‘The Other Two’ finds laughs in the long shadow of fame
What would it be like to have your little brother turn into Justin Bieber? That’s the basic premise for “The Other Two,” a very funny series from former “Saturday Night Live” writers that provides a pretty good window on the indignities, in today’s day and age, of living adjacent to fame.
Comedy Central has carved out a niche with series devoted to 20-somethings, but might have one of the more appealing examples of it in some time with this new comedy, which is being paired with the final season of “Broad City.”
Cary (Drew Tarver) and older sister Brooke (Helene Yorke) both operate on the fringes of showbiz. He’s still scrounging for acting jobs (while working as a waiter), while she’s in real estate, her aspirations of being a dancer having fizzled.
So it’s something of a shock when their 13-year-old brother Chase (Case Walker) — who goes by the name “ChaseDreams” — becomes a singing sensation, introduced in a “Today” interview where the hosts (playing themselves) keep asking the newly minted pop star and his mom (Molly Shannon) what her older kids are doing.
“I’m equally proud of both of you,” the mom insists, but that seems to be demonstrably untrue. Adding to their unease are the creepier aspects of the circles in which their brother travels, including a sycophantic manager (Ken Marino) who keeps acting like the barely pubescent kid is his best friend.
While the premise is plenty clever, it’s the writing — courtesy of former “SNL” head writers Chris Kelly and Sarah Schneider, who created the show — that consistently generates laughs, from the title of Chase’s hit song (“I Want to Marry You at Recess”) to a red-carpet line interviewer who earnestly follows up the question “Boxers or briefs?” with “Israel or Palestine?”
The dry single-camera comedy has itself risked growing as tired as Chase’s pop hooks, but “The Other Two” offers a reminder that there’s no substitute for slick execution — a point reinforced by another series produced under the auspices of “SNL” patriarch Lorne Michaels’ Broadway Video, “Miracle Workers,” which will make its debut on TBS in February.
Given the current glut of TV content, there will likely be a couple of shows similar to them right around the corner. But for now, Comedy Central can take a bow for “The Other Two,” because this one earns its moment in the spotlight.
“The Other Two” premieres Jan. 24 at 10:30 p.m. on Comedy Central.