Janey Godley reveals plans to return to live comedy following cancer treatment

Scottish stand-up comic Janey Godley has revealed she is set to perform live comedy for the first time after undergoing cancer treatment.

The Glaswegian performer said she is planning to go on tour again in February.

Speaking at the Edinburgh International Book Festival on Monday, Godley said she would be touring with her daughter Ashley, who is also a comic.

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The tour will also be the first since Godley was engulfed in controversy, having apologised for a series of offensive tweets about black American celebrities which emerged last year.

Comedian Janey Godley. Picture: John DevlinComedian Janey Godley. Picture: John Devlin
Comedian Janey Godley. Picture: John Devlin

She refused to be drawn on the cancellation of fellow Scottish stand-up Jerry Sadowitz’s Fringe show, amid claims he had performed content that was “extreme” in racism, sexism, homophobia and misogyny.

However, recalling the criticism she faced last year, Godley said: “The bottom line is if people are hurt, and you have hurt people with your mouth, I was taught to apologise.”

The profile of Godley, who has been performing stand-up since the mid-1990s, rose significantly during the Covid pandemic thanks to her satirical voiceovers of First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s Covid briefings.

She said: “I’m going back on tour in February.

“I took this year off to try to get healthy and strong again so that next year I can go back on tour.

“I’m taking Ashley on tour with me. She is going to support me at every gig and is going to be keeping an eye on me.

“It will be really nice to be on the road together. My cancer diagnosis absolutely broke her in two. The hardest thing I’ve ever had to do was tell her.

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“I’m not nervous about it, I never get nervous doing stand-up.

“I had no great plan to get into comedy. I just decided to do it. I just thought ‘how hard can it be? It’s just talking, isn’t it?’”

Godley had provided regular updates on social media as she underwent her cancer treatment and lost her hair.

She recalled: “I didn’t want to wear a wig. I wanted to keep my head bald. I wanted other women to see it and go ‘who cares?’

"A lot of people tried to force me into wearing a wig. I would just ask them ‘is my bald head disturbing you? Don’t look at it’.”

Asked for her views on the cancellation of Sadowitz’s Fringe show and cancel culture in general, Godley said: “People have every right to be offended at what you say. You’ve got every right to apologise if you think you were wrong. If you apologise, people have got the right to accept it or not to accept it.

"It is what it is. I accepted I was at fault and immediately apologised. I didn’t need a PR to tell me to apologise – I did it myself on camera. I said things that were really hurtful. That was wrong. Comedy isn’t about hurting people.

“For other people, what they do is their business. What I do is my business. I was wrong, apologised and I will stand by that apology till I die.”

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