Connolly is best known for her character Barbara Nice - a caricature of a middle aged housewife and mother of five from Kings Heath, Birmingham. Her act is heavily reliant on interaction with the audience, for example acting as an agony aunt to the audience. She performs on the comedy circuit as a headline act and has performed one woman shows across the UK.
Connolly was performing as Barbara Nice when spotted by Peter Kay at the finals of the Manchester Evening News New Act of the Year in 1998 and went on to appear in several of his television shows. She played Mrs Bamforth in That Peter Kay Thing and Holy Mary in both Phoenix Nights and Max and Paddy's Road to Nowhere. Her other television work includes playing Carole in Dave Spikey's Dead Man Weds and appearing twice in Coronation Street as Dolly Gartside and Sheila Wheeler. Radio work includes the second series of Arthur Smith's Balham Bash where her comedy creation Barbara Nice plays the resident housekeeper and mistress of the house. The Radio 4 show is unique in that it is recorded in Arthur's flat. Guests are invited to join Arthur at home and to become a live audience for bands, poetry and comedy. The show was first broadcast in 2009, with a second series in 2010.
Janice is also the artistic director and founder member of Birmingham-based Women and Theatre. The company is committed to social change through new theatre and drama and in its mission statement states that it aims to make heard the voices of those who are not usually listened to. The company performs in a variety of settings including schools, arts centres, health centres and conference halls. She ran the 'Laughing for a Change' project, funded by Time to Change, which encouraged comedians and audiences to talk about mental health; this culminated in a stand-up tour in 2014 featuring Seymour Mace, Rob Deering and others.
Janice Connolly was also part of the Birmingham independent music scene in the late 1970s and early 1980s. She was part of "The Surprises" and "The Evereadies" playing regularly in Moseley at the Fighting Cocks. Singles championed by John Peel included "Jeremy Thorpe is Innocent" and "Martian Girlfriend". Other Brum bands active at the time included UB40, Echo Base, Beshara, Steel Pulse, the Beat, the Aupairs, the Denizens, Dexy's Midnight Runners, the Nightingales, the Privates and Swansway.
- "Barbara Nice Profile". Chortle.
- "Barbara Nice Profile". Comedy CV.
- Stephenson, John-Paul (21 February 2014). "Laughing for a Change: Stand-up tour raises mental health awareness". Giggle Beats. Retrieved 23 March 2014.
- Gill, Becca (1 March 2014). "Review: Laughing for a Change – The Stand, Newcastle". Giggle Beats. Retrieved 23 March 2014.