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ASPartOfMe
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03 Feb 2024, 5:44 pm

Josh Thomas: Let’s Tidy Up review – comedian returns to the stage with stories of ADHD and autism

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It’s been four years, a pandemic and two seasons of his US show Everything’s Gonna Be Okay since Josh Thomas last toured Australian stages, with 2019’s Whoopsie Daisy. Though he started in standup as a teen (winning Melbourne international comedy festival’s Raw Comedy competition at 17), Thomas jettisoned that part of his practice once he’d made the move to TV in 2013, with his sweet, spiky, deliciously awkward and surprisingly touching series Please Like Me. Thomas has been fairly candid over the years about preferring the small screen as a vehicle for his material, saying that he’ll only put together a new standup show if he has something to say.

In his new show, Let’s Tidy Up, which lands at Sydney Opera House off the back of a US tour and before an Australian one, Thomas takes stock of his life in the wake of two significant diagnoses. The first was ADHD. “When I got diagnosed nine years ago it was still on the cusp of being quite interesting,” he says self-consciously in the show’s opening stretch. “Everyone has it now.”

Then two years ago, while making Everything’s Gonna Be Okay – an LA-set show in which a thinly veiled version of himself takes legal guardianship over his two teenage half-sisters, one of them on the autism spectrum – he was diagnosed with autism: “And that’s got an edge, that’s drama – that’s a show!” he jokes on stage.

Let’s Tidy Up pivots off an episode roughly two years ago in which Thomas tried – and failed – to tidy his house, and the attendant fallout. It’s a disarmingly relatable tale, told in that hyperactive Josh Thomas style; it starts with him buying a sous vide and needing a place to store it, and proceeds as he unspools a hoarder’s-house worth of “stuff” from every nook and cranny.

This episode is the loose spine of a show in which Thomas interrogates whether he should, or even can, change – and the slightly chilling effect that being formally diagnosed has had on his perspective. As he remarks in the show’s opening, having a psychiatrist confirm that the world is indeed more challenging for him was unambiguously reassuring; being told that there was nothing he could do about it – that his behaviours are “incurable” – triggers more ambivalent feelings.

It’s a solid premise for a show, and Thomas takes satisfying aim at the self-improvement culture that is endemic to America, Instagram, capitalism and celebrity culture.

The meat of the show, however, is personal anecdote, covering territory familiar to fans of his TV shows: childhood ignominies, adult faux pas, awkward social situations and dates; there are jokes about anal herpes and Tinder.


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Professionally Identified and joined WP August 26, 2013
DSM 5: Autism Spectrum Disorder, DSM IV: Aspergers Moderate Severity

It is Autism Acceptance Month

“My autism is not a superpower. It also isn’t some kind of god-forsaken, endless fountain of suffering inflicted on my family. It’s just part of who I am as a person”. - Sara Luterman


CockneyRebel
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05 Feb 2024, 10:14 pm

I can't wait until it's on TV.


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