Lee Ridley - Inspiration, a Double-Edged Sword?By Hayley Muckle -
Lost Voice Guy – Lee Ridley
Inspiration is everywhere you go; you just have to look for it. Britain’s Got Talent has certainly done that, in finding the legend that is Lee Ridley AKA Lost Voice Guy.
Lee Ridley is an English, stand-up comedian, he has cerebral palsy and can’t speak. Ridley uses the automated voice on his iPad to make the whole room roar with laughter. He is the first stand-up comedian in Britain to use a communication aid in his routines, how amazing is that.
The I Word
For Lee, being inspiring can be a bit of an issue, he is not comfortable with the I word as he does not feel or see himself as an inspiration. He said that he’s just a guy getting up on stage and messing around for an hour. He isn’t doing it to change people’s opinions or attitudes but simply because he enjoys it.
This is, what Ridley’s last Edinburgh show was all about. It was called “Inspirational Porn” because that’s what it is. In an Interview with the Guardian Lee said: “It’s the rest of society getting off on seeing disabled people achieve something and making themselves feel good. 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.”
He is very much turning heads and changing perceptions about disability, and the Government aren’t being left out of the firing line, Lee Ridley told the Guardian that: “Our government has a very weird relationship with disabled people. 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.”
And the Winner is… Lost Voice Guy
Of course, winning Britain’s Got Talent has massively changed Ridley’s life. He’s busier than ever and has just set off on a 10-week tour. And the question on everyone’s lips... what have you done with the money? He stated in an interview that he still has most of it, but he has treated his family and friends a lot, in particular he has just booked a family holiday!
And they’re going to Yorkshire! You’re wondering why right? He explained this was because his niece is still quiet young, but could it be accessibility issues too? Lee hasn’t been away with his family since he was about 17. Ridley is now 38. Just to let you know Lee (if your reading), you are welcome on a Limitless trip anytime!
Jokes on Jokes
But at least Lee can take it all as a joke, in fact a lot of Ridley’s material centres on disability, and on the voice. This is what he has had most experience with, he has 38 years’ worth of material about his disability, so why not use it! He told the guardian: “I think humour definitely helped me cope with everything when I was growing up, and it still helps today. If I didn’t laugh about my situation, I’d most definitely cry.”
You’re our Inspiration
Limitless Travellers do not want to undermine Lee Ridley when we say he is inspiring. In fact, he is inspiring for a completely different reason to what you would think; not because he can make us laugh, but because eloquently says all the things that the disabled community would want to say. But they simply don’t have the popularity or the platforms to get the point across. So thank you Lee, but unfortunately, you’re not going to get away from the I word anytime soon.
For more influential disabled people, try our blog on disabled model:Tess Daly.