Janey Godley in Tell It Like It Is (Scotland)

San Francisco Bathhouse, 171 Cuba St, Wellington

22/04/2008 - 26/04/2008

The Basement Theatre, Auckland

29/04/2008 - 10/05/2008

NZ International Comedy Festival 2007-09, 2013

Production Details


Last seen at the New Zealand International Comedy Festival in 2006 one of Scotland’s finest, Janey Godley, returns in 2008 with her latest 5-star Edinburgh Fringe show triumph direct from its London West End run.

Comedienne, actress, best selling author and journalist, Janey Godley has proved relentless in telling her own stories with sell-out seasons at the Edinburgh Fringe over the last 5 years. Her first book, ‘Handstands in the Dark’ has been a best seller. She is a weekly columnist for The Scotsman and is a regular contributor to a number of blogs including her own on www.janeygodley.co.uk  

Janey was born on 20th January 1961 and brought up in Shettleston, in the East End of Glasgow. Aged 5-13, she was raped and sexually abused by her uncle. Aged 19, she married into a Glasgow gangster family; 27 years later, she remains married to her husband, who has Asperger’s Syndrome – a mild form of autism. Her mother was murdered by a psychopathic boyfriend when Janey was 21. Her mother’s killer, though known, was never prosecuted. For 14 years, Janey and her husband ran a pub in the Calton area of Glasgow’s East End, an extraordinarily violent and drug-ravaged red-light district where even crucifixion was not unknown…

These and other stories provide a rich narrative for her stand-up comedy and have drawn comparisons with her Scottish counterpart Billy Connolly.

"The most outspoken female stand-up in BritainDaily Telegraph UK
"Some of the sharpest-elbowed comedy in the world"New York Times.

Dates: April 22nd – 26th, 8:30pm
Venue: The San Francisco Bathhouse, 171 Cuba Street, Wellington

Dates: April 29th – May 10th, 9pm/8:30pm
Venue: The CLASSIC Basement (formerly Silo Theatre), Lower Greys Avenue, Auckland

Tickets: Adults $23, Concessions and Groups of 10+ $19 (service fees may apply)
Bookings: TICKETEK – 0800 TICKETEK (0800 842 5385)

1 hr, no interval

Laugh out loud funny

Review by Nik Smythe 30th Apr 2008

Breaking news: Janey Godley has been voted the 3rd funniest comedian in the UK in a TimeOut readers poll.  The only woman to make the list, she doesn’t even getting around to mentioning that herself, too busy chatting up the poor defenceless lighting boy. 

That’s once we’re seated, after she’s burst into the Classic Basement foyer loudly enquiring when her typically tardy Auckland audience was planning to head into the theatre, rounding us all up and shunting us on in.  Having just run through the rain from Jimeoin it feels like I’m really getting the full Northern Great British experience tonight. 

So who is this Janey Godley?  Well, she’s forty seven and comes from Glasgow where the life expectancy is shorter than it is in Iraq.  She’s grown up around brutal atrocities and is in town this week apparently to encourage us all to have a f**’en good chuckle about it.  This is no glamour show, it is pure classic standup: frank and human and laugh out loud funny, as the loudly laughing crowd will surely attest. 

…I always get to this point reviewing standup, where that’s all you really need to know innit – it’s a good laugh, yeah.  I’m also finding myself wishing I’d read more Irvine Welsh literature so I could confidently paraphrase Godley in phonetic Scots.  Och weel, nae matter.

In essence Tell It Like It Is is getting introduced to a number of Janey’s family – father, mother, brother, ex mother-in-law, husband, daughter and so on – through a series of anecdotal tales which illustrate not only the colourful characters she’s related to but also the dysfunctional desperation that goes along with them. 

She has a go at other things too, notably Helen Clark’s haircut, the irony of fake-tanned Glaswegian racists, patronising medical specialists and her proud encounter with then Prime Minister Tony Blair.  Her climactic story about her mum taking on her abusive school teacher is a violent Glasgow-style variation on the story in the classic country song Harper Valley P.T.A. 


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Comedy infused with wisdom and integrity

Review by Thomas LaHood 24th Apr 2008

Janey Godley is a mum.  You can tell the minute she walks on stage, although she describes herself as looking more like "a fat feckin’ cleaning lady".  It’s in her gait; her resigned and slightly knackered presence tempered by a sense that she could suddenly lose her wick and fly into a fury. 

It’s like watching your mum do stand-up, if your mum was a hard as nails Glaswegian with a grim childhood of abuse.  The title of the show is totally apt, as Godley refuses to flinch from dishing the dirt.  Her humour is dark and gristly, emerging from tales of hardship and poverty, of humiliation and family illness.  The set-up gags don’t so much reach a payoff as evoke a bleak reality that you have to laugh at or it’ll kill you.

It’s not really laugh-a-minute comedy, but that’s no problem.  Godley artfully works the audience, alert and responsive without compromising her own way of telling her tales.  She’s smart too, quipping about Helen Clark’s haircut with more finesse than many kiwi comics might.  The crowd is with her all the way, even when the going gets heavy, or they miss a gag through the thick Glasgow accent.

What emerges through her set is a real love for family and for people in general.  Godley has values and they are solid as a rock, so solid in fact that she won’t bow down to anyone, not even the former Prime Minister of England, Tony Blair.  The anecdote of her incendiary meeting with Blair forms the climax of her set and it’s a triumphant story.  Whatever we’ve made of Godley the comedienne, we can only regard Godley the person as a fighter and a champion of virtue.

So, she may be frumpy, and frazzled, and getting too old to control her bladder, but like your mum she deserves respect.  If you like your comedy infused with wisdom and integrity, then Janey Godley is as good as it gets. 


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