Kissing Josh Thomas
Photo: Josh Thomas, left, and Keegan Joyce | Photo credit: Ben Timony
“I can’t imagine ever feeling comfortable in any situation,” says comedian Josh Thomas, the 27-year-old star and showrunner of Pivot TV’s Please Like Me. Indeed, his own dramatic but relatable misadventures fueled the show’s first season, which opened with his character, also named Josh, breaking up with his girlfriend, kissing a boy for the first time, and dealing with the fallout from his mother’s attempted suicide.
In tone, Please Like Me is like a gay Australian hybrid of Louie and Girls: hyper-realistic, cringe-inducing but still funny, and deeply autobiographical. “I am him,” Thomas says of the on-screen Josh. “Nothing is different. In real life I have more pimples, though, because I don’t have a makeup truck.”
Like its creator, Please Like Me is slyly subversive, upending conventional storylines about everything from mental illness to gay guy-straight girl friendships to the coming-out process. “I’m always surprised how people watch the first episode and really take away the gayness,” Thomas says. “My mum attempts suicide in it, which to me is a much bigger deal. In my life, kissing a boy is, like, an average afternoon.” When describing the second season, which premieres this month, Thomas is characteristically blunt. “There isn’t, like, a big twist, you know?” he says. “The show isn’t Homeland. Josh wakes up and just tries to get through the day without hurting people.”
Please Like Me premieres Aug. 8 on Pivot.