Interview: Janey Godley on her hit Nicola Sturgeon voiceovers and turning them into a book

They have given Scots something to laugh about in the face of the pandemic and lockdown restrictions.

Janey Godley's new book - Frank Get The Door! - is published on 19 October.
Janey Godley's new book - Frank Get The Door! - is published on 19 October.

Now Scottish comic Janey Godley’s viral voicecovers of Nicola Sturgeon’s daily briefings to the nation have been turned into a new “memento” of how the pandemic has unfolded.

The Glasgow comic is set to publish a collection of her favourite responses to the First Minister’s televised pleas.

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Godley has admitted making the videos on her mobile phone at least three days a week has left her "exhausted” - but insists she will keep making them as long as Nicola Sturgeon has to keep doing the briefings.

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However she has dismissed pleas from parents to tone down her language – insisting the voiceovers have to sound “like a wummin’ you’d hear in the street.”

Godley said: “People forget that I had already done hundreds of voiceovers before coronavirus. I was going out on tour on the back of them.

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"I started doing the voiceovers of the briefings as soon as Nicola Sturgeon started doing them.

"I just thought they were a bit boring and repetitive and the message was getting a bit lost in the ‘blah blah blah.’

"I thought it would be good to amplify the message with comedy.

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“I thought I’d turn Nicola into a typical Glasgow wummin’ who would say: “I’m ******* fed up with the lot of you. You were all telt. If I see one of yous out the house you’ll getting a toe up the crack of your ****.

"I video the briefing, look out for a bit I fancy, cut it out and add it to the end bit and then go for it. I make all the videos on my phone. I usually do the voiceover in one take. Each one takes me about 20 minutes. I’m really proud of them. I try to do them as professionally as I can.

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"I get stopped in the street and asked about them all the time.

Janey Godley's new book Frank Get The Door! is published later this month.

"I’ve started doing them for children with my dog Honey. People were telling me that their kids are watching them, but there’s a lot of swearing in them. Folk have asked me to stop swearing, but I just tell them to keep them off the internet.”

The voiceovers have ensured Godley has had a high profile at a time when most comics have been out of work.

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They have now landed her a deal with Edinburgh-based publishers Luath for her book - Frank Get The Door! - which will be published on 19 October.

She added: "I don’t make any money off the voiceovers, but comedians don’t have an audience at all at the moment. They've really kept me focused and knowing that I’m still funny is good.

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"I think female stand-ups have always had to have side hussles. We never get the breaks. I had a podcast going for 10 years and have made videos on the side. When lockdown hit, I was studio-ready as we had one in the house.

“The book is really like a memento of these times. I went through all the clips with the publisher and they helped pick which ones to use.

"I actually absorbed the comedy so much more when I read through the transcripts. I wondered if I’d actually said some of it.”

Godley, a former columnist for The Scotsman, admitted she was weary of a “common misconception” that she was some kind of spokeswoman for the Scottish Government.

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She said: “I’ve had to kick the SNP in the heid a couple of times, like when Catherine Calderwood was getting it in the neck, or the latest ****-up with Margaret Covid or whatever her name is.

"I’m going to keep doing the voiceovers as long as Nicola keeps doing them.

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“She has publicly said she has enjoyed them and that get the message across, but that’s irrelevent. I’m a satirist, I’m just doing my job and I like doing it. I’ve not spoken to her about them. I don’t want to be pals with politicians.

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