The cast and crew of Comedy Central’s hilarious new series “The Other Two” sat down at IndieWire’s Consider This FYC Brunch event on Tuesday in Hollywood to discuss the showbiz satire. On the panel moderated by IndieWire TV Awards Editor Libby Hill were creators Chris Kelly and Sarah Schneider and cast members Drew Tarver, Heléne Yorke, Ken Marino, and Case Walker.
In the series, Cary and Brooke (Drew Tarver, Heléne Yorke) are two adult siblings struggling to make it in showbiz when their 13-year-old younger brother Chase Dreams (Case Walker) becomes an overnight pop star with his viral hit, “Marry U at Recess.” Molly Shannon plays eager showbiz mom Pat, alongside ineffectual manager Streeter (Ken Marino), and PR guru Shuli (Wanda Sykes).
Kelly and Schneider are former “Saturday Night Live” writers who were developing “The Other Two” during their final season on the sketch comedy series. Their two pursuits dovetailed so much that “SNL” producer Lorne Michaels even had input on the new series and would weigh in on auditions.
The development process took place mainly after the 2016 election, which meant that the duo were writing plenty of political humor for “SNL.” As a result, the opposite is true on “The Other Two.”
“Coming into this, [its humor] is topical and feels enmeshed… but there is no government, there is no president,” said Schneider. “We decided not to bring any of that into this.”
The closest the show comes to political humor is actually poking fun at layman’s political rhetoric. One of Brooke’s go-to phrases on the show is “In this climate?!” The catchphrase became popular enough that now it appears on merchandise online.
“My face on a tote bag. I’ve made it,” joked Yorke. “I’m kidding. The tote bag means nothing to me.”
Instead of getting overtly political, the creators stayed true to what they found funny, and in the case of Kelly, that was creating a character in Cary Dubek who is a hilarious and three-dimensional gay character. Kelly, who is also gay, said he wanted to highlight his insecurities that would come out if his own little brother achieved fame.
In fact, it inspired one of the many hilarious pop songs that Chase Dreams sings. With “My Brother’s Gay and That’s OK,” Chase inadvertently outs his brother, who has been playing straight to try to land more roles.
Kelly, who had written comedic music videos for “SNL”, says that the music on “The Other Two” is less jokey. “They needed to feel real-ish,” he said. “They’re the story engine. What do Cary and Brooke have going in on their personal lives — and what makes things worse for them?”
Tarver can relate to Cary because he also has a younger sibling who had achieved fame before him. He had a sister perform on “American Idol Juniors” and the whole family would be on stage to support her.
“She would sing every week, and we’d sit on the side of the stage. Then they’d ask, ’Tarvers, what do you think?’ We’d say, ‘We loved it!’ and then they’d kick us out of the studio. I tried to talk to Ryan Seacrest too much, so the next week they took my mic away. So I’m familiar with trying to sneak my way into my siblings’ fame.” In fact, when he first got the script for “The Other Two,” he wondered, “Are they making fun of me?”
On the show, Cary tries to draft off of the fame from Chase, and even Brooke gets pulled into his music video for “Stink.” Yorke downplays her dancing ability: “I can do a bevel and kick, but I don’t know how to dance in music videos,” she said. Now, she was dancing alongside other women who had been in Beyonce music videos for the shoot. “I fangirled over them. I was so confused because they were so nice to me. The rehearsal footage is funny. It’s a sea of hot women and then me in overalls.”
Into this showbiz family, Streeter tries to insinuate himself. “Streeter is a lonely guy,” said Marino. “It’s the whole drive of his character. He finds people he considers his family… and that fed the undercurrent of who he was.”
Part of that includes trying ridiculous ways to maintain Chase’s popularity and image, which includes strapping down the kid’s Adam’s apple to keep him looking young, dyeing his tongue pink, and keeping him on a diet of raw eggs.
Like Chase Dreams, Walker is already conversant with childhood fame. He has more than 100 million hearts on TikTok from pushing out three videos daily for a year and a half. Now at the ripe old age of 16, he’s “slower and more directional about it.”
Besides, he has a hit show on Comedy Central now. Yeah, in this climate?!