Ray Bradshaw, a comedic force to be reckoned with, brings laughter to life in a way that transcends traditional stand-up. Hailing from Glasgow, this talented comedian has not only mastered the art of humour but has also broken new ground by being the first deaf comedian to perform in British Sign Language (BSL). His unique perspective and witty observations illuminate stages worldwide, proving that comedy knows no bounds. What sets Bradshaw apart is not just his ability to tickle funny bones, but his trailblazing show, ‘Deaf Comedy Fam’, which has earned him acclaim and admiration. Bradshaw shared his experiences of growing up with deaf parents, offering a window into a world that many may not have explored. The show is not just a comedy act; it’s a journey through Ray’s life, bridging the gap between the deaf and hearing communities with laughter as the universal language.
What can you tell us about your new show ‘Doppelginger’?
It’s about a bald ginger man (me) trying to find other bald ginger men who look really like him. Purely for comedy purposes, not some weird tinder fetish game gone horribly wrong. Although there are probably some people that would be into that and if that’s you then please buy a ticket for the show because any ticket sale counts as far as I’m concerned.
What inspired you to find other people that look like yourself?
I’m on the hunt to find as many bald ginger people that look like me as I can. I’m constantly being told I look like ‘insert bald ginger person here’ but I want to be able to say, ‘no I actually look like this person here’ and be able to show them a picture of me and someone who looks identical to me called Mark who is an accountant from Ipswich. (Mark doesn’t actually exist but if you are a bald ginger accountant from Ipswich, please submit your photo to www.doppelginger.net)
How does this search feed into the live show which you’ll be bringing to our area?
The whole show is going to be about finding people that look like me and the weird things that arise from it. Hopefully there will be some bald ginger people in the audience that don’t even know what the show is about and have just been brought there by an evil partner. The whole show will just turn into an episode of Surprise Surprise for them where I play Cilla Black. (with a wig obviously).
Are there any surprises audiences can expect on this tour? Will there still be elements of sign language in this show?
The whole show will be sign language interpreted at every venue. My mum and dad are deaf and I grew up learning sign language so that’s a big part of every show I do as I want as big a deaf audience as possible. I love having deaf audiences in my show and have them heckle me in sign language only for me to tell the audience what they signed to me and then have the deaf person deny it so I look like I’m picking on them. You’d be surprised how often that happens.
Have you always wanted to be a comedian?
Not really, I wanted to find my doppelginger from an early age but started a long career in comedy as a way of working up to it.
What are you most looking forward to about touring?
I have a four-year-old son so the best thing about being on tour is the long lies! Getting up at 8:15 in Bristol feels like I’m on a tropical island holiday compared to 7am on a dark Glaswegian morning like usual. That’s the main one but the gigs are pretty good too. Just not as good as not waking up to a 4-year-old shouting ‘daddy I need a poo’.
What do you spend your time doing outside of gigging?
When I’m not gigging, I’m usually getting made fun of by my son. He thinks the fact I’m bald is so funny and constantly asks me where I’ve left my hair. The other day we were in soft play and he made me feel the oldest I’ve ever felt: We were playing hide and seek and after shouting ‘ready or not’ he found me in about eight seconds.
I asked him how he had found me so quickly and he just replied, ‘when you crouched down I heard your knees crack’. I felt about 100 years old.
What would you regard as the highlight of your career or your fondest memory?
There have been a few where I look back and think, did that really happen? I got to support John Bishop at Wembley arena and at the O2 and bring all my friends and family. They were a lot of fun but the hangovers the next day were not. I think the thing I’m most proud of is all the deaf members of my last two tours that have come to their first ever comedy show or first time visiting a theatre. That’s a huge high point for me or at least it was until I found out they’d all bought concession tickets and I’d lost a lot of money.
If you had to choose a line-up of comedians to come on tour with you or for a special one night only all-star comedy show, alive or dead who would you pick?
I’d go for me, Billy Connolly, Bernie Mac and Victoria Wood. It would be an amazing show and I’m the least rich of them all so I wouldn’t have to put my hand in my pocket at the post show drinks. Win win.