Lee Ridley, aka Lost Voice Guy, has cerebral palsy, which for him means he has a lack of speech. From a comedy point of view, this has allowed him to confront the stigma surrounding disability from an angle that is far more interesting for audiences to see. His blasé approach to the attitudes of others towards his disability, teamed with his dark sense of humour, makes for a deliciously funny combination. Lee is performing at The Stand throughout August.
1) What excites you most about the Edinburgh Festival?
I think the thing I actually enjoy most about the festival is the fact that I get to hang out with all my comedy mates for a month. Because you only see each other every few months on the circuit, it’s pretty nice to have everyone all in one place for a change! I know I should probably say that the thought of performing to hundreds of people excites me, and of course it does, but I enjoy the social side of the festival just as much.
2) What was your first Edinburgh show about?
My first ever Edinburgh show was called Voice Of Choice, and it was basically a biographical show about my life so far, and how I ended up being a comedian despite not being able to speak. That was five years ago but I’m still quite proud of the show.
3) Does your comedy attract a certain type of audience?
I’m not sure really. Because I’m disabled and I talk about disability issues a lot, I do think that I get a lot of disabled people coming to my gigs (if they can access the venue anyway…). But other than that, I haven’t really noticed a certain type of person turning up. I seem to attract all sorts, which I think is a good thing.
4) What is the worst experience you’ve had with Edinburgh accommodation?
It might not be strictly to do with Edinburgh accommodation in the normal sense, but I was stuck in a hospital bed for three weeks during my first year at the Fringe. Basically I got pneumonia about two weeks into my run so I had to stay in an Edinburgh hospital bed while everyone else was packing up and going home. That was quite a nightmare!
5) What is your most treasured memory of your comedy career so far?
It would have to be when I supported Ross Noble at The Stand in Newcastle. Not only is Ross my comedy idol, but Newcastle’s Stand is my favourite venue to play. So to have both of those things together was awesome. It was definitely a dream come true.
6) What show will you definitely be seeing at the festival this year?
I’m a massive fan of Gein’s Family Giftshop so I’m looking forward to seeing what they have in store for us this year. Hopefully it’ll be something very dark and very wrong.
7) What do you hope to gain from the Edinburgh Festival this year?
I think a better question would be what would I hope not to lose. I’d quite like not to lose thousands of pounds, but I doubt I’ll get that wish! To be fair, I’m with The Stand who really look after their acts, so it isn’t as bad as it could be. If I can break even I’ll be very happy.
8) What do you imagine your last ever show will be about?
Imagine if medicine had advanced so much that they actually found a way to give me my voice back, and my last show was just me telling jokes with my own voice like any other comedian. That would be both amazing and devastating at the same time. I mean I’d be able to talk, but I wouldn’t have an unique selling point anymore!