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Sarah Schneider and Chris Kelly tell Seth Meyers about the fart sketch even Paul Rudd couldn't save

Chris Kelly, Sarah Schneider, Seth Meyers
Screenshot: Late Night With Seth Meyers

It was an enjoyable Tuesday summit of former Saturday Night Live head writers on Late Night With Seth Meyers, as Sarah Schneider and Chris Kelly stopped by. (Current head writers—along with Kent Sublette—Michael Che and Colin Jost guested yesterday, suggesting some sort of 30 Rock comedy top dog convergence.) Promoting their new Comedy Central sitcom The Other Two (premiering Thursday), the duo, arguably SNL’s best head writers since Meyers left in 2014, swapped war stories about trying to keep up with then-candidate Donald Trump’s show-quakingly unpredictable news cycle. The pair, perhaps best remembered for all-female cast music videos like “Back Home Ballers” and “(Do It On My) Twin Bed,” among others, shared their last-minute show-rejiggering pain with the understanding Meyers, showing a picture of Kelly reacting to the breaking Access Hollywood news while Aidy Bryant, in full pilgrim costume, smiles happily in the foreground, oblivious to the way that Donald Trump’s caught-on-tape confession of sleazy sexual creepiness meant writing a whole new cold open. At 3 a.m. on Friday. “It’s him again,” narrated Kelly, explaining that Trump’s unpredictable Twitter habits often meant coming up with Alec Baldwin’s Emmy-winning Trump material on the fly.

As to The Other Two, the sitcom’s plot, about a pair of creatively frustrated adult siblings whose little brother’s sudden YouTube fame leaves them even more frustrated, was drawn from another notable SNL experience, although Schneider and Kelly didn’t get into the specifics with Meyers. (The coddled young internet singer celebrity is apparently based on the off-the-charts ludicrously bad week Justin Bieber hosted.) Still, as the writing partners told Meyers, their take is a a lot more sympathetic to the lead character’s preening younger sibling (gloriously named named Chase Dreams) than mere Bieber-bashing. That doesn’t mean that The Other Two is free from cathartic SNL-inspired bits, however, as Schneider and Kelly told Meyers that Drew Tarver’s struggling actor character (alongside Hélene York’s equally struggling former dancer) begins the series by auditioning for a role torn right from the team’s rejected sketch pile.

Explaining to Meyers (who reluctantly copped to helping out on the bit) that Tarver’s thespian is seen trying (and failing) to land the plum film role of “guy smelling a fart at party,” they related the sorrowful tale of a sketch with the same premise tanking—hard—at dress SNL dress rehearsal, despite some high-powered fart-smelling help in the form of that week’s host, Paul Rudd. (SNL boss Lorne Michaels apparently liked the sketch, but the audience—not so much.) Sticking to their guns, the writers pitched their beloved sketch one more time—to Julia Louis-Dreyfus, no less—before, as they told Meyers, realizing that, if those two comedy titans can’t sell their fart, nobody can.


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Dennis Perkins

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Danny Peary's Cult Movies books are mostly to blame.