Josh Thomas: From Please Like Me to Taskmaster Australia

Josh Thomas: From Please Like Me to Taskmaster Australia
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Acclaimed Australian comedian Josh Thomas, has been a household name since his breakout series Please Like Me debuted a decade ago.

Now, he’s gearing up for a new challenge: competing in the second season of Taskmaster Australia.

In an interview with The Star Observer’s Michael James, Josh shared insights into his career, creative process, and the excitement of joining the popular game show.

Josh Thomas: From Stand-Up to Standout TV

Josh’s journey from a Brisbane university student to a celebrated comedian and TV creator is as unconventional as his humour.

Josh originally commenced studying at university in Brisbane in 2004 before dropping out to follow his creative pursuits.

Reflecting on his early days, he said, “I started doing stand-up, and I thought this probably is a better use of my time than doing a Bachelor of Creative Industry Television.”

His parents supported his decision to drop out of university, and soon after, he was performing stand-up shows, quickly gaining popularity, it was only twleve months later that he won the Raw Comedy Competition at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.

His transition to television wasn’t immediate. “We pitched [Please Like Me] for like 3 or 4 years. I wasn’t expecting it to get made,” Josh admitted.

The show, which blends comedy and drama, was a hard sell initially.

“People were just starting to do dramedies more and more. It was a weird tone to pitch,” he recalled.

Despite the hurdles, the show’s unique blend of humour and heartfelt storytelling struck a chord, both in Australia and internationally, with the program being picked up in multiple countries including the UK and American, where he has enjoyed much success.

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Creating Characters and Embracing Neurodiversity

Josh’s follow-up series, Everything’s Gonna Be Okay, marked another milestone.

Set in the US, it featured a central character who is an entomologist—a detail inspired by a personal encounter.

“I had sex with a boy, and he couldn’t hang out again because he was going into the woods to look at a particular kind of grasshopper. I thought that was so cool,” he recalls.

The show also broke new ground by casting neurodiverse actors in key roles, including Kayla Cromer, the first openly autistic actor to lead a TV series.

“I wanted to make a show about autism. I didn’t know I was autistic at the time, but I felt a connection with autistic people,” he explained.

“There was nothing around that depicted autism well on TV, and I thought people’s ideas of autism were pretty far from reality.”

Casting neurodiverse actors wasn’t difficult, according to Josh.

“There were a lot of great people auditioning. Autistic people make great actors because they’re used to masking and adjusting their behaviour to fit in, which is what acting often requires.”

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Taskmaster Australia: “one of the most discombobulating experiences of my life”

Josh’s latest adventure, Taskmaster Australia, offers a different kind of challenge.

He revealed his excitement about joining the show, saying, “It’s a fun show that you watch and wish you could go on. I called my manager and said, ‘Can I go on this?'”

Competing on Taskmaster was a unique experience.

“I thought I’d be really good at it. I went in thinking, ‘I’m going to show them I’m very smart,'” he confessed.

However, the reality of the show was more disorienting than expected. “It’s one of the most discombobulating experiences of my life. You’re out there alone for days, unsure if you’ve even understood the tasks” he revealed.

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Contestants are taken to the site used for the challenges, there they reside for a week with no contact with each other and no knowledge of whether or not they’ve completed their tasks correctly.

Josh’s approach to the challenges often subverted expectations during filming with Josh making some of his own decisions around the tasks.

During one particular task he prioritised the well-being of the birds over winning points during the challenge.

“I put the birdseed out in the middle of the night because I thought, ‘I would look after the birds.’ I wanted to win, but I also wanted to be kind’ he says.

Whilst the notion sound sweet, the task itself, was to actually keep birds away.

Despite the chaos, Josh enjoyed the experience. “It’s a nice break from serious work. I used to do all this junk—game shows and comedy panels. It’s fun to get back to that,” he reflected.

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What’s Next for Josh Thomas?

As for his future projects, Josh is taking a more laid-back approach.

“People really want me to come up with another show—my managers, my mom—but I don’t want to do it if I don’t have an idea that’s really good,” he said candidly. For now, he’s focused on finishing his tour and enjoying some downtime.

While fans eagerly await his next TV project, they can catch Josh in Taskmaster Australia, where his wit, creativity, and unpredictability will deliver a fantastic season of television.

You can catch Josh Thomas on season two of Taskmaster Australia from every Thursday from May 23 at 7:30pm on 10 and 10play.

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Image: Suuplied

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