Scottish comedian Janey Godley has been described as “the most refreshing comedy talent to come out of Glasgow since Billy Connolly” and is preparing to pack up her soup pot to head out on the road in early 2020. We spoke to Jane recently about comedy, growing up in Glasgow and, obviously, her favourite type of soup.
1. Thank you for your time. The tour kicks off on Valentine’s Day next year, any romantic plans for the show or will it just be you and your soup pot ?
“[laughs] No, there are no romantic plans for the show, it’ll just be me and my soup pot. I think we’ve added a date now in Corby the day before so it doesn’t start on Valentine’s Day now, it’s starts the day before. I’ll be in Newport, Gwent on the fourteenth and I am just so excited to do the tour South of the border. That’s the one thing I want to achieve is to take the show down there and see how people react because I know in general they react very positively.”
2. If you weren’t doing a show on Valentine’s Day, what would your idea of a romantic date be ?
“My idea of a romantic, perfect date is just having my family together, my husband and I and our wee sausage dog Honey. I’ve got a wee sausage dog called Honey and, as we speak, I can see the reflection of her watching my husband as he is making us lunch and she’s like “this man is making me dinner”. Whoever feeds that dog is the one she loves the most.”
3. You’ve been described as the “most refreshing comedy talent to have risen from Glasgow since Billy Connolly”. As a comedian and a Scot how do you feel about that comparison given his legendary status ?
“He actually came to see me in New Zealand. Me and my daughter were there and he was doing AD for The Hobbit and he came to see the show. To look out from the stage and see your daughter sitting with Billy Connolly watching you do comedy, well, I can die now, that’s good enough! We still keep in touch and email each other. He’s a very generous of heart man and he’s also got a really good world view humans. There is something about him that seperates him from other men in their Seventies, he’s charismatic, he’s sexy and he can connect with young people the way other men of that age can’t. He’s beautiful and he’s very gifted in art – in music, he’s a storyteller, he’s a polymath and he’s got so much more there than just being the funny guy off the telly and for him to compliment me was just brilliant.”
4. Going back to your childhood in Glasgow, what was that like? Any funny stories you can tell us ?
“Growing up in Glasgow? It was like Iraq [laughs]. Okay, when I was a kid growing up in the Seventies during the Summer holidays we never had Snapchat or Whatsapp, we just screamed at each other across the street when we wanted attention. I distinctly remember going up to strangers houses and knocking on their doors and asking if I could take their babies out and they would give me their baby in a pram. I did that story in Birmingham the other week and not one person agreed with me. You’d ask to take people’s dogs out as well and they’d let you. It’s like there’s my child or my dog, just take them away from me. [laughs]”
5. So, what turned you on to comedy and what were your early days like as a Scottish comedian ?
“Well, I used to own a pub for fifteen years and I have my autobiography out “Handstands In The Dark” which came out about fifteen years ago. I have a very turbulent back story. I was abused as a child, my brother got HIV as a drug addict and then my ma was murdered and I took my Uncle to court and got him put in jail then I owned a pub for fifteen years. From there I thought “ooh, what I can I do nice now? I know comedy”. I know, it’s not a fertile ground for comedy – my brother was a drug addict, my ma was murdered and we were poor – nobody would think of comedy as the way to go [laughs].”
6. You look like the kind of person who can turn their hand to anything…
“I can. I’ve owned a pub. I’m an artist. I’m a writer. I’ve just written and starred in a short film and it’s won an award. I’ve just been at the premiere of the TV show I’m in where I play Martin Compsons lawyer. I was the actress who played the barmaid in Wild Rose. I wrote a play about heroin addiction and it went off Broadway. Out of all that shit, I’ve become a prolific storyteller which is the only way I can describe it.”
7. What is your favourite thing to do then ?
“Stand-up. People tell me I’m really good at acting and I’m a really good actress but I’m just saying what people wrote and told me to say. I’m writing a new book at the moment as I’ve just got a new book deal.”
8. When you head out on the road, what soup goes on your tour rider ?
“I like lentil soup. I’m not a fan of barley as it looks like dead baby mice. I’ll tell you what I don’t like and I’ve never told anyone this but I don’t like blended soup. It looks like people are eating baby food. I like proper chunky Scottish soup. It’s like in the last ten years people have started putting blenders into soup? Why? Can people not eat celery any more? Is nobody capable of chewing a carrot? I hate that baby food soup. It’s like people who put beetroot into cakes to get their kids to eat the beetroot? Beetroot and sugar? Just tell them to eat the beetroot! What I like is how my diet as a child is now hipster food. We would eat a small bit of fish and some mash potato and butterbeans and some vegetables and a few leafy greens and now that’s Gastro Pub menu food. People would say that Scottish people don’t eat vegetables and that’s the biggest misconception because that’s all we could afford to eat growing up!”
9. Curveball question time. If Mars was habitable would you accept a one-way ticket to Mars and, if so, who would you take with you ?
“Oooh, I’d probably take my daughter. She’s a stand-up comic and she’s dead funny. Her and I laugh so much we almost hurt ourselves. The laughter that we have in this house, we can have the most outrageous, unbelievable laughter in this house together. It’s just brilliant. My husband not so much but me and my daughter would go to Mars and find somebody who would make us laugh or we’d just start our own comedy gig. She’s called Ashley Storrie and has her own radio show on the BBC and her own TV thing and makes these viral videos. Her and I make each other laugh and we’ve done that since birth. When I looked in her cot and she made me laugh and I made her laugh, we still do that. I’d take her and we’d have a right good laugh.”
10. Finally then, apart from the tour, what else do you have lined-up for next year?
“I’m writing a book and I’m going to Australia I think. I’m going back to Edinburgh Festival and, yeah, lots to do. I love it. I love stand-up, I love touring. I’ll be doing more acting too. I’ve got another short film. It’s good to be busy, I love it!”
Fri 14 Newport, The Riverfront https://tickets.newportlive.co.uk
Sat 15 Bromsgrove, Artrix Arts Centre www.artrix.co.uk
Sun 16 Wolverhampton, Bilston Town Hall www.ents24.com/bilston-events
Tue 18 Sheffield, City Hall www.sheffieldcityhall.co.uk
Wed 19 Leeds, City Varieties www.cityvarieties.co.uk
Thur 20 Liverpool, Epstein Theatre www.epsteinliverpool.co.uk
Fri 21 Maidenhead, Norden Farm https://norden.farm
Sat 22 London, Leicester Square Theatre www.leicestersquaretheatre.com
Sun 23 Bristol, Redgrave Theatre http://redgravetheatre.com
Tue 25 Bath, Komedia www.komedia.co.uk/bath
Wed 26 Manchester, Comedy Store https://thecomedystore.co.uk
Thur 27 Southampton, NST Nuffield www.nstheatres.co.uk
Sat 29 Farnham, Maltings https://farnhammaltings.com
Sun 1 Colchester, Arts Centre www.colchesterartscentre.com
Tue 3 St Andrews, The Byre Theatre https://byretheatre.com
Wed 4 Peebles, Eastgate Theatre https://eastgatearts.com
Thur 5 Kilmarnock, Grand Hall www.whatsonayrshire.com
Wed 25 Glasgow, Kings Theatre www.atgtickets.com