Josh Thomas Takes His Mum to the Top of the World

The creator, writer, and star of the critically-acclaimed Australian comedy "Please Like Me" shares a tale about the highs and lows of sightseeing with his mother.

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Photo Credit: Michele Thomas

Josh Thomas’ series “Please Like Me” tackles coming-out and coming-of-age, with an irreverent bent. It’s been called a “quarter-life crisis” comedy.  The season three finale airs Friday, December 11, 10 p.m. ET on Pivot. He shares a true tale with us… from the top of the world.


Josh Thomas: Hello, my name is Josh Thomas. I have a television show, and it’s called, “Please Like Me.” And it’s on — what, it’s on Pivot and Hulu and it’s pretty good, right? It’s fine. The TV show’s all right.

So, I thought it would be nice to do something nice for my mum. She’s never been to New York, and she’s always wanted to go to New York, and I decided to bring my mum.

This story is about what I think is the most beautiful thing she’s ever done for me. And I don’t want to sound like I’m overstating that because of course, my mum has done a lot of beautiful things for me. She is my mum, you know? She gave birth to me, which is… that’s pretty important, and she sort of loved me and raised me and fed me. She used to pretend to lose at video games. And just did all the sort of normal, beautiful stuff mums did.

But on the second night of this trip, I feel like she really went far and beyond.

What happened was, we were at the launch for the first episode of my show, like a little party with free drinks. In show business, you always get free alcohol. And my mum, she doesn’t like drinking. No way, never! She never does it. No, thank you! But she also really, really likes getting value for money, so she took the free alcohol because she would just see not drinking the alcohol as throwing cash into the bin.

So, she drank all of the Prosecco. Nobody else had any Prosecco. And then she was just, like, louder and louder, tells all the network executives and everyone else how much she loves me and how proud she is of me. And I just kept having to remind myself that that is actually a really nice thing.

Photo Credit: Pivot
Photo Credit: Pivot

I always find it hard not to revert to when I’m a 16-year-old, and just wanting to yell, “Shut up! shut up! Shut up! You’re embarrassing me!” to her because everyone else finds it really fun. So, I was sort of biting my tongue.

And then, that party finished. She wanted to go out to bars, but I didn’t want her to drink anymore alcohol, and I thought what might be cute is if we went up the Empire State Building because you can go up there until 2:00 a.m. now, and that’s a new thing.

She’d been talking about going to the Empire State Building ever since we booked the trip. So, I said to her we could go, but she had to promise me that she would be quiet until we got to the roof because I said, “It’s OK if we get up there and we get kicked out. That’s fine. I can handle that. But getting kicked out before we get to the roof, that’d be very, very sad.”

And she was like, “I promise, I promise, I promise, I promise, I promise!”

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 08: The Empire State Building (L) and One World Trade Center (R) tower over Manhattan on November 8, 2013 in New York City. The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat met in Chicago today to decide whether the One World Trade Center at 1,776 feet, is taller than Chicago's Willis Tower. At issue is the pinnacle of One World Trade and whether it is an antennae or a spire, as antennae are generally not counted in a building's height and spires are. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
The site of Josh’s incident. (Photo Credit: John Moore/Getty Images)

So, we get to the Empire State Building, and my mum, obviously, is like, sarcastically tiptoeing around and telling everyone to shush and just being the absolute loudest version of quiet that you can be through the beautiful Empire State Building sort of Art Deco foyer. She gets in the elevator, and she’s on top of the world. Just so happy, having the nicest time of her life, and so loud and so embarrassing.

Then, the elevator moves very fast up to the very tall part of the very tall building, 86 floors. And she gets out of the elevator, looks out, you know, across Manhattan, and it’s pretty good. That’s a really nice place to stand. It’s nighttime; it’s Manhattan; you can see Times Square; you can see the Chrysler Building. It’s one of the best views you could imagine seeing.

My mum throws me her handbag, barges outside, goes to the ledge… and vomits off the side of it.

I’ve done some partying in my time. I got up to some mischief, but nothing could ever compare to that. To vomit off an icon, I think it’s just the funniest thing I’ve ever seen. [Laughs.] It’s the most majestic thing I’ve ever seen.