Joshua Michael "Josh" Thomas is an Australian comedian. In 2005, at the age of 17, he became the youngest ever winner of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival's Raw Comedy Competition. He currently appears as a regular and Generation Y team captain on Network Ten's Talkin' 'Bout Your Generation. He also writes and stars in the Pivot and ABC2 television series Please Like Me.
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Hello guys! Sorry I'm late. I'm here, I'm here! At reddit HQ in New York.
Ask me anything.
And if you haven't seen Please Like Me...
OK THANKS EVERYBODY I HAVE TO GO DO A RADIO INTERVIEW.
I'll try and answer some more questions later.
Love Love Love your work. I was just wondering how much you had to do with the portrayal of mental illness and the mental hospital in Please Like Me this season. It is scarily accurate! But somehow you managed to make it funny. How did you approach such a sensitive subject as a comedian?
My mum has been in a psychiatric hospital, so I have lived it.
We also did a lot of research with the Melbourne Clinic and Black Dog in Australia.
Hey Josh, just to let you know, when you came out all those years ago, you broke my best friends heart, she was convinced she was going to marry you!
Anyway, just wanted to know, out of all the Aussie shows you've worked on, what's been your favourite?
PS. John is just about the cutest dog on TV!
Oh yeh, I remember when teenage girls liked me. I was like Zac Efron for teenagers that didn't have enough self-esteem to like someone so unachievable.
'Please like me' is obviously my favorite. I just adore it.
How's John? Does he get recognised in the street, and is the fame going to his head?
omg! He has been so stand off-ish lately. Sometimes I sit on the couch and he just goes and sits on the bed, away from me. I don't understand. I love him so much, why would he want to be in the other room? He like a teenager now, I guess. I guess that's what's happening. Like when teenagers yell 'I hate you! I hate you! I hate you!' at their parents.
In summary: Yes, fame is going to his head. I am looking forward to his Britney-Spears-shaved-head/Amanda Bynes/ Justin Bieber phase.
Hey Josh. I absolutely love the show. How has the involvement of pivot shaped the way you took storylines in the second season? So far, I've noticed it's scope is a lot broader and far-reaching whereas season one was more intimate, for lack of a better word. Also, Hannah Gadsby better stay on for season three because her addition is so deadpan hilarious.
PIVOT was super cool, really easy to work with. Everything they thought needed to change they were probably right about.
I made the scope broader and more far-reaching because there are more episodes, and I didn't want the plot to get too insane/unbelievable... so by having more characters they can bring lots of little believable problems.
He's too busy thinking about how dumb his penis looks to concentrate on kissing boys.
Not my penis! Ok! My pubic hair! My penis is lovely, thank you very much.
Hi Josh. Stayed up to see this. Thank you for taking the time out to answer questions!
Just wondering where your accent is from?
Always, everyone wants to know about my accent. I don't really know where it's from. It's not a very satisfying answer, I'm sorry. When I was a teenager I was super shy and mumbled a lot and I think in an attempt to speak more clearly I accidentally started talking like a weirdo.
Hi Josh! I'm Also Josh! Long time fan, especially of the times you were on Talkin about your generation. I was a massive massive fan. Do you have any special/favourite moments from that show that you still chuckle about sometimes?
In Season 2 episode 1, after Tom has sex with Niamh and goes to get her a towel and he sniffs it. It was the stand-by props dude's idea.
It's just so grim.
Hello Josh. Is your fridge running?
I BETTER GO CATCH IT
I love the stories you tell in "Please Like Me", some of which hit way to close for me. I know you say alot of what you do is based on your personal life. Is it hard to shoot some of the more sensitive moments in your life, having to go through them, again; in a sense?
(P.S. - Who would one contact to get you to make an appearance somewhere?)
There was one scene, in the first episode where I visit Mum after she attempts and she vomits into a little bag. That scene is one of the most honest from my life
It was my second day on set, I had never been on a drama set. I couldn't believe how real it looked. It was a rough day, to live through that again but also to full appreciate how much responsibility I have to represent my mum properly.
I think you can really see the heartbreak in my eyes when she vomits, every time I see I remember how utterly heartbroken I was.
Hey Josh, I'm a huuuuuge American fan of your show and I tell everyone I know to watch it because it's incredible. The characters are so well-realized and it's the best depiction of being a modern twentysomething in my opinion. Enough compliments, but yeah, what are your biggest influences when writing the show? And how is the writing process with you and Tom? Oh, and shout out to the depiction of mental illness on the show, it's nothing short of incredible.
Mostly we Tom and I chat about fucked up choices we made and then write them down.
He had a rough year last year, so many bad choices. I was just so happy.
totally corny but just wanted to say thanks for 'please like me'- it eerily resembles my relationship with my mom, & the show has affected the way i approach my first sexual relationships. Is that good? Bad? should i be watching more porn instead? xo.
I really hope I am not influencing your sex life. I am not the guy for that, I promise.
Thank you for showing it in the way you have. I have lived it too but have never seen it portrayed in a way that I can relate with. Everything goes down the "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" or "Girl Interrupted" route. And thank you for making a show I can relate to as a twenty something Australian!
What we learnt is that Psychiatric Hospitals vary widely. Some are extreme, they can be terrifying. Some are quite lovely.
The universal thing they have is that it's a lot of people trying their best to be happy, which can be fucking challenging.
I've found maybe a couple of your and Tom's podcast online and really enjoyed them. But the others seem to have dropped offline. Please can you get one of your minions to look into this, and do you have plans for any more?
We deleted them because they were libelous, we really shared a lot of people's personal info.
Maybe we will do some more down the track, it's just hard because every idea we ever have get funneled into 'Please like me.'
you get one book to read because you'll be dead in a week. what tv show do you binge-watch instead?
Orange Is The New Black.
hey Josh absolutely love the show and what you are doing for both Australian tv and gays in tv. Just wondering what is it like to work with somebody who you were already really good friends with? Especially since the show is your creation, does it ever get hard to have to be the sort of boss figure to your friends?
Ha! I have been best friends with Tom since I was 12 and I don't think he has ever made one decision. It's just not his thing.
I don't think he sees me as the boss, we just muck around and write things down and then go and play make believe.
We've never had a fight, ever.
as show creator, do you have a company that handles rights and accounting that you have ownership shares in, or do you only have shares in the show?
Ummm, I don't know? I know I own things, and I know there are rights and accounting but there is a man named Kevin who looks after it and I don't pay attention. He just tells me every so often how much money I made.
Did you actually pee yourself in the car once? Did you?
YES I DID. But I was alone. I have the most rubbish bladder.
A football game finished and I was stuck, I just couldn't move. I pissed into the cup like in the show but it was filled with ice and went everywhere.
I make a lot of bad choices.
I did stand up about it.
Hey, Josh. Thanks for doing this. I’m quite unashamedly obsessed with your work. “Please Like Me” is the best show currently - and the best show of the last several years. Honestly, this season is like a masterclass in nuanced character writing. Thank you for creating something hysterical and intense and - most importantly - human.
ENOUGH OF THE COMPLIMENTARY SHIT. My questions:
1) Did you watch the Steps reunion show? It was actually extraordinary and entirely emotional. —> http://youtu.be/4ZJbad2GdkQ
2) What tips do you have for people overwhelmed by a feeling that what they’re saying in their creative work has already been said? Essentially, how do you overcome a crippling fear that your work is common and voiceless?
3) There’s so much talent in Australia in the comedy / music spheres, but few acts break outside of the country. Why do you think that is / what do you think it will take for the media-consuming world at large to wake up to it?
OH GREAT! Compliments! This going OK.
Oh no, tips
I think, probably, that if you are making something to share with the world and you are a reasonable person then most of the time you are going to be anxious that it's shit and that no one will understand or be interested. I think that's probably how you're meant to feel. Is that grim? I am comfortable with it.
Josh, I've had the opportunity to watch the Surprise DVD on a few occasions and I really enjoy it. Have any of your other stand-up specials been recorded for commercial release?
Nope, just that one. x
Hey Josh, love your work with Please Like Me and your standup.
What do you like working on most? Delivering jokes to a live crowd or having a set script on TV?
Keep it up!
I started stand-up when I was 17 and it was my everything. I did like 6 gigs a week, I was just obsessed. Now I've moved on to TV I am just loving it, I didn't realize how lonely being a stand-up is. It's so nice to have a team! To go to work every day and see buddies, I just love it. Plus we get to make something permanent, which I've never really been able to do.
But mostly I like making the TV show because I get to have friends.
Congrats on the success of Please Like Me! I love it. Are you hoping to crossover into movies, too?
I don't have any plan. I love making the show I will do that for as long as they let me and then hope someone calls.
Hey Josh, I saw your stand up show when you were in Perth last year ! I got an autograph and remember you auctioning that cake you baked (naked, if i'm not mistaken!) Just wondering ... I have really bad gaydar and was just curious how do people tell, do they just stereotype or guess or ... how do you tell if a stranger is gay ?
What a silly question! I don't know how to tell a stranger is gay. Just lunge for a kiss and see how it works out.
G'day Josh. Up late here in Sydney watching Drag racing in the U.S. Randomly caught this post. Congratulations on the success of the show. I'm always curious when I see AMAs like this about whose idea it was. Did Reddit reach out to you? Was it your idea? Do publicists suggest this type of thing? How difficult is it to generate an online profile? And how much does an online profile help when trying to "break in" overseas like in the U.S.? Any interest from American networks in the show?
It is on an American cable network, Pivot. They are co-producers with the (Australian) ABC.
I am in the reddit office, they like facilitate it.
1: Thank you.
2: Thank you.
3: I just sent the publicist to get cupcakes.
4: I have been in three 2 year long relationships over the last 7 years. I don't break up with people easy.
5: Yeh, she did. Things die, it's fucked. In series one Tom and I had written all this little sketches for John and $haniqua to do over the credits but then she died and we didn't get to film them. We had like John reading poetry and $haniqua telling him it was gay poetry.
You are always making delicious food on the show would you share a recipe of something you like to cook?
And is the steps car scene something you pulled from real life? It felt so personal and is one of my favorite scenes of any tv show.
ha! the steps car scene is based on this thing I used to do when Tom didn't have his license and I always had to drive us everywhere. If he was panicked about getting to a place on time I would stop the car and tell him it was powered by his singing. The better he sang the faster the car would go. He hated it, I fucking loved it.
Hey Josh! big fan, could you tell us a bit about the originally planned American remake of the show? Would it just have been reshot with American accents? or would you have completely re-cast it with just you Josh, John and Tom living in America?
For a little while they were planning on making it with me in an all American cast, it was a dumb idea. I'm really glad they realised it was a dumb idea.
Although a little disappointed because I was excited to cast and American Geoffrey.
HI JOSH!! Please Like Me is brilliant and one of the funniest shows I've ever seen. You are probably the first that has created characters which I can all identify in some way with. I do feel like I relate to Arnold the most because I have anxiety issues. What kind of mental would you say Arnold is? It is very uplifting to see a show acknowledge mental illnesses and being able to see the comedy in the situation without taking the piss. Thank you! also hugs from sweden xx
A lot of people we interviewed when doing research who were in psychiatric hospitals had a menagerie of disorders. A real mixed bag. Sometimes they aren't even that confident of the diagnoses, that is where Arnold is at.
Do you see your character doing stand up in the show?
Sometimes I toy with the idea of making Tom do stand-up and get famous. Do we think that would be fun?
Who is your hetero crush?
Beyonce! Obviously! I don't think there is anyone that wouldn't have sex with Beyonce.