The ‘Lost Voice Guy’ Can’t Speak On His Own. Here’s How He Won ‘Britain’s Got Talent.’

“By the end, hopefully they just see another guy telling jokes.

Britain's Got Talent contender Lee "Lost Voice Guy" Ridley just became the first comedian to ever win the competition. But his sense of humor isn't the only reason this 37-year-old has become a bona fide winner — he's also earning praise for his ability to defy social stigma. You see, Lost Voice Guy has cerebral palsy, which leaves him unable to speak. Thanks to his voice synthesizer, however, Ridley can bring his jokes to the masses, including the 8.7 million viewers who watched the finale alone.

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After the results were announced, Ridley used the synthesizer to say "I have been blown away by the support of the judges and the general public."

Along with becoming the reigning champion, Ridley will also receive £250,000 in prize money and the opportunity to perform at the Royal Variety Performance.

"I'm very excited to perform in front of the Queen," he added. "I've loved her since she sang 'Bohemian Rhapsody.'"

"People often ask me why I want to put myself in the position where everyone can stare and laugh at me," he said during his audition. "The truth is, it happens every day anyway. At least this time there's a time and a place for it."

In recent years, as his website notes, "he has gigged all over the UK at places like The Stand, Manford's Comedy Club, Jongleurs, The Frog and Bucket, The Glee Club, The Comedy Store, as well as many independent clubs." Ridley also won the BBC New Comedy Award 2014 and has been commissioned to write a sitcom for BBC Radio 4, entitled Ability. Now, Ridley's gained an even greater audience, as his BGT performances have gained international attention, thereby increasing visibility for disabled persons everywhere in the process.

According to an article by The Independent from 2014, Ridley was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at 6 months old and played his first comedy show in 2012. "It was my mate who suggested that comedy might be a good idea," he told Alicia Jones. "I couldn't see how it would work, but I'd always enjoyed stand up, though, so the idea stuck in the back of my head. Eventually, I decided to give it a try because I knew I'd regret if it I didn't."

"I play on my disability on purpose to take away some of the stigma and to show people that it's alright to laugh," he added. "So I think that helps get people on my side. By the end, hopefully they just see another guy telling jokes."

Now, however, the "struggling stand-up comedian who also struggles to stand up" has found his footing. "When I am performing, it's as if I have finally found my voice — and it's a great feeling making people laugh," he said after his momentous win. Here's hoping that his unique voice also helps to amplify the thoughts and feelings of other disabled people who, in fact, aren't nearly as different as society tends to believe.

To learn more about Ridley's life and career, visit LostVoiceGuy.com.

Cover image via Ezra Comeau-Jeffrey / Unsplash

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