Comedian Uses Speak It! On iPad To Deliver Punch Lines


Lost Voice Guy

We at POTB recommend "Lost Voice Guy"!

(The Guardian)
June 6, 2012

SUNDERLAND, ENGLAND– [Excerpt provided by Inclusion Daily Express] A sense of apprehension fills the club as Lee Ridley, who has cerebral palsy and cannot speak, walks on stage. As he jabs at his iPad, awkward laughter trickles through the capacity crowd. Then, through a text-to-speech app called Speak It!, he tells the audience he'd like to begin by dealing with their laughter and the elephant in the room. "Don't worry about it," he says. "It's fine. It happens all the time and I'm used to it. You were thinking, 'Here comes another wanker with his iPad.'"

Ridley assures the crowd, at the Mission comedy club in Sunderland, that he is definitely disabled, though; it's not just "really good acting" and he's not drunk either — despite what embarrassed parents tell their children when they are asked "awkward questions" as he passes. He continues his set, mixing the abstract and the absurd with attacks on Cameron's welfare reform. There are anecdotal jokes as well as sharp one-liners and, although it doesn't define his routine, disability is a constant theme.

"When I realised I'd never be able to talk again," he says, "I was speechless." Sometimes the monotone, somewhat staccato delivery of his iPad adds to a punchline; occasionally it detracts. But the strength of his material shines through: he selects skits from a vast bank of recorded stuff depending on crowd reaction, yet also keys in "live" stuff off the cuff, too.

Durham-born Ridley, now 31, was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, which affects muscle control and movement, when he was just six months old, after becoming ill and falling into a coma. "It means I can't speak and my right side is weaker than my left. So I walk funny, too. I also developed epilepsy as a teenager. Obviously, I didn't have enough to cope with."

Entire article:
Lee Ridley: making comedy out of silence


Author: skuusisto

Poet, Essayist, Blogger, Journalist, Memoirist, Disability Rights Advocate, Public Speaker, Professor, Syracuse University

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