After touring his native Australia last fall with his first stand-up show in six years, comedian Josh Thomas returned home to Los Angeles. Now he’s taking his show on tour in the U.S. until March 11, and is preparing for a potential second season of “Everything’s Gonna Be Okay,” his show Freeform, which debuted in January and is available on Hulu. .
Working on these projects meant not leaving his house for days, as he read scripts and rewrites jokes, a process he describes as “trying to put on a wet swimsuit”
The distraction was never far away, however: “Cheer” distracted him from an Oscar party the night of February 9; RuPaul hosting “Saturday Night Live” distracted him from his work; and Twitter distracted him from everything (“Twitter was a real problem for me,” said Thomas).
During two days confined to the house, Thomas followed his cultural journal. These are edited excerpts from a conversation.
Sunday evening, I went to an Oscar party, not an interesting party. You know those evenings when you’re outside, but just want to go home to finish your show? Well i spent one of those nights with “Acclamation.” So I got home around 1:00 am, then watched the last episode of “Cheer”, all alone, eating leftover curry. I was very drunk and I cried – when La’Darius’ brother sheds a single tear? It was my end.
Then when I woke up in the morning with a hangover, I looked at Seth Meyers “To look closer” segment of its program the day before. Right now, I’m just addicted to American politics, so I’m going to watch just about every monologue in the late night shows the next morning. I really love Seth Meyers, and his “Closer Look” is great because it allows me to get interested. I love “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” because he’s really funny and “Full frontal with Samantha Bee” is probably my favorite, but it’s only weekly.
Then my production partner Stephanie [Swedlove] called me because I need to read new writer scripts. Her ringtone is “Work slut” by Britney Spears, which always makes me just laugh. On Stéphanie’s phone, I set it so that when I ring it, “Handsome boy” by John Lennon plays.
I watched a lot of YouTube then I washed my dog (we sit together in the bath) and I listened Lizzo. All I do is listen to Lizzo.
And I read the scripts. I like reading the scripts of new writers because you see what the writers think the new shows should be, before they get into the industry. And generally, their scripts are not about the wealthy, but a lot of TV shows, including mine, are about the wealthy, which I think is interesting.
And then I looked Twitter. At the moment, I find it really difficult to look away from what’s going on in the world. I was out of Twitter for four months last year but now I’m back and it’s really hell, actually. Because Twitter always tells you what’s wrong with everything and then someone else says to themselves, “Actually, it’s not the real thing that’s wrong, the real thing that’s wrong, c ‘that’s it’ and it’s stuffy. And then, sometimes, there is porn and sometimes something quite fanciful and funny. In many ways, it really plays very well with my ADHD.
My day was a real hodgepodge: I’m going to watch a little something and then I’ll get mad at not working and then I’ll do work for my stand-up tour and then I will decide that it is very important for catch up on RuPaul Charles hosting “Saturday Night Live.” I mean, if someone gay does someone, then I’ll watch it. And I like RuPaul, of course.
So I worked more on my standup tour, then I thought I should watch the Oscar films. I’m not at the forefront of new entertainment. I am not one of those people who try to find new interesting things. So usually I haven’t seen anything until very late.
I was going to watch “Parasite,” obviously but i was watching on my laptop in my bed and i thought it might not be the best situation to watch “Parasite” so i decided to watch “Judy“ because I thought it was going to be fun. It was good.
I’m single, you know, so I watch a lot at night. From 6 p.m. to midnight, I watch so much television. So after “Judy”, I watched Conan, and then I watched a new episode of “Calm your enthusiasm,” which is a show that I really like and then I watched “McMillions” which is this new HBO thing about McDonald’s. And then I went to bed, finally, around 1am.
The next day, I did a lot more work. I watched Seth’s new “Closer Look” again. Then I listened to this podcast of which I was supposed to be the guest and which seems to me obsessed, called “Off menu”. This is the meal of your dreams and it’s really delicious.
And I listened to my Spotify playlist. I just want music that I’ve heard before, I don’t want new music. So I’ve been playing this playlist of 24 songs in a loop since October. It is comforting. The theme of this playlist is songs that my ex-boyfriend played. There are no men, only singers. One of my favorites is “Let’s go to the beach” by this Australian group Banoffee. There are also Des’ree and “I try” by Macy Gray.
Then finally I watched “Parasite” and the subtitles prevented me from looking at my phone for two hours, which was a real thrill. Subtitled movies are going to be my new thing, I think.
I also watched the documentary “American Factory” which concerns a lot the American working class. I watched the movies while [New Hampshire] primary was going on and so I was watching this via Twitter too. And I took a look at Elizabeth Warren’s speech and read everyone’s opinions. It was interesting because the two films have class themes, which I don’t think the Americans really talk about very much, but in this Democratic primary, it’s really a big deal.
So there were a lot of subtitles, then a lot of ideas about our company and where it was going, which I really like. I don’t watch a lot of scripted things; I like things that seem real. My scripted content is as realistic as possible and rather problem-oriented.
I watched Julia Louis-Dreyfus on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.” If it’s on TV, I’ll take a look, of course. And then I went to bed again around 1 a.m.