Comedians draw the crowds at Newcastle Gateshead Comedy Festival

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CHARACTER traits of Britons came under the spotlight last night as part of the Newcastle Gateshead Comedy Festival.

Held at the Sage Gateshead, the week-long festival ended on a high last night with headline act Craig Campbell.

Sponsored by Parkers Chauffeurs – who received more than a passing comment from Craig – the evening kicked off with support act The Lost Voice Guy, alias Lee Ridley, who won the crowd over immediately.

Born with cerebral palsy, complications at birth meant he was physically unable to speak, but fortunately technology has helped Lee to overcome this communication barrier, and the comedian now uses an iPad app which enables him to ‘speak’ phrases.

Lee is a truly laugh-out-loud comedian, who had the female members of the audience in hysterics as he read out an extract of Fifty Shades of Grey, and wondered why he wasn’t chosen for the audiobook voiceover role.

Unlike anything I have ever seen before, he goes someway to proving that disablity doesn’t need to mean you miss out from doing what you love.

But above all else, this guy is, quite simply, very funny.

Headliner Craig Campbell didn’t waste a moment of time on stage delivering side-splittingly funny travel anecdotes about weather, car crashes while wearing sleeping bags and eating melted toblerones, and his penchant for saunas – usually with highly entertaining consequences.

The Canadian Jesus lookalike was a huge hit with the audience, as he told hilarious stories about Britons being the only race to turn down people wanting to make a purchase, refusing to use snow tyres and then having the audacity to complain about the weather, and a fear of change.

But it was a story about his trek up a mountain that got the biggest laughs of the night – none of which I can repeat.

I don’t think he paused for breath the entire night, but he was definitely a comedian I would love to see again.

Both Lee and Craig are heading to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival next month and I urge you to check them out if you get the chance. Two top comics on fine form.

TEGAN CHAPMAN