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Josh Thomas – On Tour And Tidying Up For His People

Interviewed by Claira Prider

Josh Thomas is returning to stages around Australia in 2024 to tour his brand-new show ‘Let's Tidy Up’.

Chatting from his Los Angeles living room as he prepares to pack for a 20-date tour through North America, Josh talks about the current state of his home, how there are beautiful, colourful, ridiculous items of clothing strewn everywhere.

“I’ve never ever been tidy, but I always think I’m going to achieve it – I have grand illusions of adequacy, but I’ve had doctors telling me I’m never going to achieve it,” he says.

Tidying up can feel overwhelming for many, but in a neurodiverse brain it can feel immensely stressful and fundamentally impossible. ‘Let’s Tidy Up’ unpacks Josh’s adult diagnoses with autism and ADHD and how they have led him to challenge and accept things he doesn’t like about himself.

Known for making his work relatable and not to shy away from difficult topics, ‘Let’s Tidy Up’ will be no different. Since living in his LA home throughout COVID, he says “the house has really gotten under my skin. There’s all this dumb stuff that I own, it’s everywhere. I’m always buying stupid things on Amazon which arrive the next day and I keep thinking I’m going to change, and I never change, and I don’t know if that’s something I need to just accept about myself.”

“I guess that’s what the show’s about.”

Photo by Nicole Reed

After winning one of Australia’s most prestigious comedy awards; the Melbourne International Comedy Festival’s RAW Comedy competition at the age of 17, Thomas started his screen career repping Gen Y on ‘Talkin ‘Bout Your Generation’. He’s gone on to write, star in, produce and occasionally direct multiple award-winning comedy series in Australia and America like ‘Please Like Me’ and ‘Everything’s Gonna Be Okay’ and he is currently working on a new series called ‘Good Person’.

Discussing the differences between screen and live performance, Thomas revels in the freedom that live shows provide him as a creative. Television is an extremely controlled medium, but live comedy provides freedom to make changes on the fly without having to justify and get multi-level approval first, which facilitates a more intimate and raw experience.

“I’ve never written anything alone, I would never do that, because what’s the fun in that?” Josh talks about the process of writing his stand-up show 'Let's Tidy Up' with Australian-American, award-winning dramatist Lally Katz, how there’s no clinical ‘sit down and write’ process as such, but lots of conversations where he’s throwing around stories, concepts, feelings, and ideas, and writing them down if they make her laugh.

“I like working with people who do different stuff to me. Lally doesn’t do stand-up which I like – this show is a lot more structured than usual.” Katz brings experience as a writer of theatre, film, and television to the collaboration. “The show is more complex, deep and emotionally complicated than previous live shows because now I know how to do better,” Josh says.

Reflecting on the comfort he feels on stage as a well-known performer puts him at great ease compared to performing to audiences who didn’t know him, or what to expect, in his early days.

“It’s always my audience. I know they’re coming to see me, so I don’t have to change what I’m doing depending on the city, they’re my people, my audience; they’re the same people everywhere.”


Josh Thomas 2024 Australia Tour Dates

31 January-18 February – Sydney Opera House

23 February – Canberra Theatre Centre

29 February – Theatre Royal (Hobart)

2 March – Newcastle Civic Theatre

5-10 March – The Garden Of Unearthly Delights (Adelaide Fringe)

14 March – Cairns Performing Arts Centre

6 April – State Theatre Centre Of WA

9-21 April – Arts Centre Melbourne (Melbourne International Comedy Festival)

1 May – The Empire Theatre (Toowoomba)

2-5 May – Brisbane Powerhouse (Brisbane Comedy Festival)


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