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‘The Other Two’ Bosses on How ‘SNL’ Still Inspires Their Comedy

The Other Two” co-showrunners Chris Kelly and Sarah Schneider split time between Los Angeles and New York because their writers’ room is on the West Coast where he lives, while production is back East where she lives. This means they are constantly packing and unpacking their office. But when they do settle into a new space, they surround themselves with mementos reminding them of gigs past and present.

Chris Kelly and Sarah Schneider office photographed by Michael Buckner on March 27, 2019
CREDIT: Michael Buckner for Variety

Match Made in Studio 8H
The 37th season premiere of “Saturday Night Live” in 2011 marked the first time Kelly and Schneider ever wrote together, and to commemorate the occasion they have a framed copy of the top sheet of that episode’s script in their office. “We knew of each other, but not personally,” Schneider says. “We bopped around, tried to see what fit, and then would keep coming back to each other.” Their first sketch was “Child Psychologist,” featuring Nasim Pedrad and episode host Alec Baldwin. “When you start at ‘SNL’ it’s normal for it to take awhile to get a sketch on, but the fact that we had something on in the first week was so valuable,” Kelly says. “It gave us a little boost.”

Chris Kelly and Sarah Schneider office photographed by Michael Buckner on March 27, 2019
CREDIT: Michael Buckner for Variety

Their Greatest Hits
Kelly and Schneider wrote almost a dozen songs during their tenure at “SNL” that were turned into full music videos, and during their final season their writers’ assistant Lauren Mandel had them turned into a record. Although Kelly says they should “probably put it in a shadowbox or something,” the record rests against the wall on the side of their desk so that they can take it out of its sleeve and listen to it.

Chris Kelly and Sarah Schneider office photographed by Michael Buckner on March 27, 2019
CREDIT: Michael Buckner for Variety

This Boot Was Not Made for Walking
One of the “SNL” music videos Kelly and Schneider consider really special is Blake Shelton’s “Wishin’ Boot” during Season 40. An actual cowboy boot was a stand-in for the Lord in the country song parody that saw Shelton singing about being down and out but saved by an unlikely source. The boot now sits on their desk. “We would take props all of the time. Especially in our last couple of years when we started to make fun things and knew we would leave one day, we were like, ‘Oh we should be stealing,’” Kelly half-jokes.

Chris Kelly and Sarah Schneider office photographed by Michael Buckner on March 27, 2019
CREDIT: Michael Buckner for Variety

Prestigious Players
In 2017 Kelly and Schneider accepted the Peabody Award for political satire on behalf of “SNL.” While Schneider keeps her award at home, Kelly (who also won one in 2009 for his work with the Onion News Network) keeps his in the office. “The Peabody feels so prestigious, and being a comedy writer it’s like, ‘Why would I ever win one? They’re for humanitarians and people saving the world!,’” Schneider says. “But it was so nice, especially to be recognized for political satire, which was a lot of what we worked on [at ‘SNL’].”

Chris Kelly and Sarah Schneider office photographed by Michael Buckner on March 27, 2019
CREDIT: Michael Buckner for Variety

Design Star
In creating the teen pop star Chase Dreams for their Comedy Central show “The Other Two,” Kelly and Schneider worked with the costume designer to create a “book of looks,” centered on a hat collection. “We had six or eight hero fonts for his name and color palettes so we could transition him,” Kelly says. They started him with a “very rudimentary font that he would make and put on a hat himself” and then moving him onto “woke” and “sexy” phases in his career, Schneider adds. “We shot the whole first season out of order, so the hat phase helped the whole crew know what era he was supposed to be in.”

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