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Janey Godley
Janey Godley at the BAFTA film awards, London, February 2008
Birth name Janey Currie
Born 20 January 1961 (1961-01-20) (age 49)
Shettleston, Glasgow, Scotland
Nationality United Kingdom Britiish
Notable works and roles Autobiography Handstands in the Dark (2005). Stage show Good Godley! (2004).

Janey Godley (born 1961) is a Scottish stand-up comedian and writer. Her non-humorous autobiography Handstands in the Dark was a UK Top Ten bestseller[1][2] and she was a 2006 Scotswoman of The Year finalist.[3] She was a columnist for the Monday edition of The Scotsman newspaper 2007-2009.[4]


Early life and career

Brought up in Shettleston, Glasgow, Scotland, at the age of 18 she married into a Glasgow gangster family.[5] Her 2005 autobiography Handstands in the Dark describes working-class Glasgow in the years 1961-1994.

For 14 years, she ran a public house the Weavers Inn (formerly the Nationalist Bar[6], later the Calton Bar[7]) in the tough Calton area of Glasgow where she staged the first performances by comedian and magician Jerry Sadowitz.[8][9]

Later, she became a full-time stand-up herself, running comedy clubs including "Jesters" in Glasgow, and regularly compered at clubs in Glasgow, Manchester, and Liverpool. She played regular dates in the Netherlands and played in New York City.[10][11]

She was, for a time, a BBC Radio Five Live entertainment correspondent, reporting for former British MP, Edwina Currie's Currie Club show from London, New York, and New Zealand.

2002-2004 - First recognition

She first gained wider attention on her 2002 tour of New Zealand, where she won Best Show Concept at Television New Zealand’s TV2 International LAUGH! Festival.[12] At the same year’s New Zealand Comedy Guild Awards, she was nominated as Best International Guest and as Best Visiting Comedian.[12]

In August 2003, Godley's non-humorous one-woman play The Point of Yes about Glasgow's heroin problem in the 1980s was premiered at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and, according to the BBC, her Fringe comedy show Caught in the Act of Being Myself was "hotly tipped" as a Perrier Comedy Award nominee.[13]

In April 2004, she started writing her daily on-line blog on the Chortle comedy website; it continues today on her own website. In May 2004, Stuck in The Middle a BBC Radio 4 documentary series on relationships to which she contributed won a gold at the Sony Radio Academy Awards.[14] In June, she performed at the Glastonbury Festival.

Throughout August, she performed her new 60-minute stand-up comedy show Good Godley! at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, winning 40 stars in reviews[15] and was again tipped for Perrier nomination.[16]

In October, she appeared for a fortnight on the daily Channel 4/E4 (channel) reality show Kings of Comedy.[17] In December, she performed Good Godley! at the Soho Theatre in the West End of London and contributed to Channel 4's four-hour The 100 Greatest Christmas Moments.

2005 - Autobiography published

2005 hardback autobiography

In June 2005, she again performed at Glastonbury[11] and her non-humorous autobiography Handstands in the Dark was published in the UK and Ireland by Ebury Press, a division of Random House.[18] It told the story of her sexual abuse as a child between the ages of 5 and 13, the murder of her mother, Glasgow's heroin 'plague' of the 1980s and her troubled marriage amid a world of gangsters.

That same month, a revised version of The Point of Yes was staged at the Soho Theatre.[10] In August, she contributed to We're All Grown Ups Here, another radio documentary by Stuck in The Middle's Sony Award-winning producer Sara Conkey. Her new stand-up show Janey Godley is Innocent was staged throughout August's Edinburgh Fringe.

Other appearances included regular spots on BBC Radio 4 chat show Loose Ends both as interviewee and interviewer and a major profile/interview on award-winning Swedish TV Arts show Kobra [19] as well as contributions to the BBC TV documentary Scunnered [20] about the Scots dialect.

In December, she performed Janey Godley Is Innocent to 100 long-term prisoners (including lifers) inside Glenochil high security prison, Clackmannanshire[21][22]... and an extended two-hour version of the show at London's Cochrane Theatre. Her book Handstands in the Dark was voted a 'Best Read of 2005' by listeners of BBC Radio 4's Open Book series.[23]

2006 - Scotswoman of the Year nominee

In February, she performed at the Hackney Empire, London, in the five-hour Malcolm Hardee Memorial Show.[24]

In March, she started a video blog; and she performed Janey Godley - Unscripted! at the Glasgow Comedy Festival. She continued to be a regular on Loose Ends and on chat shows on various BBC channels.

In May, she performed Good Godley! at the ODDFELLOWS New Zealand International Comedy Festival; she won the Spirit of The Festival Award[25] and "Good Godley!" was nominated for Best International Show.

2006 paperback autobiography

In August, her autobiography was released in a paperback edition becoming a Sunday Times Top Ten bestseller[1][2] and she performed in 83 shows in 24 days[26] at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival including, each day, her three separate hour-long shows: her play The Point of Yes, her new stand-up show Janey Godley's Blog - Live! (premiered at London's Soho Theatre in June) and Square Street, a comedy sketch show co-written and co-performed with her daughter Ashley Storrie.[27]

In October, she was nominated as Scotswoman of The Year[28] in the 44th annual contest, reached the final six shortlist[3] and was runner-up. In November, she sang for charity on BBC1 Scotland's annual "Children in Need" appeal night[29] and blogged for Amnesty International[30]. In December, she was nominated by the New Zealand Comedy Guild as Best International Guest of 2006[31].

2007 - Starts Scotsman column

weekly page in The Scotsman

In March, she performed a one-off show Janey Godley - Live! at the Glasgow Comedy Festival[32] and began writing a weekly column for the Monday edition of The Scotsman newspaper.[4] In May she performed her play The Point of Yes in The Green Room at 45 Bleecker Street, Manhattan[33] and, in June, she performed at the Glastonbury Festival (her third consecutive appearance - there was no Festival in 2006). In August, she appeared in two daily shows throughout the Edinburgh Fringe Festival: Janey Godley - Tell It Like It Is! at the Pleasance Dome and Janey Godley's Chat Show[34] at The Green Room (a sister venue to the New York theater); both shows received 5-star reviews.[35] During the year, she performed in her show Good Godley! at various venues around Scotland as well as Belfast, Toronto[36] and off-Broadway in New York.[33][37]

2008 - Awards

In February, Janey received the annual Fringe Report Award as Best Performer on the London Fringe.[38] In March, she won the annual Edinburgh WAG of the Year Award as best after-dinner speaker.[39] In April, Time Out, London, readers voted her No 3 in their list of Top Ten comedians.[40] She performed Domestic Godley throughout the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August; it won as 'Best Show' at the Funny Women Fringe Awards[41] and Janey won the 'Best Stand-Up Award[42] as funniest woman on the Fringe and "one of the most prolific and extraordinary stand-up comedians working in the UK".[43] In November, she was nominated as Best International Guest of the year by the New Zealand Comedy Guild.[44]

2009 - BBC Drama Series

In January, she appeared as a psychic in the BBC1 Scotland TV drama series River City,[45] the first time she had acted in a full-length drama not written by herself. She performed Domestic Godley throughout the New Zealand International Comedy Festival in May and was, for the fourth time, nominated as Best International Guest by the New Zealand Comedy Guild.[46] Her new show Godley's World ran throughout the Edinburgh Fringe in August.

Social involvement

Godley ran comedy workshops at the 2001 London Comedy Festival. After the 2003 Edinburgh Fringe, as well as continuing her stand-up work, she was commissioned by the Scottish Health Board and several local Scottish councils' social service departments to perform her play The Point of Yes to housing associations in 'problem areas', to drug forums around southern Scotland and to the inmates of Shotts prison in North Lanarkshire.[47]

She was also commissioned by a Scottish Drug Forum to run comedy workshops for 15 -18 year olds and drama workshops for recovering heroin addicts, using their own experiences as inspiration.[47] In 2004, 2006 and 2007, she ran 'Confidence in Kids' comedy workshops in Glasgow and, for Equity, a comedy industry workshop at the 2005 Edinburgh Fringe.

One of her paintings was sold[48] at Arthur Smith's award-winning[49] Arturant Exhibition at the Edinburgh Fringe in August 2007,[50] with the money going to two charities: the Justice For Gordon Gentle campaign and the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD UK). In October 2007, she auctioned off another painting in aid of The Samaritans[51][52] and, later that month, she became the Patron of Glasgow's DRCAF (the Dumbarton Road Corridor Addiction Forum).[53]



  • Godley, Janey (hardback, 2005). Handstands in the Dark. Ebury Press/Random House. ISBN 0091900298 / ISBN 978-0091900298
  • Godley, Janey (paperback, 2006). Handstands in the Dark. Ebury Press/Random House. ISBN 0091908779 / ISBN 978-0091908775

Stage: full-length shows

  • 2002 - Full Measure of Scotch
  • 2003 - Caught in the Act of Being Myself
  • 2003 - The Point of Yes
  • 2004 - Good Godley!
  • 2005 - Janey Godley Is Innocent
  • 2006 - Janey Godley and Ashley Storrie's Square Street
  • 2006 - Janey Godley's Blog - Live!
  • 2006 - Janey Godley - Unscripted!
  • 2007 - Janey Godley - Live!
  • 2007 - Janey Godley - Tell It Like It Is!
  • 2007 - Janey Godley's Chat Show
  • 2008 - Janey Godley - Live & Unleashed!
  • 2008 - Domestic Godley[54]
  • 2009 - Godley's World

Newspaper interviews


  1. ^ a b "Sunday Times Bestseller List, 13 August 2006". London. 
  2. ^ a b "Sunday Times Bestseller List, 20 August 2006". London. 
  3. ^ a b Glasgow Evening Times, 13 October 2006
  4. ^ a b "The Scotsman". 
  5. ^ "Scotsman, 15 June 2005". 
  6. ^ "Scotsman, 15 July 2006". 
  7. ^ News of the World, 12 March 2006
  8. ^ Daily Record, 13 February 2004
  9. ^ Time Out, 30 June-7 July 2004
  10. ^ a b "Observer, 12 June 2005".,,1504549,00.html. 
  11. ^ a b Sunday Post, 26 June 2005
  12. ^ a b Scotland on Sunday, 22 August 2004
  13. ^ "BBC News, 20th August 2003". 20 August 2003. Retrieved 5 January 2010. 
  14. ^ "Sony Radio Academy Awards 2004 winners". 
  15. ^ Reviews cited from August 2004 with date of review following title are 5 stars (Fest magazine, 16th) + 4 stars (Edinburgh Evening News, 12th; Glasgow Herald, 24th; The Scotsman, 12th; Three Weeks, 15th;, 8th;, 15th) + 3 stars (Guardian, 28th; Metro, 18th; Financial Times) + 2 stars (The List)
  16. ^ "BBC website, 20th August 2004". 
  17. ^ "Chortle, UK comedy industry website, 6 February 2005". 
  18. ^ "Random House listing". 
  19. ^ "Swedish TV "Kobra" programme, 26 October 2005". 
  20. ^ "BBC TV "Scunnered" programme, 22 August 2006". 
  21. ^ "Guardian, 17 December 2005".,,1668324,00.html#article_continue. 
  22. ^ "Sunday Times magazine, 19th February 2006". London. 
  23. ^ "BBC Radio 4 "Open Book" list". 
  24. ^ "Chortle comedy industry website review, 6 February 2006". 
  25. ^ "NZ Comedy Festival Award List". 
  26. ^ Glasgow Evening Times Diary, 15 September 2006
  27. ^ "Daily Telegraph, 10 September 2006". 
  28. ^ Glasgow Evening Times, 10 October 2006
  29. ^ Glasgow Herald, 7 December 2006
  30. ^ "Amnesty website, 25 November 2006". 
  31. ^ Glasgow Evening Times, 8 December 2006
  32. ^ "Scotsman review, 10 March 2007". 
  33. ^ a b "The Scotsman, 21st May 2007". 
  34. ^ "List of Chat Show guests". 
  35. ^ Glasgow Herald, 8th August 2007 +, 9th August 2007.
  36. ^ "The Scotsman, 19th November 2007". 
  37. ^ "Time Out, New York, 24th May 2007". 
  38. ^ "Fringe Report awards page". 
  39. ^ Sunday Morning with Citizen Tommy, Talk107 Radio, 16 March 2008
  40. ^ "Time Out, London, 24th April 2008". 
  41. ^ "Stage, 15th August 2008". 
  42. ^ "Funny Women Awards Page, August 2008". 
  43. ^ "Chortle, 12th August 2008". 
  44. ^ "Theatre Review, New Zealand, 24th November 2008". 
  45. ^ "The Scotsman, 5th January 2009". 
  46. ^ "Theatrereview New Zealand, 21st December 2009". 
  47. ^ a b Glasgow Evening Times, 11 August 2006
  48. ^ "The Scotsman, 20 August 2007". 
  49. ^ "Observer, 26 August 2007".,,2156665,00.html. 
  50. ^ "Edinburgh Fringe press release, 27 August 2007". 
  51. ^ "The Samaritans website, October 2007". 
  52. ^ The Scotsman, 1 October 2007
  53. ^ "The Scotsman, 29 October 2007". 
  54. ^ "Godley website". 

External links

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