Anyone familiar with Janey Godley will know what they’re letting themselves in for – an unfazeable Glaswegian matriarch with a steamroller personality and a wickedly sharp tongue. She’s the woman who welcomed Donald Trump to Turnberry with some traditional Scottish hospitality and her stand-up is no less forthright. One minute she’ll be suggesting unspeakable things to good-looking young men in the front row, the next badmouthing someone who’s got on her wick, the next telling us, with genuine care for people’s circumstances, “if yer skint or yer cannae afford it, dinnae put anything in the bucket”. There’s more to her show’s title than a handy pun. She’s truly a force of nature.
Given her Trump-taunting exploits, she can perhaps be forgiven for some recycled material. She was imagining being locked in Josef Fritzl’s basement last year too, although it’s still funny the way she plays it as a nice, relaxing break from normal life. There’s also a comforting sense of the familiar about her jibes at her husband’s autism and the standard plug for her daughter Ashley Storrie, who’s also gigging at the Free Sisters.
But you don’t come to a Godley gig for daring originality, you come for the vibe. As always her off the cuff banter can be better than the actual show. Her previous incarnation as a landlady means the put downs and crowd control flow from her instinctively. She’s ribbing the audience for ten minutes before the show proper, and constantly throughout as people nip off for toilet breaks. It’s second nature to her, not something she has to force to get the audience onside.
This year’s show is worth hearing for the Trump story alone. Even the man who would be Leader of the Free World is no match for a Glaswegian woman in full flight. No way is she going to be stopped protesting on her home turf by a couple of FBI laddies shouting the odds. She manages to get the local constabulary on her side, and her message to The Donald is out there splashed across social media for all to see. It’s a satisfyingly Scottish form of activism, a lone wifey pricking the balloon of pomposity around the potential President.
She has found humorous ways to deal with her father’s dementia too. She talks of not getting to see him enough during the Fringe, and the jokes she plays when she does see him. It’s a lovely, affectionate side to Godley’s comedy.
You know what you’re going to get with the Godmother of Fringe Comedy, and you wouldn’t have it any different.