Editor’s note: The below contains spoilers for The Other Two, Season 3, Episode 6.When it comes to perfect comedies everyone needs to watch right now, nothing on network television and streaming combined offers more jokes a minute, flawless delivery from an unrivaled cast, and delicious chemistry than Max’s hilarious original series, The Other Two. Since its debut in 2019, the brainchild of former Saturday Night Live head writers Chris Kelly and Sarah Schneider continues to function as a laugh-out-loud caricature of the entertainment industry, lampooning just about every aspect of popular culture for a social commentary that is consistently sharp and funny. Brimming with sincerity and mature humor, The Other Two has been firing off on all cylinders for Season 3 and its latest episode proves the single-camera comedy is worthy of awards love with major accolades going to series star, Drew Tarver. In an exclusive interview with Collider, Tarver talks about his character Cary Dubek’s relentless quest to make a name for himself and how that drive will impact some of his strongest relationships this season, including a “very serious” turn with his best friend Curtis, played by Brandon Scott Jones.
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Following Wednesday’s latest episode, “Brooke, And We Are Not Joking, Goes to Space,” the half-hour sitcom finds Brooke (Heléne Yorke) reeling from her breakup with Lance (Josh Segarra) and looking to date someone more on her level, like a billionaire. Her mom, the world-famous, Pat Dubek (Molly Shannon) also tries to date after her breakup with Streeter (Ken Marino) and ends up with Marvel star, Simu Liu. Meanwhile, Cary, trying his hardest to step out of the shadows of his mother and baby brother ChaseDreams (Case Walker), lands a voice acting gig with Walt Disney Studios for an animated movie that features the first openly queer character, a green blob named Globby. While the arrival of Globby creates a strong dialogue past the fourth wall about lip service and how studios often fail at the representation of LGBTQ+ communities, the role is one, Tarver tells Collider in our exclusive Q&A, that changes Cary a great deal and sets up the hapless character on a new trajectory, one that finds him “slightly less passive,” which he teases is coming soon with a Brooke Dubek-styled meltdown. In addition to talking about the show, Tarver who is primarily known for his work in improv and sketch comedy following years at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater, also shares whether he’d ever return to making music with Memphis Kansas Breeze — and the answer might surprise you!
COLLIDER: Drew, firstly, thank you so much for this show. I love this one so much, I watch it with my sister. We are devouring all the episodes; I got to watch the first seven, so I just want to tell you, thank you so much for what you do, your comedy is my favorite.
DREW TARVER: Oh my God, that’s so nice, thank you. I also watch it with my sisters, so that’s fun. It’s a fun family hang.
It is! So, before we get to the show, I’m a huge fan of your comedy and your stand-up, and I have to ask: Are we ever going to have a Memphis Kansas Breeze album?
TARVER: [Laughs] Oh God, I hope so. I love that bit so much. I love doing it with Carl Tart, written by – we did it at UCB years ago – written by Nick Ciarelli and Brad Evans who write for The Tonight Show. We got to do it on Bang Bang, which really opened it up for a bigger audience. And yeah, I know, I hope, hope we get to do a full album, and we do a live concert, a full concert album, a documentary, a really gritty documentary [laughs].
That would be so good!
TARVER: Thank you. It’s fun to do like that sketch stuff and be really stupid and goofy.
Yeah, I hope we get to hear more — I love it! But in the meantime, let’s talk about The Other Two. I love that it’s so reminiscent of, like, those ’90s kinds of lampoons; the way it’s lampooning the pop culture industry, it is very outlandish at times. What is it about this show that you think sets it apart from some of the other sitcoms right now on TV?
TARVER: A thing I love about this show is — and I could feel it when I first read the pilot and was like, “Oh, I want to audition for this” – I really enjoyed how it was poking fun at sort of a young pop star. But also, the family fully loved him and was sweet to him, and he was also sweet to people. It wasn’t like a full takedown of a pop star, it was just like, “Oh this is about a family who’s going through a big atmospheric change and they’re dealing with fame,” but there’s a sweetness, as well, and a genuine love for their siblings. And I thought that that gave it a depth that I really enjoyed reading, and now enjoy playing and acting in because it’s skewering at times, but also, it’s loving. I love playing that balance, and it feels like real life of, yeah, having all of those complicated feelings right next to each other.
Yeah, this show is just, the comedy is so different from what we’ve all seen. I love that it’s on streaming platforms because I don’t think some of the things that are on this show would get away on primetime TV [laughs]. But it’s funny, it’s irreverent, and it’s fresh, there are certain things that just stick out about the humor.
TARVER: Thank you, thanks, that means a lot. I really appreciate it. Yeah, I really enjoy filming it and then being like, “I think this is really funny,” and when people watch it when they agree, that feels really good.
Cary is one of my favorite characters on the show, and especially with your extensive background in comedy, how do you make him your own? Considering the complementary writing and then your own background, of course.
TARVER: That’s a good question. I think it starts with the writing, you know? It’s all there on the page, and I’m just trying to ground him in a way where you go with him down these paths where you’re like, “Why is he doing that?” And I think it’s all about just trying to play that thing that is– Because Cary, this season, is getting a lot of the things that he wants. He’s crossing a lot of the milestones that he’s laid out for himself and it’s not landing, it’s not making him happy. It’s not how he thought it would be. And I think it’s, you know, him chasing a dream and a specific version of a dream that he saw, and then really trying to control it if it’s not going how he thought it would. I just focus on sort of that, like, constant well that can’t be filled in him. I think Chris [Kelly] and Sarah [Schneider], the creators of the show, are very aware of how to ride that line of a relatable character that is also dipping into some of his worst instincts. And there’s something about my face, I guess, that looks good when it’s humiliated [laughs]. Like, that makes the most sense for that face, this guy is falling on his face. So I gotta think whatever that is.
The progression of Cary is so interesting because he has evolved in every season to a different sort of rhythm, and one of the things I found so interesting is, he is not who he is from Season 1, he’s completely different. And you said it yourself, he’s kind of like a bottomless pit; he doesn’t know what he really wants right now, he’s sort of just getting to the surface of like, “Do I want this?” and it is a different mindset, for sure. So curious, have you learned anything about yourself through playing this character?
TARVER: Obviously we all struggle, or I struggle, being in the moment and letting something in while it’s happening to you, being like, “This is something you wanted, and it’s happening right now, try to feel that.” And, you know, I’m good at it some days, some days I’m not, some days I’m just kind of like, “What’s next, what’s next, what’s next?” So I try to do that, and Cary is, I think, attempting to, or sometimes not even attempting to, or has lost sight of being in the moment or being grateful or slowing down. And I think watching Cary struggle definitely has made its way into my life, as well. Kind of, “Hey, don’t be like him, don’t be like that. That’s a bad thing right there he’s doing, try to not do that!” And yeah, I mean, Cary is obviously, at times, a full-on monster this season. Chris and Sarah were kind of joking, like, the more we started filming and getting into this, like, “Does this character need to die? This character is really diabolical at times?” — Obviously, I hope not. But yeah, I think staying in the moment, trying to be grateful, and marking your progress and being like, “Hey, think of where you were two years ago versus now and really let that set in,” you know?
What’s so interesting when you talk about that is, yes, gratitude; you don’t want to treat your friends the way Cary is, and that brings me to Episode 6 because Brandon Scott Jones is phenomenal as Curtis. I love his role and I love that he’s getting a lot more this season; more interactions with your character, too. But I did not like how Cary treated him at the end of that episode. Curtis has been so kind to Cary the whole season, and then all of a sudden he lets him down. With that dynamic, what can you tease going forward with those two?
TARVER: Brandon Scott Jones is so good this season as Curtis, and plays it so well and is being so kind, like you were saying, with Cary, and patient. They’re true friends, and he’s seeing his friend go through something and lose his way, and at what point is Curtis going to draw a line and be like, “This is bad for me, I can’t participate in this friendship the way it’s going right now. I’ve reached my limit?” I can’t even say how great Brandon is, and I’m trying to think of a — [laughs] It doesn’t get better, for a minute. Cary continues to lose his way and become more and more, kind of, lost in the woods, and Curtis is really having trouble hanging in there with him and defending him. I think it’s a very interesting thing and fun thing – I mean, not a fun thing to play out, to be mean to Brandon in scenes, it’s very sad and I don’t like it. We would call them, like, “our hard scenes.” We’re like, “Oh, we have a hard scene coming up on Tuesday,” where we kind of have to yell at each other or get into it. It’s just such another side of them because, you know, their scenes are usually so fun and quippy, and whatever, and jokey, and then all of a sudden we’re very serious.
And I think it’s interesting, I like that the show is kind of diving into a friendship that is falling apart, and it’s because —well, it’s about two people who are competing, and Cary is having trouble being happy for his friend when his friend is successful, and really letting in happiness. He can’t let his happiness overcome his jealousy and quell it, and know that it’s getting the best of him, and I think it’s an interesting arc that the writers are playing with this season.
When we look at Cary, though, do you feel like Cary’s become more of an opportunist in order just to validate his place in the industry? Like, he’s using people? It seems like he’s gone in that direction this season.
TARVER: Yeah, I think he’s been flirting with it for seasons now, sort of like trying to, you know, “Do I? Do I use my little brother’s fame to draft off of and help me, as well? No, I’m not really comfortable with that. It still feels too scary for me,” like, “Oh, I’ll dip in for a second, but then I’ll pop back out from the spotlight.” He was doing it in Season 2, and I think this season he’s kind of full-on doing it and being fully opportunistic, and, you know, not taking his foot off the gas. I think it feels very dire for him if he doesn’t, like, take advantage of every little opportunity, whether it be, you know, an opportunity that is more valid, like an audition or a part or whatever, and stuff that is a little bit darker, like dating somebody more famous than you, or somebody who’s doing better than you, or trying to get next to somebody who has clout at the moment.
One of my favorite episodes was the first episode this season, that scene at the end where all the Night Nurse reviews have come in and Cary’s by himself in bed, and he’s looking at his phone, he’s scrolling through and reading everything, but you feel this juxtaposition of the traffic noises at night, and it’s dark, and just this glow of the light. I thought it was a beautiful scene, it was so nicely done. But in all sadness, the way he’s sort of looking for validation, is that also like a reflection of, maybe, intimacy issues with his boyfriend Lucas? Like how Cary’s sort of in this relationship where he’s settling, and he knows it’s not good for him. But suddenly Lucas gets the Tony nomination and Cary’s back at it.
TARVER: Yeah, I think that’s really insightful. I almost haven’t even, like, paired the two together, sort of like validation with career and relationship. I think like, in terms of that first episode, the last bit, I remember when we got all the scripts I read that first one… You know, you get all excited and you sit down, and you’re like, “Oh, I got my scripts!” And I remember just reading that, the ending of the first episode, and being like, “Oh, wow, this is so dark.” [laughs] He finally got what he wanted, people literally chanting his name and watching his movie, but it still didn’t hit him, and like, just constantly refreshing the Night Nurse hashtag for a long time, just through the credits, scrolling, scrolling, scrolling. And I think, like, as I read the rest of the season, it kind of became a really– I kind of could go back to that moment as like, sort of the theme to the whole season. He’s constantly just refreshing Twitter, being like, “Is there more, is there more, is there more?” And none of the stuff that’s already in the feed is landing on him. He’s bottomless, like, completely unable to be quelled or whatever.
And yeah, I think it continues with his relationship with Lucas. When he’s talking to Lukas Gage, in Episode 5, and Lukas is like – I forget what he says, but Cary’s like, “We haven’t been able to have sex yet,” and then he’s like, “And also, like, talk or get to know each other…” and it’s not even really landing with Cary until later in the season, like, “Oh, I can’t even share a conversation with my method-acting boyfriend.” And I think it’s like, I don’t know, that feeling was probably all in there in the same place, of, if you can’t feel that, that what’s already written down in the Night Nurse feed, you probably can’t feel anything else that’s happening in your romantic life either. So I think, yeah, he’s constantly refreshing Lucas, his boyfriend, in an attempt to get more, and maybe there’s an element that he needs the pain or the anxiety, or the whatever.
I think it’s also interesting how different Brooke and Cary are. Brooke had a full-blown meltdown in Episode 5 with Lance, like she completely goes off. And so, Cary is very — I wouldn’t say passive, but do you think he’s internalizing? I’m wondering if we are going to maybe see a meltdown. Because I feel like we’re seeing hints with the way Pat wants to go back to Ohio, and I know a lot of his angst is coming from the fact that him and his dad, he didn’t get to tell his dad that he was coming out and so there’s a lot of trauma there. So, are we ever going to see Cary explode [laughs]?
TARVER: [laughs] I don’t want to spoil too much, but he definitely — Like, it all comes to a head later in the season, all of these things that you’re mentioning kind of stack on top of each other, and really have no place to go. And I thought the writers did such a great job of having it all come together in a very dark way, but also a hilarious way of stacking all of these things that they’ve built during Season 3, like pulling them all into the final few episodes, and how Cary deals with all of it coming to a head. So, I think, yeah, I think you will get to see him be slightly less passive and have a Brooke moment.
Okay, good to know because I feel like there is a lot in him that he hasn’t said. Like even in Episode 5, when he is running to see Lucas on the job and have sex with him, he’s taking off his clothes; there’s a lot of angst in there. He just wants to have a relationship but can’t because of this crazy method-acting boyfriend [laughs]. It’s just such a great storyline, having Lucas this season has been so funny.
TARVER: I know, like when I was reading the scripts, you know, you get a taste of Lucas in the Brooklyn Burrito, on the way to Brooklyn Burrito, and then Lucas comes back later that episode, and you’re like, “Oh, this is gonna end here. That’s a funny little… Oh, he’s a method actor, he’s in character. This will end.” And then, [Episode] 3, brunch, we’re together now, and I was like, “Oh, this is such a funny, big swing,” that Cary is now fully being like, “You know what? It’s his process. I’m gonna meet him in these quick windows in between his character acting, and his method acting. I’ll get to have a handful of days with him. Everything’s gonna be perfect,” and then he goes into his next character. So, yeah, I mean, Fin Argus, who plays Lucas, is so, so good this whole season, and they were just a blast to play off of, and yeah, I’m really excited for people to watch where the rest of it goes.
Before I let you go, I’m really enjoying our conversation. But I have to ask: What is it like working with Molly Shannon and Heléne Yorke? They’re phenomenal, so good, and it’s so nice to see a very mutual, easy-going and beautiful chemistry with just everyone on set. I feel like it really elevates The Other Two a great deal.
TARVER: Thanks, I mean, it’s such a dream. Obviously working with Molly, I’ve been a fan of hers for so long and the way she approaches comedy with all of her characters, with an underlying, like, full emotional life is just really inspiring and cool to see, and amazing to watch within scenes. I don’t get to see a lot of their stuff until it’s fully airing, you know, and I’m watching it as a fan. Heléne, I’m absolutely delighted by everything she says, every choice she makes. She’s one of the funniest comedic performers I have ever seen, and can also just take this seemingly big character and immediately just drop down into a full emotional scene with Josh Segarra’s Lance, and ground it. It’s inspiring, and she makes me laugh so hard, just like, we’ll be rehearsing a scene, and I’m like, “Oh my God, I forgot about this line,” and she’ll lay into the delivery and just kill me. Like, she’s amazing. And hanging out with them off-camera is so, so fun. They’re both so sweet, and it’s a real dream. I sound so braggy, “It’s my dream!”
But I’m trying to like, like we were talking about, be grateful, be in the moment, recognize this moment, talking to you, it’s really cool. To do something and people show up and say they like it, it really means the world. It’s all I could want, and I appreciate it.
New episodes of The Other Two stream on Max every Thursday until its Season 3 finale on June 29.