How Comedy Central’s ‘The Other Two’ Makes Fake Pop Songs Sound Real Good


The present about what occurs to 2 siblings when their youthful brother turns into a YouTube sensation bought actual assist from pop songwriter Leland

In the primary episode of Comedy Central’s new present The Other Two, which premieres tonight (Jan. 24), Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb chit-chat with a rookie Justin Bieber-esque 13-year-old named Chase Dreams. He’s simply been propelled to musical stardom after a music he launched on YouTube, “Marry U at Recess,” went viral. Kotb means that Chase ought to put a cute household saying in his subsequent music, prompting Chase to deadpan, with none PR savvy, “Oh, they mentioned different individuals are writing my subsequent music.”

Chase’s profession skyrockets — a lot to the chagrin of his two older burnout siblings, Cary (Drew Tarver) and Brooke (Heléne Yorke) — however the teen is certainly only a hapless passenger on the highway to stardom. A madcap supervisor (Ken Marino) is operating his life and a workforce of calculating label executives (led by Wanda Sykes) are procuring all of his songs to make sure that “Chase Dreams,” the model, is marketable and worthwhile.

But, in the true world, someone must be writing Chase’s songs. 

And these tracks — simple earworms regardless of the comedy intent behind them — are the work of The Other Two’s creators, former Saturday Night Live head writers Chris Kelly and Sarah Schneider, and Brett McLaughlin, a pop singer and songwriter who has crafted tunes for Troye Sivan, Selena Gomez, and RuPaul’s Drag Race below the identify Leland. 

Making a “faux” music is hard. The three songs Chase Dreams releases within the first season songs wanted to be humorous however not so humorous that they weren’t plausible on this planet of the present. They wanted to be good, however not too good, since they had been nonetheless being carried out by a neophyte pop star whose music, in fiction, was made by committee. Below, Kelly, Schneider and McLaughlin share their inventive course of with Billboard and break down precisely what goes into making a faux music actual.

Call In the Experts

This isn’t Kelly and Schneider’s first foray into the music world. At SNL, they had been the masterminds behind musical skits like “(Do It On My) Twin Bed.” But for The Other Two, a extra grounded story in regards to the ridiculousness of the music trade, they realized they wanted a pop knowledgeable’s contact.

“I went to SNL a yr in the past this month, when Troye carried out two of our songs on the present,” McLaughlin remembers. “And I bear in mind telling my workforce and Troye, ‘I don’t know the way, however I’d like to work with this group of individuals on one thing.” Just a few weeks later, he was sitting down with Kelly and Schneider, plotting Chase Dreams’ musical profession. 

“Basically we might clarify to him what vibe we had been on the lookout for,” Schneider says, noting that every of the three songs we hear within the first season had been meant to evoke a selected pop-music trope, like a social-justice-minded empowerment anthem or a vulgar club-banger. McLaughlin would then provide you with a melody and some refrain and verse choices, and the three would fine-tune the tracks. “We would ship him our dumb lyrics and he would make it sound official and superb,” Schneider says. 

Do Your Research…

For “Marry U at Recess,” Kelly and Schneider immersed themselves within the many tween musical debuts accessible on YouTube. (McLaughlin wasn’t but concerned in The Other Two’s pilot episode, so this music was made with Vanacore Music). “[It’s] 10-to-12-year-olds not likely figuring out what to sing about and not likely having any life expertise,” Kelly explains, “however they’d seen pop stars older than them write songs, they usually have discovered what they assume they’re supposed to write down about. We simply tried to intensify that and make it silly.”

Still, the ribbing is mild. The music milks comedy out of the music’s simplicity, like in Chase’s restricted vocabulary: “Girl, you’re the cutest woman in the complete world.” You’re not laughing at Chase a lot as smiling at him. 

“We needed to make a music that’s fulfilling to take heed to as a result of we needed the child to really feel validated as they’re despatched on this journey,” Schneider says. “The approach that Cary feels in regards to the music video on the finish of the pilot when he’s watching it — ‘I imply, I don’t not get it’ — that’s precisely what we needed individuals watching to really feel.”

…But Don’t Overthink It

“Writing a music is all the time going to be writing a music,” McLaughlin says. “You’re all the time going to take a seat at a piano or pc or guitar and make up one thing that didn’t exist earlier than. I didn’t need to cease myself each 30 seconds to say, ‘Is this the proper course?’”

Cramming in punchlines wasn’t a precedence, both. “We needed it to look actual,” Kelly explains. “It was actually totally different to write down comedy songs for this present in comparison with writing comedy songs for Saturday Night Live. In SNL, each line, each lyric must be a joke.”

The songs in The Other Two aren’t parody songs. Though some lyrics are actually over-the-top, the comedy on songs just like the hip-hop-inspired “Stink” comes from the concept Chase is, as an illustration, an harmless child singing a music someone wrote about getting pungent on the dance ground as a result of the label was gunning for the membership market. “In the present it’s much less that every lyric is a joke and extra that premise itself was absurd,” Kelly says. “The music itself was earnest.”

Know Whom You’re Writing For

Chase Dreams’ second single, “My Brother’s Gay,” preaches a shamelessly pandering message of LGBTQ acceptance that comes on the expense of his brother Cary’s privateness. “[It came from] Chases’ workforce going, ‘Oh, you recognize what individuals like? Those pro-gay songs. We could make you be preferred by making a kind of songs everybody likes,’” Kelly explains. Chase, the candy, naive boy that he’s, is coming from a honest place, even when his songwriters aren’t.

“I wrote these songs [imagining] I used to be a label government and making an attempt to contain totally different genres and go to the acute of these genres,” McLaughlin says. “‘My Brother’s Gay’ is a One Republic anthem. I needed to go to the acute of that. I needed to push so far as it may well go — throw in each component as a substitute of choosing just a few issues …. I simply tried to image myself writing the sorts of songs I used to be writing eight years in the past after I was like, ‘Yes, I’ll write for a 13-year-old.’”

“My Brother’s Gay” works, then, as a result of it’s an exaggerated model of a quite common scenario: Many younger, up-and-coming artists simply aren’t accountable for their careers but.  

“The complete level of those songs is to not make enjoyable of Chase,” McLaughlin says. “It’s to pinpoint the place an artist like this is able to be in his profession at that particular second — and the sorts of decisions that adults can be making round him and asking him to sing.”

Be Prepared for Life to Imitate Art

The club-banger “Stink,” which seems afterward within the season, was designed to be gross and over-the-top: “It’s the following development of the place his workforce has determined he must go, which is that he’s a fuckboy,” Schneider explains. 

As a end result, no concept was too outlandish throughout the writing course of. “When I’m writing with an artist like Troye or Selena, or anybody who I’m lucky sufficient to work with, there’s a examine and stability inside the room,” McLaughlin says. “With ‘Stink,’ the one examine and stability was ensuring that it was catchy and sounded ridiculous. There was no ‘Is this tasteful?’”

Despite — or maybe due to — the observe’s immature, pseudo-sexual ickiness, “Stink” is a strong bop, and McLaughlin says it grew to become a favourite of the present’s forged and crew. However, this faux music needed to bear some last-minute modifications due to a real-world music improvement. 

“It was initially referred to as ‘Drip,’” Kelly remembers, as a result of the phrase toed the specified line between been disgusting and flat-out inappropriate. “And then Cardi B launched a music referred to as ‘Drip’ proper after we had been about to enter manufacturing.”

“That’s most likely the one time joke of ours has been poached by Cardi B,” Schneider provides. “Hopefully, not the final.”