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The Female, Gay Minds Behind SNL Have a New Queer-Inclusive Comedy

The Female, Gay Minds Behind SNL Have a New Queer-Inclusive Comedy

Chris Kelly and Sarah Schneider

Chris Kelley and Sarah Schneider explain why diversity is the key to their new Comedy Central series The Other Two

After making important strides for comedy as head writers on Saturday Night Live, Chris Kelley and Sarah Schneider are premiering on Comedy Central with their new scripted series The Other Two -- and they're not missing the opportunity to put queer stories and LGBTQ storytellers front and center.

"It's fun to be able to get a show, or to be on SNL and write sketches," Kelly told reporters at a Comedy Central press event on Feb. 11. "I want to say what's true to me; I want to tell stories that resonate with me."

"There's a nice ownership of product at SNL, because it's created where the writers are in charge of the costumes and sets and props," Schneider said. "We were used to having our hands in the game, but when we were writing our own show, it was that times infinity."

In the series, Carey (Drew Tarver) and Brooke (Helene Yorke) are thrown into an elder millennial crisis when their 13-year-old brother Chase (Case Walker) goes viral and becomes an internet celebrity. While "ChaseDreams" appears on The Today Show and goes to movie premieres, Brooke winds up homeless and couch-surfing after dumping her boyfriend, and struggling actor Carey auditions for the role of "Man at Party Who Smells Fart," which he's told to play "less gay." SNL alum Molly Shannon stars as their sweet but fame-hungry mother, and Ken Marino plays Chase's newly hired, Scooter Braun-esque manager.

Kelley and Schneider made a big name for themselves as a comedy duo on SNL, landing the show's biggest ratings in 20 years. Their season as head writers won big at the 2017 Emmy Awards, including Best Variety Sketch Series and Kate McKinnon's second win for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series.

As SNL's first openly gay head writer and fourth female head writer, they were also credited with steering the show away from "toxic bro humor" that often involved questionable gay jokes (a trend that, to some, has returned after their departure), and creating sketches that were more appealing to young, internet-savvy viewers.

The Other Two continues that approach, finding relatable humor in Carey's insecurities as a gay actor and making clever inside jokes about queer media and pop culture. ("Can we get him on the Out 100 yet?" says Chase's publicist, played by Wanda Sykes, after he releases a single called "My Brother's Gay" that's repeatedly celebrated and then "cancelled" by the internet over the course of a day.)

As they did on SNL, Schneider and Kelly made a point of hiring women and queer people to work on the show -- not just for the sake of representation, but to best capture the stories they wanted to tell.

"We went into it knowing we wanted those groups represented in the writers' room, because we wanted [the characters] to feel authentic," Schneider said. "So much of our writers' room was like, 'What would you as a woman in the world do if this actually happened to your little brother?' We wanted those perspectives to feel true and honest."

"It was really important that we cast queer actors for the parts," Kelly added. "You half think about it and you half don't. I am a gay person, and so when I write something, I tend to write autobiographically. But I want to make sure that I'm writing what's true to me. Also, if I'm not going to write gay characters, then who's going to?"

The Other Two premieres on Comedy Central on Thursday, January 24 at 10:30 p.m. Eastern, following the final season premiere of Broad City.

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