Our new music feature Origins sheds light on the latest tracks by providing insider information into their influences. Today, comedian, actor and musician Whitmer Thomas dissects the inspirations behind his new EP, Can’t Believe You’re Happy Here.
The intersection of standup comedy and music is certainly a grey area; where some artists will use music purely as a vehicle for rhyming jokes and odd poetic musings, many seek to combine their wit with expertise, focusing on a song as a whole product rather than a means to an end. Like Bo Burnham’s meticulously-crafted Inside, many comedians are focusing on music as an alternate means of expression of the self and state of mind.
Whitmer Thomas is the latest comedian to embark on a purely musical journey, setting aside the high energy electro-romp of his previous work in favor of a more quaint, Phoebe Bridgers-esque record. After his Burnham-produced special The Golden One premiered on HBO, Thomas thrust himself further into the spotlight with the viral quarantine hit “Big Baby,” which could fit right in on The Golden One‘s accompanying soundtrack of original music.
But Can’t Believe You’re Happy Here is far from the awkward joy of “Big Baby,” and it finds the LA-based artist looking inward once again through meditations on toxic masculinity, existential anguish, and a sense of failing oneself. Thomas collaborated not just with his girlfriend (fellow comedian Mitra Jouhari), but also Christian Lee Hutson, who works heavily with Bridgers, and known rock connoisseur Jay Som, who produced the entire EP.
Thomas also used the blank slate of the pandemic to focus more on his musical output: “I quit approaching songwriting with the intention to make an audience laugh,” he says. “Now I just write a song and if it comes out funny, then that’s great, but I don’t try to force it anymore.”
The resulting collection is a much more serious and moody outing from Thomas, who has always been in search of finding the delicate balance between self-deprecating comedy and genuinely exploring the various traumas of life.
As Thomas continues to climb the prestigious path of comedians with more than just jokes to tell, he’s using his skills as a storyteller and his irreverence to traditional forms of comedy as stepping stones.
Give the new EP a spin and check out the Origins behind Can’t Believe You’re Happy Here (out today, March 25th) below.