Ray Bradshaw is a ‘coda’ (like in the Oscar-winning film), growing up with deaf parents. All of his shows are performed in both BSL and English, with Deaf Comedy Fam the first ever live comedy experience for more than 800 deaf audience members.
The Scottish comedian spent 2021 and 2022 touring the UK as John Bishop’s handpicked support act, having previously toured with Frankie Boyle in 2019.
He was the first comedian to ever win a Scottish Culture Award and is a regular host of Scotland’s most popular radio show, Off the Ball.
He has performed sell out solo festival shows in Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Adelaide Fringe, and Melbourne International Comedy Festival to critical acclaim.
Following his groundbreaking 2018 show, Deaf Comedy Fam, Ray Bradshaw’s new stand-up show, Deaf Com 1, covers his recent fatherhood, teaching his young son sign language and a disastrous trip to Bahrain. This is a show not to be missed from one of the brightest and most exciting acts on the UK comedy circuit.
We caught up with Ray to find out which moments defined his life and career to date…
Me as a baby
Late 1989, Home
I grew up with deaf parents, so we had a lot of tech in our house to assist them; flashing doorbells and the like.
One thing we had was a microphone that would be placed into the cot and a cable would lead to a vibrating pad under my mum and dad's pillow so they would know we were crying. They said it worked for my brother and sister but not for me.
I would always wake up and it would say I was crying, but they’d come in and I’d be smiling and chatting away.
They filmed me one night and it turns out I’d realised there was a microphone in my cot and if I spoke into it someone would give me attention. And now that’s my job.
My first gig
April 2008, Liverpool
I did the classic trope of going to a comedy club drunk and then signing up to do it the following week. I was bricking it and hadn’t written any material until about two days before.
I remember all my jokes were about being ginger and Scottish, so now I’m bald I’ve lost 50% of them. I also turned up wearing a T-shirt with David Hasselhoff on it because I’m a legend/loser (delete as appropriate).
It was all a bit of a blur, but I remember straight away getting a laugh and almost becoming addicted to it.
After the gig someone came up to me and said they ran gigs elsewhere and handed me their card. It was for John West Salmon, where he worked. I took one look at it and thought, ‘Now I’m in showbiz, baby!’
A dreadful festival
June 2012, Leigh
I was the only comedian sandwiched between a Robbie Williams impersonator and a Freddie Mercury impersonator. I got there and found out it was just the same guy who put a fake moustache on between sets.
There was hardly anyone there and this was the first time I realised I would literally do any kind of gig to get stage time. And also that if I bought a fake moustache I could double my money in the future.
Deaf Comedy Fam
March 2017, The Stand, Glasgow
This was the day I became the first comedian in the world ever to perform a comedy show in English and Sign Language at the same time.
I really didn’t know how it was going to go and I thought it could be a disaster. It turned out alright in the end and it was one of the most enjoyable things I’ve ever done.
I spoke to three young deaf guys after the show who had travelled 90 miles to see the show as it was the first gig accessible to them.
That blew my mind and made me realise I could be rich from this. Then I found out deaf people pay concession prices.
I supported John Bishop on tour for 70 gigs in 2021 and 2022 after meeting him at Kendal Leisure Centre.* (*At a gig, not just accosting him in the middle of the sauna.)
We got to do so many cool theatres and arenas like the Hydro in Glasgow and the O2 in London.
The one that stands out is Wembley purely because of how mental a sentence that is to say. All my mates from school came down for it and it was just a great night.
It also came off the back of a terrible 18 months work wise because of Covid.
Exactly a year earlier on the same night, I’d been doing a drive in a car park comedy gig in Paisley so it was nice to feel like my career was on the rise again.
I also met Chesney Hawkes and tried to take a photo with him but somehow managed to take three separate one-second videos instead.
Book tickets tickets for Ray’s 2022 tour: mcintyre-ents.com