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Janey Godley is a stand-up comedian, writer and raconteur, born 1961 and brought up in Shettleston, in the East End of Glasgow, Scotland. Aged 18, she married into a Glasgow gangster family. Her 2005 autobiography "Handstands in the Dark" paints a vivid picture of working class Glasgow 1961-1994.
For 14 years, she ran a public house the Weavers Inn (formerly the Nationalist Bar) in the tough Calton area of Glasgow where she staged the first performances by comedian and magician Jerry Sadowitz. She later became a full-time stand-up herself, ran comedy clubs including Jesters in Glasgow and regularly compered at clubs in Glasgow, Manchester and Liverpool as well as regularly playing dates in Holland and successfully playing to Scots & Irish crowds in Queens, New York City.
She was, for a time, a BBC Radio Five Live entertainment correspondent, reporting for former British Member of Parliament Edwina Currie's Currie Club show from London, New York and New Zealand.
She first gained wider attention on her 2002 tour of New Zealand, where she won Best Show Concept and critical acclaim at Television New Zealands TV2 International LAUGH! Festival. At the same years New Zealand Comedy Guild Awards, she was nominated as Best International Guest and as Best Visiting Comedian.
At the 2003 Edinburgh Fringe Festival, her show "Caught in the Act of Being Myself" was hotly debated by the Perrier Comedy Award panel. It was eventually barred for consideration when it was realised she was ad-libbing the entire 60-minute show every night. She became noted for her totally unscripted 60-minute comedy shows at the Fringe.
Godley's non-humorous one-woman play "Point of Yes" about Glasgow's heroin problem in the 1980s was also premiered at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August 2003.
In May 2004, a BBC Radio 4 documentary series on relationships to which she contributed "Stuck in The Middle" won a gold at the Sony Radio Academy Awards. In June, she performed at the Glastonbury Festival, after being recommended by 'father of alternative comedy' Malcolm Hardee and became the first woman ever to compere the often unruly late show in the Cabaret Marquee.
Throughout August, she performed her new 60-minute stand-up show, hotly-tipped Perrier contender Good Godley!, at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, winning 40 stars in reviews - said in press articles to be more than any other comedy show. In October, she appeared for a fortnight on the daily Channel 4/E4 (channel) reality show Kings of Comedy. 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".
In 2005, she again performed at the Glasgow Comedy Festival. In June, her non-humorous autobiography "Handstands in the Dark" was published in the UK and Ireland by Ebury Press, a division of Random House. Edited by John Fleming, it told the story of her tough pre-showbiz life, 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 new version of her one-woman play, re-titled "Smack - The Point of Yes" was staged at the Soho Theatre and she again performed at Glastonbury. 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; other appearances included the Radio Scotland football show "Off The Ball" and the BBC TV documentary "Scunnered" about the Scots dialect. Her new stand-up show "Janey Godley is Innocent" was staged throughout the Edinburgh Fringe. In October, she was special guest on BBC1's "Craig Hill's Out Tonight" and Radio 4's "Loose Ends".
Janey Godley is unique...Her audience interactions are gems...just a ruddy good laugh.. one4review.com, 15th August 2004
Hilarious show...She delves depths of depravity like Jerry Sadowitz, but also exudes a real warmth...you can't help but like and admire Godley...She may be the only Scottish woman with a stand-up show of her own at the Fringe, but even if she had dozens of rivals, she'd still outshine the rest. Edinburgh Evening News, 12th August 2004
Masterful....a warm, witty Glaswegian...the candour and been-there-done-that wisdom with which Janey speaks on touchy subjects is her saviour. Fest, 16th August 2004
A fantastic rapport with the audience...darkly comic anecdotes that induce gales of laughter...her totally unpretentious storytelling style allows an hour to pass by in a flash. Metro, 18th August 2004
This is a frequently hilarious, frequently frightening show about her life...If all of this show is true, and she is extremely convincing, she must have a damn good lawyer...brilliant...her concluding story is the best story you will hear at the Fringe this year. The Herald , 24th August 2004
"There are plenty of hysterical jokes but that's not the reason you should see her. She is unlike anyone else on the Fringe... Janey Godley is broadening the comic genre... and it's exhilerating to watch." (Fest - 26th August)
"A powerful, climactic story and an intriguing cliffhanger... Godley gets the job does as efficiently as any contract killer." (chortle.co.uk - 26th August 05)
"Honest and hilarious - the female Billy Connolly" (Independent - 23rd August 05)
"Never one to shun controversy; little is taboo... a bit more cutting edge than most comics on the Fringe" (The Scotsman - 22nd August 05)
"Critics' Choice" (Sunday Herald - 21st August 05)
"At times you feel like you're being harangued by a mad woman" (Mail on Sunday - 21st August 05)