For his first one-hour comedy special, Whitmer Thomas made a pilgrimage to The Flora-Bama Lounge, the famed Gulf Shores beach bar where his late mother frequently played to droves of partiers with her twin sister in the band Syn Twister. His mom’s untimely death casts a somber shadow over The Golden One—which also grapples with heavy themes like an absentee father and a foiled childhood kidnapping—but Thomas channels all of his feelings through a charming hybrid of highly self-aware comedic storytelling and arch original songs that can only be described as “darkwave comedy bangers.” Like the best of the musical comedy genre, the songs of The Golden One stand on their own as simply great tracks. For example, the single “Partied To Death” is hilariously frank about Thomas’ own sobriety while also being a catchy goth-pop banger in its own right.
In anticipation of the premiere of The Golden One on HBO, we sat down with Whitmer Thomas at The Satellite in Los Angeles, the venue where he hosts his can’t-miss “Whitmer Thomas & Pals” live show. The comedian told us how his mom’s music career shaped his worldview, and explained why it can often feel easier for him to write a song than a joke. He also revealed that he’d soon be releasing re-mastered versions of his mom’s music with Syn Twister, so fans of nostalgic beach rock have that to look forward to in the near future.
Whitmer Thomas: The Golden One debuts February 22 on HBO, and will be available to stream via HBO NOW, HBO GO, and HBO On Demand. An accompanying album, Songs from The Golden One, is available on digital and streaming now through Hardly Art records.—they’ll be releasing the album on LP and CD this spring on April 3.