Few topics are off limits for comedian Josh Wade. His crass, irreverent videos have caused waves on YouTube and taken the 20-year-old to dizzying heights since he began 7 years ago. “It’s sort of like if Borat was bogan, and if Stifler was Australian, if they had a child and he was on a stage, I think that’s what people would come to expect [from me]. But there’s sort of some intelligence behind it. I think it’s very smart and very stupid at the same time,” he shares.
Taking to stand-up comedy in local pubs when he was a teen, his inspiration came from the most unlikely place. “I was a 13-year-old boy, sitting in Townsville of all places, somehow I connected with at the time, a 45-year-old lesbian woman living in the United States,” Wade says.
All jokes aside, though, Ellen had a significant impact on the comedian during a pivotal point in his life. “That dead set was a moment for me. I knew what stand up comedy was, I’d just never sat down and watched it. It was on TV, and my parents were going through a divorce at the time, and I remember laughing so much I was crying,” he says.
While his love for Ellen did lead to a few awkward moments (“The first few gigs that I did, all I did was memorise these Ellen jokes!”), he soon adapted his own comedy routines, evolving into his now infamous bold, indiscreet humour.
“Normally these guys that are drinking at the pubs, they’re there because they are trying to escape their 13, 14,15-year-old kid at home,” he says about his early days.
“So I realised, I had to be like them. I had to swear, you know. I had to really grasp that, I suppose, that inner Bogan.”
Gaining inspiration from the people around him and “general stupidity”, Josh is outlandish on stage, but his personal life is a different story. “Really, I hate life in general. I spend a lot of time sitting and just people watching,” he explains. “I mean, I don’t have friends; and that’s sort of out of my own choosing.”
Citing Russell Brand and Joel Creasey as comedians he admires, he now lives in the Gold Coast after trying his hand at life in Los Angeles. He tells me a story about a particular fight he had in Hollywood with an ‘Instagram model’.
“I remember leaving this place and sitting in this back alley, crying my eyes out. And I was so depressed, and I’m thinking, ‘Careful what you wish for’, because this is not, this is not really what I wanted,” he says.
Saying he’s been on a “spiritual journey” over the past 12 months, the moment dramatically changed his life and comedy. “I craved the attention, I craved all these different things. And then once I got it, it was like, ‘Oh…I don’t know if I really like this.’”
With a new goal in mind, 2016 looks set to be the biggest year yet for Wade as he anticipates comedy festivals, and plenty of new projects.
“I’m trying to now still speak the way that people relate to, but about things that I actually really feel passionate about. I’m lucky; I’ve achieved what my wildest dreams were, which was to become a comedian and tour. Now the rest is just cream on the cake and I can really just say what I feel,” he says.