‘Please Like Me’

Australian-born 28-year-old gay comedian Josh Thomas is currently releasing the third season of the (mostly) self-written dramedy “Please Like Me,” airing on ABC’s Pivot TV in the U.S., Canada and Australia. The success of the show can be measured in the three awards it has received in addition to numerous nominations.

Starring Thomas himself, the show is an honest account of life struggles, loosely simulating his own gay situation, while helping his bipolar mother and his mid-life-crisis dad, all the while having presented him with a brand new baby sister. It also stars co-writer and straight best friend Thomas Ward, who he grew up with.

Thomas has been doing stand-up comedy since age 17, when he was the youngest person to ever win the Melbourne International Comedy Festival’s RAW Comedy Competition. I was able to speak with him and found him to be very funny.

So you’ve just started your third season of “Please Like Me.”
Yeah, yeah, yeah.

I know that you write the series, but you also have a co-writer as well?
Yeah, I mostly write, and so does Thomas Ward, who’s in the show and my best friend, and Liz, who’s our executive producer. She makes sure that I’m actually writing and that I know what I’m doing.

What inspired you to go from stand-up comedy to do this show?
I don’t actually know how I got it. I spoke to my manager, and he asked, “What’s your goal? What do you wanna do?”, and I didn’t really have an answer. I was straight when I started, but that was a long time ago. I didn’t really pay that much attention, and then one day I had a show.

You are very laid back.
They’ll probably give you a show if you want one.

Sometimes you are a little bit mean to your dad on the show. Are you mean to him in real life?
I am mean to my dad, but he’s annoying. But am I being mean or am I just reacting truthfully? I always think he seems like an OK guy, but as he gets older…

Do you have a favorite episode?
No, not really. No.

What is the funniest thing that has ever happened to you live?
Most of the things that happened to me when I was doing live stand-up are not appropriate. There were some funny ones with the hecklers. I did a lot of stand-up. I used to do it all the time. I never had anyone fight me or anything. I used to use those straws in my drink that had dicks at the end of them. In one club I used that straw with the dick at the end of it in my drink, and people just would just laugh and laugh and laugh. Do you think there’s a straw shaped like a dick?

I don’t know, there must be. So is there going to be a fourth season of the show?
We don’t know yet. We haven’t really decided.

I would think you would have to plan it, right?
We’d have to plan it, yeah, I guess. I’m just always sure that they won’t let me have another season. They are quite enthusiastic for it, the network. We are just working it out, if it will be as good. Then we’ll decide.

Is there a difference between Australian and American humor?
Definitely. Americans often assume that you’re being quite honest.

Do you think the gay scene is different in Australia than the U.S.?
We don’t have go-go boys.

Well, we don’t have a dollar bill. It wouldn’t work using a coin. I’m in L.A. Australia doesn’t have as many biceps as here.

So you are a new addition to a crayon box. What color are you?
What color? I’ll put on my abstract thinking. What color do you think I am?

I think you are sparkling gold.
That’s very kind of you. That’s a very kind color selection.

Do you have any new projects in mind?
No. That’s an American thing—they always want to know what’s next for you. The show hasn’t even gone to air yet. Don’t you think we should wait a few weeks, letting that happen!

Do you still do stand-up at all?
No. I stopped doing stand-up a few years ago. I did a lot of that. I started when I was 17. I did eight years of it.

If you could promote anything besides your show, what would you say?
I would just like to say that I am very good at sex. That would be the one thing.

Do you have references?
References of my sex life?

No, I can’t think of anyone. I was thinking of a proper answer for a promotion, so sex would be it. I don’t have anything else to sell.

Do you have a celebrity or comedian who inspired you, or that you look up to?
No. I don’t think comedians are a good place to look for inspiring goals. Like, I like them.

So you don’t have anyone who you thought growing up that you’d want to be like?
No, I don’t wanna be like anybody.

I assure you, you’re not. Did you ever see a kangaroo?
Yes. I used to hang out outside this prison where I live, and on the lawn there were kangaroos. Whenever we had people from out of town, we would take them to the prison to see the kangaroos.


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Eileen Shapiro
Best selling author of "The Star Trek Medical Reference Manual", and feature celebrity correspondent for Get Out Magazine, Louder Than War, and Huffington Post contributor, I've interviewed artists from Adam Ant, Cyndi Lauper, and Annie Lennox to Jennifer Hudson, Rick Springfield, LeAnn Rimes, and thousands in between. My interviews challenge the threat of imagination....