Bar­bra Streisand show tunes, Please Like Me, Bradley Cooper…? No won­der Kee­gan Joyce had trou­ble con­vinc­ing his girl­friend he’s straight!


More than Josh Thomas’ on-screen boyfriend, re­ports Matthew My­ers.

DNA: Most read­ers will know you best as Arnold, Josh Thomas’ trou­bled lover in Please Like Me. What was it like work­ing on a show that’s so widely loved?

Kee­gan Joyce: Please Like Me was an in­cred­i­ble ex­pe­ri­ence. Josh was on set the whole time be­ing re­ally sup­port­ive of what we wanted to do. He had a fierce idea about the direc­tion of the story. I re­alised the im­por­tance of the story and the way so­ci­ety was look­ing at gay peo­ple.

Arnold was a great char­ac­ter. Do you still get much feed­back?

It’s been re­ally lovely to get mes­sages from peo­ple all over the world telling me how much Arnold and Josh’s re­la­tion­ship has meant to them. Or how much it meant see­ing some­one with anx­i­ety on the show. You had a shin­ing mo­ment singing Sia’s Chan­de­lier!

Yes, and had lots of mes­sages and kind words about that. It was a great mo­ment, quite cli­mac­tic, and ob­vi­ously im­por­tant to many peo­ple. It was fun to film but stress­ful be­cause film­ing any­thing with mu­sic is of­ten com­pli­cated, with hid­den mi­cro­phones and such. For me it was a shin­ing mo­ment. I have a ca­reer in mu­sic and I’m for­tu­nate that Josh had seen me per­form­ing and asked me to sing.

Who is your mu­sic diva?

I grew up in the world of mu­si­cal the­atre, so I’d have to say Bar­bra Streisand, es­pe­cially her al­bum Love Is the An­swer, pro­duced by Diana Krall. She’s so pre­cise with her voice. I also love her mu­si­cal work like Hello Dolly and Funny Girl.

In 2016 you re­leased your own CD Snow On Higher Ground. Was that a Bar­bra in­flu­ence? No, I wish I could say it was. Maybe, in ret­ro­spect! In fact, I was com­ing onto the Please Like Me set every day and I’d play my mu­sic to Tom Ward [who co-wrote and played Tom in Please Like Me], who said I should re­lease it. So I did. I’ve been pretty lucky to do a lot of dif­fer­ent things in my show­biz ca­reer. I’m work­ing on new mu­sic at the mo­ment. I hope to have some­thing ready for re­lease by year’s end.

Do many peo­ple mis­take you as gay in real life? Yes, I get the odd – and by odd I mean a lot – of In­sta­gram mes­sages! [Laughs.] I some­times have a pretty camp per­son­al­ity, too, and peo­ple mis­take that for gay, but it doesn’t bother me. My girl­friend and I met in By­ron Bay through mu­tual fam­ily friends when we were all hang­ing out, and she recog­nised me from the show. I was flirt­ing with her but she thought I was gay. It took me a few months to con­vince her that I wasn’t!

You’re also well-known for Rake, play­ing Fuzz, the trou­bled son of Cleaver Greene (Richard Roxburgh).

Yes, I’m lucky enough to have worked on two cel­e­brated Aus­tralian shows that have had mul­ti­ple sea­sons. Fuzz plays an im­por­tant role be­cause Cleaver can come across as a cold, aw­ful per­son but Fuzz pro­vides this layer of hu­man­ity and a re­minder that Cleaver is a fa­ther with

re­spon­si­bil­i­ties. He may not do such a great job of it but deep down he has a heart.

Where is Fuzz go­ing in the new sea­son?

It con­tin­ues on from last sea­son with the big re­veal that Fuzz and Melissa are preg­nant. I guess you could say that the ap­ple doesn’t fall far from the tree!

What did you think of your coun­ter­part, played by Ian Col­letti, in the Amer­i­can ver­sion?

I never saw it. I did see the trailer and it was funny be­cause the Amer­i­can ver­sion of Cleaver was called Kee­gan! I think it would be weird to watch, and I’m glad I never did be­cause these char­ac­ters are quite real for me. I’ve known them for a long time. See­ing them in any other form would be weird.

She recog­nised me from the show. I was flirt­ing with her but she thought I was gay. It took me months to con­vince her that I wasn’t!

What’s it like hav­ing Richard Roxburgh as a screen dad?

Rox is amaz­ing! We started eight years ago, and it’s been in­cred­i­ble to have some­one so sup­port­ive and of such high cal­i­bre, right there through my up­bring­ing. Rake was one of the first TV shows I was in. I did a kid’s se­ries be­fore­hand but Rake is a very adult show with great di­a­logue. Richard has been so gen­er­ous and kind with his time.

This is the fifth and fi­nal sea­son of Rake. Look­ing back, how would you sum up your ex­pe­ri­ence on the show?

That’s a tough one! When I started, I had no clue what I was do­ing or who I was as an ac­tor and per­son. I’ve done a lot of grow­ing up. While do­ing the show I’ve been through two re­la­tion­ships, I’ve fin­ished a univer­sity de­gree and, in a way, Rake has been my up­bring­ing. It’s been like go­ing on a big hol­i­day with fam­ily with won­der­ful mem­o­ries. It’s been in­cred­i­ble. Away from TV, you’ve done a lot of the­atre. Do you en­joy stage work?

Yes. Not long ago I did Vivid White for the Mel­bourne The­atre Com­pany, and I’d like to do more Aus­tralian the­atre. Once was a great ex­pe­ri­ence and work­ing with that cre­ative team was one of the high­lights of my life but de­vel­op­ing some­thing new doesn’t hap­pen very of­ten in Aus­tralia, and for MTC it was a brand-new pro­duc­tion writ­ten by Ed­die Per­fect. Be­ing in­volved in the cre­ative process was won­der­ful. It’s dif­fer­ent to work­ing on a show that al­ready ex­ists.

Have you ever had an on-set wardrobe mal­func­tion? I’ve ac­tu­ally been pretty lucky. I started per­form­ing at 12, and I had this fear of be­ing caught with ei­ther my fly down or a booger in my nose. There are these weird in­ter­views I did for Satur­day Dis­ney where you can see me do­ing a rab­bit twitch with my nose every minute and mak­ing sure my fly is up! But noth­ing has ever hap­pened. I’ve been naked quite a bit on Please Like Me, but when you’re naked there’s no real mal­func­tion that can hap­pen. [Laughs.]

What’s the best piece of ca­reer ad­vice you’ve re­ceived?

My girl­friend’s brother, who’s in a pretty big Aus­tralian band, said if you’re go­ing to take a job it has to have one of three things – cre­ativ­ity, in­spi­ra­tion or ca­reer ad­vance­ment. That’s one of the best pieces of ad­vice

I’ve been given, even though it seems too prac­ti­cal for some­one in the arts. You have to make a liv­ing, and I think it’s okay to say no. Some jobs are not go­ing to be ful­fill­ing, so what’s the point?

For Kee­gan Joyce is it briefs, boxer briefs or free-balling?

I’m a boxer briefs man. Are jocks-peo­ple still around? I don’t think I could tran­si­tion into jocks any­time soon, and I’m just too anx­ious to free ball! I’d start go­ing through all the things that would go wrong. I can’t even free ball to take out the garbage!

(Top) Ke­gan with Josh Thomas in Please Like Me; (Above) with Richard Roxburgh in Rake.

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