Janey Godley, Comedienne – West End Characters
I met Janey at Mansions Cafe-Bar at Charing Cross where she runs Jester’s Comedy Club, compering the Friday and Saturday night shows and performing her own stand up comedy act. Mansions is housed in a very impressive building and I was soon to learn that Janey herself is pretty impressive – full of confidence, grittiness and determination; she has a keen sense of her own ability to perform and an assured role in the world of comedy.
Her sharp repartee and sense of comedy was acquired over 15 years working behind the bar of her own pub in Glasgow’s East End where, I think that it would be fair to say, she cut her comedy teeth on her customers. Refining her craft amongst the chaos of:
“the karioke machine breaking down, the country and western act trying to
tune up and Rangers and Celtic fans giving each other the evil eye”
Humour was Janey’s weapon of choice in keeping things under control; “I’ve always been funny behind the bar” – “customers would bring their pals in just for me to wind them up”. She also brought comedy acts to her pub and is proud that she “put Jerry Sadowitch on in 1982 … he did a year”. When other publicans struggled to keep good acts for even a week or two.
Nowadays apart, from setting the scene at Mansions, she plays to packed audiences world wide, when I met her she had just returned from New York. Janey is a regular on the comedy circuit playing the Irish Pubs and Scottish Clubs in the Big Apple. She also regularly tours the UK with her stand up show; does a lot of writing for others; has just finished a screenplay and has her own weekly live radio show “Radio Active” which is transmitted to New Zealand for breakfast. No wonder she is often dozing when the BBC call to remind her that she is about to go on the air.
Apart from all this she is committed to making Jesters a big success: “bringing big international acts to Glasgow and also encouraging newcomers to the comedy scene”. Janey is determined to give promising new acts a chance to show what they can do.
This is a mile a minute lady, I could hardly keep up with her and if I have many more interviews like this I’ll need to go on a shorthand course. All the time I was talking to her I had the sense that she was thinking amusing thoughts. She shared a joke or two with me and a when I asked her if it was difficult to write comedy I was not surprised when she responded: “I could make a sketch out of this” – I’m not altogether convinced that she won’t.
Anyway good luck to Janey Godley – bringing lightness into our lives -this is one Westender who can’t be accused of taking herself too seriously. She’ll make a wonderful contribution to this year’s West End Festival.
Janey is currently in New York, where she enjoying herself with her pals in Queens and also working as Entertainments Correspondent for the BBC. (27/7/2000)
This section: People: Local Glasgow West End Characters
- Payback Claire MacLeary
- Avril Paton: Artist – Pat’s Guide to Local Characters in Glasgow’s West End
- Dr Gerard Carruthers, Director Robert Burns Centre, University of Glasgow
- Celebrity Sightings – Glasgow West End
- Janey Godley, Comedienne – West End Characters
- Harry Kelly, Writer and Expert on Scottish Ceramics
- Local Characters: Basia Palka – Poet
- Gordon R. Urquhart, Historian and Conservationist
- Sheila Reid – Partick’s Playwright
- Local Characters – Anne Whitaker, Astrologer
- Local Characters: Lesley Riddoch: Broadcaster and Journalist
- West End Characters: Colin Beattie: Glasgow West End Entrepreneur
- Willie Miller Urban Designer: Glasgow West End Characters
- Allan Tall, musician/actor
- The Glasgow Cabbie – Glasgow’s Hidden Gem by Jane Sweeney
- Paul Rutherford, Personal Trainer/Lifestyle Coach – feature by Theresa Talbot
- Graeme Macrae Burnet – Glasgow Writer
- Ranald MacColl – designer, writer, artist etc
- Anita Manning – Auctioneer – Pat’s Guide to Glasgow Characters
- Bob McDevitt, Aye Write! Programmer and Photographer