Interview: Janey Godley and Ashley Storrie – 'As for running away, the thought has genuinely never crossed my mind'
Mother and daughter comedians talk about fearlessness, comedy and the usefulness or otherwise of having a penis
Ahead of their appearances at the Glasgow International Comedy Festival, mother and daughter comedians Janey Godley and Ashley Storrie answer our questions.
The legend of Glasgow audiences being 'unique' includes a story of Des O'Connor pretending to faint rather than carry on trying to impress a tough crowd. What is it that makes Glasgow gatherings so different and what's the most extreme thing you would consider doing to quickly get off stage?
Janey Godley: I don't think audiences are that different to anywhere else in the UK though I do think Brexit might have changed that. Glasgow audiences are very comedy savvy and know what they like and can smell fear quicker than anyone else so maybe that's a different thing. I would never get off stage quickly; if I feel I'm being hated en masse in the one room I would deliberately make that last longer for the people who hate me.
Ashley Storrie: Glasgow audiences are unique in that they are the best; aye, we don't tolerate crap easily (especially if we've spent money) but when we're enthused we are the most giving of audience members. Every person I meet in the performing arts gushes about how much they love playing to a Glasgow audience. I think that magic just comes from being Glaswegians … perhaps living with the knowledge that we have a shorter life span than others makes us live a bit harder. And as for running away, the thought has genuinely never crossed my mind: I'd rather stand and take my lumps than slink off.
What is the one thing you most admire about each other as comedians? And is there one thing you would change in the other to make them an even better comic?
JG: I admire Ashley's improvisational skills which you can see in her viral video. The amount of people I meet who say '"American 1940s John"' is the best comedy sketch I have ever seen', and Ashley just shrugs that off. I also admire that she has to endure, 'oh you're Janey Godley's daughter' backstage as a snipe and she immediately takes that as a compliment.
AS: I admire my mother's ability to stand in the face of any enemy and laugh: I don't think there's anything more infuriating or hilarious. And if I could change anything … well, it wouldn't necessarily make her a better comic but she'd certainly be on the telly more: a penis. I'd give her a penis.
During the Presidential debates, Hillary was asked to come up with one nice thing to say about Trump. Can you also think of one positive comment about the orange man in the Oval Office?
JG: His ability to lie is amazing. I'm from a bunch of gangsters and ne'er-do-wells and nobody could lie like him.
AS: I'd like to take this golden opportunity to gush about Trump's ability to spray the world with his never-ending stream of thoughts: only kidding, that was all a pee joke. I can't think of a single nice thing to say about him. Is he good with birds? Nah.
Are you glad you're not starting off now in comedy or do you think this is a perfect time to be a newbie stand-up?
JG: Any time is a perfect time. But having said that, if you want to know if a woman comic has been on TV, check Twitter and see hundreds of men with football bios calling women names.
AS: I've been going about five years now as a real-life comedian so I still consider myself newish. Unless there's a point in the future when I can read a newspaper without having to see an opinion piece about 'Whether Women Are Actually Funny', I don't think there's ever going to be an ideal time to be a vagina-haver in this industry.
What's the weirdest place you've performed stand-up?
JG: In a police cell in 1994 before I was a self-employed stand-up. Long story.
AS: In the Scottish Parliament with the Autistic Comedy class we both taught. It was a magical evening and we made a lot of politicians uncomfortable: so, a win!
In 30 words or less, pitch us an original sitcom.
JG: A writer pitches a sitcom about plagiarism, it gets stolen and she holds the people hostage in a caravan.
AS: A rich 'businessman' buys too many red hats and has to find some madcap ways of selling them, like running for President.
What's the punchline to your favourite joke?
JG: … a chip pan accident.
AS: … they're called The Aristocrats.
Ashley Storrie: Full Frontal Storrie, Blackfriars Basement, Glasgow, Sat 18 Mar; Janey Godley: There's Only One Godley, Òran Mór, Glasgow, Fri 24 & Sat 25 Mar.