Janey Godley: “Being mildly offensive helps get corona message out there”

Comedian Janey Godley has spoken about the positive impact of her viral social media videos in which she provides a voice-over to the First Minister’s daily coronavirus briefings, in an exclusive interview with Kirsty Wark FRSE for the RSE (Royal Society of Edinburgh), Scotland’s National Academy.

The comedic catchphrase of “Frank, get the door!” has become synonymous with the daily briefings, and while the videos have brought light relief to many, they have also served a much more important purpose of reinforcing the key messages of “stay at home” delivered to the public by the First Minister.

Godley said: “I basically imagined a wee woman called Jeanette at the bus stop, and how she would translate the daily briefings to her friend, wee Agnes.”

In the interview, Godley also highlighted that the comedy sketches are “not about the politician, and it’s not about the politics, it’s about getting the message about coronavirus out there, in an informed, relatable and mildly offensive way.”

The interview, which will be premiered on the RSE’s Facebook page and YouTube channel at 7 pm on Friday (11 December), was organised as part of the RSE’s Post-Covid-19 Futures Commission’s Public Debate and Participation workstream, and is the first of two events with Janey Godley around the topic of communication during the pandemic.

Next Thursday (17 December) she will be joined by Professor Jason Leitch and Professor Mona Siddiqui OBE FRSE for a live panel event, “Voices of Covid” hosted by Professor Dame Anne Glover; in which they will discuss the importance of communication with the public during coronavirus, and take live questions from the viewers.

Dr. Rebekah Widdowfield, Chief Executive of the RSE said: “The importance of clear communication around a public issue like coronavirus cannot be overstated. While the Government’s daily briefing has been a steady, reliable way to provide updates to the public, the repetitive nature of the guidance can cause the impact to be somewhat dampened. This is where Janey Godley’s contribution has been its most effective – by adding comedy and relatability to the content, it has encouraged the public to reengage with the messaging.

“Supporting public dialogue and debate is a key objective of our Post-Covid-19 Futures Commission and the event hosted by RSE President Anne Glover next week with Janey, Jason Leitch and Mona Siddiqui will provide a deeper insight into the challenges of communication during a pandemic, and allow the public to put their questions to some of the key voices we’ve heard throughout the last nine months.”

“Kirsty and Janey In Conversation” will be premiered on the RSE’s Facebook Page at 7pm on Friday (11 December), and will also be available on the RSE’s YouTube channel.

“Voices of Covid Who Cuts Through & Why?”; with Janey Godley, Professor Jason Leitch and Mona Siddiqui OBE FRSE, hosted by RSE President, Professor Dame Anne Glover, will be held on Thursday 17th of December at 2.30pm, you can sign up here