Josh Thomas’s sexuality has been the topic of much discussion since he came out via the decidedly 21st century medium of podcast in November 2009.
He had a very public relationship with fellow comedian Tom Ballard, the pair trading stories about each other in their respective shows. There was a stoush with arguably Australia’s most famous lesbian, Ruby Rose (more on that later). And in last year’s stand-up show Surprise, the comedian risked alienating a good proportion of his tweenage fanbase by musing in great detail about the mechanics of gay sex.
“I talked about it a lot last year because I’d just come out. But I don’t think people really want you to bang on about it – straight people aren’t that interested in gay things. They don’t want to hear about
Grindr, for a start,” the Brisbane-born comic told the Star Observer in his perplexing cod-Irish brogue.
“Once I mentioned Grindr in a show and the audience just could not understand what the hell I was on about. I tried to explain it to them and they were just blown away by it.
“It’s fine, really, but when you try to explain it to people it just sounds so awful. Explaining to people that you search for other gays based on how far away they are – it’s terrifying and horrible and depressing. Although most straight guys seem to find it annoying they don’t have it.”
Since parting ways with Ballard last year, there’s been a new man in the comic’s life, 24-year-old Thomas Jaspers. He too has found himself the topic of Thomas’s on-stage banter.
“I have this theory that if you’re spending time with me, you have to accept that I’ll talk about you on stage. There’s pros and cons to every relationship, although I’m not sure what the pros are for him,” Thomas said.
“I talk in the show about how much weight he’s put on. He asks me if he’s put on weight and I don’t know what to do: I don’t want to lie to him, so I tell him he’s fat.”
And then tell the world. How has Jaspers reacted to theatres full of strangers laughing at his supposed paunch?
“He’s OK with it. And his family liked it! They’re like, ‘Yeah! Get the fat fuck!’”
Unsurprisingly, Thomas’s mouth – a valuable asset when he appears as a panelist on Talkin’ Bout Your Generation and Good News Week – has also landed him in trouble on occasion. There was the aforementioned Ruby Rose snafu earlier this year, when a night out with the omnipresent starlet and a dispute over an unpaid drinks bill descended into a Twitter slanging match.
“I got some good stand-up out of it about calling Ruby Rose a c#*t, so that’s something. But then they put what I say in [newspaper gossip column] Confidential and stuff like that, saying ‘Why is Josh still talking about this?’. So I don’t think I’m going to talk about it anymore. Plus, it’s just such a drag giving her more attention.”
Indeed, Thomas was vocal about his disappointment that the media reported on the pair’s Twitter bickering – perhaps a tad disingenuously, considering they were playing out their fight in front of an audience of almost 200,000 combined followers, as opposed to, say, calling each other on the phone. He admitted he was something a Twitter addict.
“Facebook’s really hard because it’s a bit homophobic and racist: if I say something about my boyfriend, invariably someone will not have known I was gay and will get a bit angry. That doesn’t happen on Twitter though, because Twitter is filled with very sophisticated and smart people.”
Unlike, perhaps, Thomas’s own audience, judging by his memories of his last Sydney season.
“I had a teenager vomit last year when I was performing at the Opera House. All these gay teenagers came and sat in the front row and this drunk little 16 year old had to leave to vomit.
“I don’t want people to feel like they have to drink so much they’ll vomit when they come and see my show,” he deadpanned. “I don’t think that’s the mark of a good comedian.”
Who: Josh Thomas
What: Everything Ever
Where: Sydney Theatre
When: August 10-13