Lost Voice Guy: Inspiration Porn

Delivering an important message through incredibly dark humour, Lost Voice Guy brings back the humanity to an increasingly marginalised group.

Lost Voice Guy: Inspiration Porn

I’ll start this review by being one of those people - I’d seen Lost Voice Guy before he was famous. Back in 2013 he was performing the Free Fringe, sharing a stage with Emily Wood in a pokey room out the back of Bar 50. Even back then he showed exceptional promise. Since then his career has really exploded, most recently with his win of Britain’s Got Talent. 

For those who hadn’t watched Britain’s Got Talent (there are some of us out there), Lost Voice Guy - real name Lee Ridley - has cerebral palsy and stands on stage with an iPad, triggering pre-written prompts spoken out in a ‘posh old white man’ Voice. He’s in no way reserved about his disability, and will often make self-deprecating jokes about his condition, before admonishing you for laughing at a disabled person.

It was obvious he hadn’t expected to win, having booked a small 50-seater room at the top of the Gilded Balloon months beforehand. The show was, inevitably, sold out, and I settled in as best I could to see what five years has done to his routine. The show starts with the Channel 4 Paralympics advert, showing the fantastic feats of human performance that these disabled athletes can achieve, before promptly being cut off. 

We were warned, although it was already exceptionally apparent, that this was not going to be the same cutesy performance that viewers watched on the TV, and Ridley is exceptionally liberal with his swearing.

Nothing was off limits either. He talked about life as a disabled person, and his frustration at the Channel 4 advert painting disabled people as ‘superheroes’, which he believes only punches down at those who can’t perform feats of extraordinary athleticism. He has even created a game show that absolutely will never get commissioned. Not even by Channel 5.

While it was the dating scene that served as the underlying theme of his show, it was his critique of the Government and their atrocious attitude towards disabled people that perhaps resonated best with audiences. While he will brush it off as a joke, and say he doesn’t want to inspire you, only the inhuman can hear about the behaviour and policies of the Conservatives and not want to inspire change. He stated that last year, 90 people a week died because they were deemed fit for work. 

After such a strong start the show did begin to sag in the middle, and the jokes became slightly predictable. The shock factor of Ridley saying the taboo had worn off, and it wasn’t until the last 15 minutes that he found renewed vigour. By talking about how insecurities over his worth caused him to self-sabotage his relationship, he lulled the audience into a sense of security, resetting their taste so his more outrageous jokes shocked all over again. 

Inspirational is not the word I’d use for this show. Firstly, he doesn’t want to serve as your inspiration porn, but equally, it wasn’t inspiring. It was funny, clever, shocking, and infuriating. The stories he tells, and the light he shines on the obstacles still present to disabled people, are appalling, and we could and should all do better to stop this heartless and immoral Government.


Gilded Balloon @ 16:00

For tickets and more information visit the Ed Fringe website.

Author

Tom Inniss

Tom Inniss Voice Team

Tom is the Editor of Voice. He is a politics graduate and holds a masters in journalism, with particular interest in youth political engagement and technology. He is also a mentor to our Voice Contributors, and champions our festivals programme, including the reporter team at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe..

Recent posts by this author

View more posts by Tom Inniss

0 Comments

Post A Comment

You must be signed in to post a comment. Click here to sign in now

You might also like

Why is there no representation of black people in the arts?

Why is there no representation of black people in the arts?

by Nedine Luke

Read now