04 April 2013

MICF review: Josh Thomas

MICF 2013
Josh Thomas: Douchebag
Token Events
31 March 1013
Melbourne Town Hall
to 21 April
comedyfestival.com.au

I'm not Josh Thomas's demographic; he's one of those performers who I knew about and have seen bits of, but wasn't compelled to spend an hour with. This changed because I loved Please Like Me, the tv show he wrote that's just finished on the ABC.

I adored it. It's refreshing and funny and full of the kind of heart, honesty and empathy that brings us back each week. And I so loved the generational mix of characters. People don't become dull or grown up as they get older; we just get greyer and flabbier. ABC, please give him a second season.

Live Josh is delightfully affable and sweet, but I don't think that's the adjectives he wants for with his show. It's just that a 25-year-old man not wanting relationship commitment is as unexpected as a young man not wanting a colostomy bag, and being tempted by a hand job is about as shocking as a 25-year-old man being tempted by a piece of pizza. Douchebag has some lovely stories, but they're not about Josh being a douchebag. Like too many stand ups, he does the stock-standard "I wrote my blurb before I wrote my show" bit and it's the only bit that made me think he is a douchebag for not sitting down and really writing a show about being a douchebag.

Josh Thomas is not a douche. Like, Please Like Me, even his worst stories make him likeable. He's a bit self-involved and not brilliant at being a loving partner, but no more than I was at 25 and given the amount of success he's already had, he's moving along much better than many have. I'm sure there are people who want to tell me I'm wrong and that he's the douchiest dude they've ever met – and these are the stories I would have loved to see in the show. Stage Josh is likeable; I want to see him sharing those moments when he's been a total dickhead.

Douchebag is stand up for fans who want to see him in the pale, skinny flesh (hey Josh, no one bought the "I'm fat" bit); and fans won't be disappointed. It's funny and sweet and he swears and talks about penises, but it's missing a wholeness and that extra writing and structure that makes it stand by itself and do something more than share some sweet funny stories.

In the meantime, Please Like Me is still on iview. Give it a go.

This was on AussieTheatre.com.

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