Josh Banday’s Got Killer Jokes For Days

After playing an angel on Amazon Prime’s ‘Upload’ The comedic actor Is an editor on ABC’s ‘Not Dead Yet.’
February 15, 2023
Josh Banday

Death isn’t supposed to be funny.

But actor Josh Banday is a great comedic talent who has happened to be involved in projects that involve that subject.

On Amazon Prime’s mind-bending and groundbreaking sci-fi comedy “Upload,” he plays Ivan, an “angel,” or a living tech support person, for people who have died and been uploaded and are now living in digital form. The story follows Nathan Brown, (Robbie Amell) who is critical condition after a car accident. His girlfriend Ingrid (Allegra Edwards) has him uploaded to Lakeview, a kind of Heaven for people who have someone that can pay a lot of money to Horizen, the company that handles it all. Nathan develops feelings for another angel named Nora (Andy Allo) and she wonders if she can have a romance with a man who is handsome and charming but not alive.  Some interesting scenes involve a memory parlor where people can flash back to a video of any memory. If that could be done, what would Banday like to see?

“I had some really good times with my dad,” Banday told the Journal. “He was a surfer and he just passed away this year. He was a really good guy and he’d been sick for a long time but there was a time when he was younger and I was younger and he was a rascal and we would have adventures, play tennis, and just having him push me on a surfboard. I would watch that over and over again.”

On the show, Nora’s father is ill and she tries to convince him to be uploaded and they go to a community that is anti-tech due to the socio-economic polarities it has created.  Ivan plays both sides and also is thirsty for some of the female characters, but he manages not be sleezy. He said that was something he specifically went over with executive producer and showrunner Greg Daniels, (who also was the executive producer of “The Office” and “Parks and Recreation”) prior to filming. Andrea Rosen, who plays Lucy, his boss on the show is mean and yells at thew workers.

“If Ivan was boss, I think nothing would get done,” he said.

The Los Angeles resident attended Westchester Neighborhood School, where he said he learned aspects of Jewish culture. Banday, who has Jewish ancestry on his grandmother’s side, said he had great fun at the elementary school.

“Hannukah had the best food with latkes,” he said, adding that he likes to spin the dreidel.

But it was skill and not luck that Banday the role of Dennis, an editor who is now the boss of his friend Nell (Gina Rodriguez) on ABC’s “Not Dead Yet.” He puts her on the obituary beat, but the kicker is her subjects come alive for only her to see. The show premiered on February 8. The cast includes Hannah Simone (Cece on “New Girl”) as Sam, Lauren Ash (Dina from “Superstore”) as Lexi. Dennis gives Nell her first assignment about a musician named Monty, a bubblegum jingle writer who died of prostate cancer. 

“Don’t judge a person by their jingle, Nell,” Dennis tells her. “Everyone has a story …” He tells her it’s her job to find it.

“I’m really excited because it’s an amazing cast and I’m the type of person who likes to get to know my castmates,” Banday said.

He recalled a time where he sang with Allo on the “Upload” set. He sings and plays guitar and one day he jammed with Allo (who has a drop-dead gorgeous voice that you must check out) and he was surprised she took out her computer and the two were on her Instagram Live.

“I was like ‘oh my God, what is going on here?” Banday said.

On “Upload” and in “Not Dead Yet,” Banday dons dangerously dapper suits. “If you’re looking for them, they may or not be in my closet,” Banday said.

Being Black, and having Jewish blood, Banday was asked if he had any ideas on how to tackle the rising incidents of racism and antisemitism.

“It’s obviously very difficult, but I would urge people to get involved in sports, music, acting or (something in) the Arts,” he said. “When you connect with people in a fun collaborative setting where people showcase their lifelong ability, I think it widens the capacity to connect and view people for who they are and narrows the ability to view a person by a prejudicial covering that one may have been taught.”

Banday appeared as a doctor on the show “Murderville” and got this reporter to laugh when he described his episodes of Hulu’s “Pam & Tommy.” “I was like, ‘are you sure the contract is right? There is no death happening,” he said.

Banday grew up in South Central, Los Angeles, said he’s proud to be able to do imitations, including a good one of Morgan Freeman. A fan of “Seinfeld” and “Friends” he has a scene on “Man With a Plan” which features Matt Leblanc, who played Joey on “Friends.” Banday said LeBlanc was very warm on set.

What’s Banday’s plan?

“I think it’s super important to be prepared and be versatile and not to let naysayers control you,” he said. “When I tried out for “Upload’ I didn’t think I got the past because the woman was mouthing the words of my lines. I got the part. I had a mentor who said I would never make to The Groundlings or Second City. But rather than take what he said at face value, I said, let them tell me. So, I auditioned, and I got it. It’s a hard craft and there for sure are rejections, but I always believed in having positive energy, and working hard to make your dreams come true.”

What will we see from Ivan when “Upload” releases its third season?

“All I can say is Ivan is a guy who raises questions.  What I hope people take away is that our life is precious and it’s so easy to be jaded, but we have a limited time here. At times we might focus on bad things, but there are so many amazing times of laughter, love and beauty, whether it’s with our children, other family members or friends. People should not be in such a rush in their life that they miss it.”

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