to his parents and sister. Mostly, though, he felt he had reached a crossro. When it comes down to it, I just want to do the best that I can and make you proud of me. Love you lots, Lee xxx. Ridley was quitting the council for comedy — writing and performing, which he does under the stage name Lost Voice Guy. He uses the automated voice on his iPad — think self-service checkout, cashier No 4 please, Guy talking Hawking … it plays a big part in his act.
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Three years after thatRidley was on stage at the Hammersmith Apollo, playing to a packed house and a TV audience of millions. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, and millions watching at home.
What has he done with the money, I ask him. He arrived in a taxi from the north of the city, where he lives on his own.
A carer comes in a couple of times a day to help out with stuff. There must be better ones now. I quickly get guy talking to it.
He types using just the index finger of his left hand, ignoring the suggestions that pop up when the iPad knows — or thinks it knows — what Ridley is saying. It distracts him, he says. Edinburgh is not a good place for a standup comedian to be shit.
He came to school in Newcastle, the Percy Hedley school for children with additional needs. Was he always funny?
Ep guy maestri
I was always being told off for not being serious. He has a loud laugh? I ed a few questions over beforehand to speed up the process.
But, sitting down with Ridley, they seem like boring, obvious questions, and I want to ask him other stuff. Everyone asks what Simon Cowell is like, even Prince Harry did.
Lee ridley, lost voice guy: ‘it’s quite ironic if i’m the voice of the disabled’
Answer: a pussycat, once you get to know guy talking. Do people assume he knows a lot about black holes, and is it OK to ask that? Ridley went to a Ross Noble gig where the comedian did a Stephen Hawking impression. Later, at the stage door, Ridley challenged Noble to a Hawking-off — who could do the best impression. It got him thinking about things: jokes, comedy, those kinds of things.
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Ridley is a fan of Noble, for his quick wit and randomness. And of The League of Gentlemen for their darkness. He tells guy talking about a game he played in his last show called Play Your Crips Right that might not have made it on to primetime TV. For the first time, guy talking seem comfortable talking to a disabled person. And what does he think his victory will have meant for other disabled performers? We seem to be putting disabled people into two groups, the super crips and the feeble crips.
He is very much including the government in this.
Black guy white guy talking
We are either seen as superhuman or as some sort of burden. We are encouraged to go out and do our best to succeed, on the one hand, while the other hand takes away the ability for us to live independently at all. Some of it he has already written, for my pre-cooked questions, then just pressed the button.
And we had a couple of exchanges afterwards. Our time together was over ridiculously quickly.
We did manage to talk about football he supports the Magpies, in spite of being from the wrong side of the Tyne. The iPad is interesting. Ridley can steer his show, navigating through about five hours of material. Does he ever hit the wrong button? But Ridley goes along with my puerilism.
Was that a laugh? Not loud, more like a little chuckle.
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Lost Voice Guy is currently touring Britain. Sam Wollaston.