Josh Thomas heads into new TV territory with the premiere of his new six-part series, Please Like Me. He plays a version of himself, a 21-year old guy who is dropped by his girlfriend because she thinks he’s gay – and he is, as soon as he meets his flatmate’s new work colleague Geoffrey. It’s not all about being gay, Josh has plenty of other dramas to deal with in his life as well in this funny and curious comedy drama. It’s all nicely understated and demonstrates that Thomas can turn his hand to just about anything.
So Josh, Please Like Me is not stand-up or a sketch comedy show but a scripted story... what made you decide on this as a concept?
Oh, a scripted narrative series is the best one; it's just the best one. You can really build to exciting and dramatic moments, and create characters people love or hate. You can create art. It's just the coolest type of TV to make. I'm not very 'jokey' so sketch would never work for me, and stand-up should always be watched live. I chose to make a comedy-drama instead of a straight-up comedy because I wanted the show to feel super honest, which is near impossible to do with straight-up comedy. Sitcom storylines are usually incredibly contrived.
It seems like a docucomedy. How much of it is based on your own life, how much is wishful thinking, and how much has been cleaned up for national television?
There are a few big central events that happened to me and my family, but the show is largely fiction. I don't think there is any wishful thinking? My life is much better than the life of 'Josh' in the show. I didn't clean anything up, the show is filthy. Filled with all kinds of yucky things.
Of course much of it is about sexuality, but in the same way Outland did last year; it’s not about being gay, but about characters who happen to be gay. Is sexuality on TV less of an issue now?
It's hard for me because it’s just really normal for me to see boys kissing boys and having relationships with boys. I forget that's a thing for some viewers. There is a pretty big making out scene early in the first episode and a few people were like "Is this too much this early?" I just didn't get it. It's just kissing?
I don't really know if sexuality is an issue; I refused to let that get in the way of the story. I always just wanted to write what I thought would be the most entertaining thing to watch, I never took into account that it might make some straight people feel weird. Luckily the ABC agreed.
But also that gay storyline is pretty small, there is a lot of other, much bigger stuff happening. Especially as the season progresses.
And you’re heading into the comedy festival circuit: where, when and what?
I'll be heading everywhere this year. My show's called Douchebag. It's about whether or not I'm a douchebag. First up is Adelaide Fringe, then Brisbane Comedy Festival and then Melbourne International Comedy Festival.
Thanks so much Josh – and fear not; of course we like you!
Oh that's very nice of you to say. I like you too.
Please Like Me premieres 9.30pm, 28 February on ABC2.
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