A STAND-UP comic who cannot speak has landed his dream gig supporting his comedy hero.
Born with cerebral palsy, council worker Lee Ridley does not have a voice of his own.
But that hasn’t stopped the 31-year-old from wowing crowds across the country with his sharp stand-up routines.
Now Lee, an online content manager for Sunderland City Council, has been offered a support slot with surreal North East comic Ross Noble.
County Durham-born Lee takes to the stage with his iPad as the self-titled Lost Voice Guy and uses a special text-to-speech App called Speak It!
Lee said it was an “honour” to be personally offered a support spot by Noble – one of the UK’s top comedians.
“I’ve been a big fan of Ross Noble for many years now. He’s probably one of the reasons I tried stand-up comedy in the first place,” he said.
“He’s been a massive influence on me. When he personally asked me to be his warm-up act for his gig at The Stand, I nearly exploded with excitement.
“It’s such an honour to be warming up for him and to know that he must have been impressed enough with my material to ask me in the first place.
“I’m sure I’ll be nervous knowing that one of my heroes is watching me but I should be OK.”
But the up-and-coming comedian does not intend to give up the day job.
He said: “It’s quite tiring trying to juggle the day job with the comedy. Thankfully, the council has been very supportive though, so that makes it easier.
“Obviously, I have to arrange my gigs around my work but luckily most of my gigs are at weekends anyway. It gets hectic sometimes but I’m managing so far.”
After playing his first gig at Mission in Sunderland earlier this year, Lee has been in demand at comedy clubs around the UK.
This month he made his debut at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, where his one-liners about disability and politics have won over audiences.
Two planned shows at the City Cafe turned into three after comedy lovers rushed to snap up tickets.
Lee can be seen at the City Cafe in Edinburgh on Wednesday and on September 11 at The Stand in Newcastle with Ross Noble.
For tour dates and more information, see www.lostvoiceguy.com or Twitter @lostvoiceguy.