Woke bloke | Chatting with Josh Wade
Posted on November 13 2017
One of our good mates, staand-up comedian and all-round classic Aussie, Josh Wade, has made a big name for himself impersonating others and forcing us to question certain things. But now he’s taking things in a new direction with his regular podcasts, the Josh Wade Show. We caught up with the classic legend himself to find out what’s happening.
You’re in Berlin at the moment – what’s the go there?
I’m doing the cliché work-and-holiday here with few mates to fuel the alcohol problem and avoid the tax office. We’re here for three days then will head to London. I work first thing in the morning because of the time difference with Australia, but then the rest of day is debaucherous.
Sounds like a good time. In case people haven’t heard of you before, who are you?
I’m 23 and just figuring that out! I’ve been performing stand-up comedy and touring full-time since I was 18 and a lot of that was due to the character sketches on Facebook. But now I’m starting to find out who I am as a person rather than just hiding behind characters. I’ve done about 200 shows across Australia, five major national tours, the Melbourne Comedy Festival, amassed about 50 million video views through Facebook, have one million followers online…all that meaningless stuff that I chased as a 17-19-year-old striving for mass acceptance. It’s odd – on the last tour people would bring up vids I’d made four years ago and say “I’ve followed you since the beginning” which is scary as it means I’m deep into this now. It’s a lovely feeling knowing you’ve brought value to someone’s life, but that doesn’t change the fact I owe money to the tax office, have no girlfriend and no life.
How did you get into comedy in the first place?
I started doing standup when I was 13. My parents went through a wild divorce and my dream was to be an actor until I saw an Ellen DeGeneres comedy special and I was laughing so hard I was hurting. I thought “I want to do that”. I’d go to the pub, mum would sign me in, then I’d stand up there, full of delusion, and tell some crap jokes. I got heckled a lot as most of the guys at the pub were there to escape their reality and the kids at home and there was a kid on the mike with no life experience trying to be funny.
From that point the characters developed, which were everything I wasn’t, and I hid behind that for years. It’s only been the last six to 12 months I feel liberated so that I don’t have to try and please everyone.
So when you turn up to a party or something, do you feel pressure to be the funniest guy there?
I used to feel that for sure; I’d use it as my identity. I’m more observant now; I know my strengths and weaknesses, I’m humorous when I need to be, but I don’t feel the need to fight for constant approval any more.
How do you think of your content, and why do you think it’s resonated with so many people?
A lot of it comes from real life situations and things that really annoyed me. Comedy, especially stand-up, usually comes from a dark place – it turns something negative into laughter, as it’s the only true testament that you’ve moved on when you can look back on something and laugh about it. I love to mix it up with massive truth-bombs that make people stop and think.
Nice one. You’ve recently changed your weekly podcast show Cunspiracy to The Josh Wade Show. Why did you decide to start these podcasts?
I started the show in April and only changed the name a couple of weeks ago. The whole idea was to find a new direction and move to liberate myself to talk about crapI’m interested in – politics, entertainment, current issues, that sort of thing – and it’s become an open forum to have in-depth, honest conversations with others. I’ve had DJs, musos, Will Sparks, Rhys Darby… it’s basically a cross between Oprah if she swore and This Is Your Life.
You’ve had some pretty mega guests on the show – how did you line those up?
Just ask! I just send emails and people appreciate it when you go straight to the source. Now we’ve built a few contacts with publicists with tours and that really helps. In the coming weeks we’ve got the likes of Russell Peters and the Mythbusters guys on. Other than the celebrity side, we have the human side, like a transgender Bratz Doll who’s had $100,000 of surgery, and people that you’d never have the opportunity to have a deep conversation with.
And what’s the go with Schapelle Corby? Is she going to appear on your show?
We’re friends and I’d rather not use my friendship with her as a thing. She’s just a normal chick and yeah, I’m sure I’ll chat to her one day, but it’s not happening in the immediate future.
Cool cool. So what are you plans for the rest of 2017?
I’m working on a new stand-up show for next year that’s about an Aussie bloke who threw away his high-vis gear, finds enlightenment and thinks he knows everything about everyone. It’s called Josh Wade – The Woke Bloke and yeah, I’m basically exploring who I am through the show.
The real juice is in the other crap I’m doing. I’m always busy find solace in having my fingers in a lot of pies. Comedy and performing is what I’ll always do, but I’m always trying to find new ways that I can give myself to the world, as hippy as that sounds.
What’s the end goal for you?
I woke up every day as a kid wanting to be a comedian. I’m not fully there but on the trajectory and I recently realised that if it’s as simple as waking up and acting upon your dreams, you’ll get there. Over the past six months I’ve realised I’ve aimed too low and I don’t want to be limited to one thing or placed in a box. I want to constantly evolve and comedy is just my hobby. I love doing it, but I don’t want to live a life where my income is based on hoping that my next video will get 10,000 more views.
Awesome, thanks for the chat, mate! Appreciate it.
No worries, thanks heaps.