Shortly after his exit from a season at Saturday Night Live, Whelan’s album This Is Cool, Right? got rave reviews. His latest project explores humor and the human condition on a global scale with Laugh in Translation.
There are few shows I see and think, “I wish I would’ve thought of that!” but Laugh in Translation is a brilliant concept. Think Anthony Bourdain for comedy. Whelan travels the world, talking to people in other countries about what makes them laugh and how they find humor in their culture. In the first three episode, Wheelan travels to Denmark, France, and Germany to find out what each country’s culture finds funny & how they view America’s sense of humor. Whelan’s approachable and unassuming style allows for great conversations with strangers about comedy, and gives insight into the human condition and how much of our sense of humor is formed by our society. Think Albert Brooks “Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World” only without everything going wrong.
Whelan has always taken a non-traditional approach to comedy. He had a degree in biomedical engineering before he ever set foot on a comedy stage. Talk about destroying stereotypes, who think scientists are funny, right? He moved to LA from Iowa, got seen, became a writer for SNL and a one season performer and then he was out the door, but not before he made some fans.
It’s amazing when really talented people who don’t fit a particular mold of comedian get exposure in a mainstream way, even for a short period of time. Whelan’s year on SNL did that for him, and introduced him to a wider audience.