“In my stand-up I talk about things that people don’t usually talk about or are uncomfortable. I like doing that. I think there shouldn’t be so much shame around these things,” he explains.
“I tell stories that are funny and sometimes sad all the time. So that’s where it’s come from.
“I’ve never really done gags, it’s always stories.”
Now his first self-devised TV project is set to premiere on ABC2, the aptly-titled Please Like Me.
One scene, involving with his first sex scene with another boy (Wade Briggs) epitomised his awkward humour, and he wasn’t sure he would be able to get through it so easily. But true to his word, Thomas doesn’t hold back in too much information.
“Usually when boys take their clothes off and move around on top of me whilst touching my mouth I get an erection. Kat Stewart said to me ‘it’s just what happens… everyone kind of secretly knows, it’s meant to happen and it’s fine. Boys get erections,’” he says.
“But I don’t think he (Briggs) knows that.
“What a trouper. The things he has to put up with… my body… anyway…. But I didn’t get an erection.
“They told me it was sweet but not funny. But I don’t have a problem with that. What’s wrong with sweet?”
Please Like Me strives to juggle all things awkward, sweet and then some.
Three years in development, the series is loosely -very loosely- based on moments from his life with actors and friends playing friends and family. But he admits this single-camera narrative comedy is hard to describe.
“It’s about me living with my friends and I make out with this boy and it’s really great… then I find out my mum overdoses on Panadol and I have to move back in with her,” he says.
“That’s the premise-ish. It’s a comedy-drama. It’s quite sad… it’s not all comedy.
“I don’t think it will be what people are expecting.”
The cast also includes Tom Ward, Caitlin Stasey, Debra Lawrance, David Roberts, Renee Lim and Judi Farr. His own dog John, plays his own dog, John.
Trying to sum it up proves to be a bit frustrating. Perhaps indicative of his view of the world, the answers come in spurts of inspiration.
“It’s based on my vague memories of things that happened, interpreted for drama but also with fiction,” he explains.
“It’s just about stuff.
“Things happen in people’s life as a series of events and that’s it.
“It’s very Coming of Age.
“There shouldn’t be so much shame surrounding mental illness or bipolar. So in the show we deal with it when it happens. It’s quite brutally honest, which I think is good.
“I guess it’s about turning points in people’s lives but that makes it sound really lame, doesn’t it?”
Hmm. I hate to think how he pitched it to the ABC.
“The first meeting you have with everybody is ‘What’s it like?’ The ABC says ‘What other shows do you think it’s like?’ But I remember not saying anything because I don’t want it to be like them. I just want it to be its own thing.”
While he is an Executive Producer alongside Todd Abbott (Judith Lucy’s Spiritual Journey, Rove Live) and Kevin Whyte, Thomas is also under the watch of renowned director Matt Saville (Cloudstreet, The Slap, Tangle, The King, We Can Be Heroes, Noise).
Used to performing solo on stage, or as “the guy who gets chocolate sauce poured on his head by Shaun Micallef,” he’s had to collaborate and let go. But he has welcomed change.
“I’ve got all these people looking at me and asking me what to do for the first time, ever. So that’s a bit weird,” he admits.
“I’d never been on a film set in my life, on Day 1.
“Actor, Comedian, Executive Producer….oh yeah!”
Sometimes I look 20 and sometimes I look about 45 depending on the light and the angle.
So what does he want people to take away from the show?
“I just want them to like it,” he says.
“The title is quite literal.”
Please Like Me premieres 9:30pm Thursday February 28 on ABC2.