Comedy Central’s The Other Two is a kinder showbiz satire than most, but it comes with its requisite embodiment of all the entertainment industry’s worst impulses: Ken Marino’s skeevy manager Streeter, a grown man who’s trying very hard to be hip while repping a 13-year-old YouTube star (and forcing him to eat a ton of eggs to get swole).
The Other Two stars Case Walker, an actual Musical.ly star, as the young Chase Dreams, though Marino freely admits that both Walker and his character know far more about the actual workings of internet celebrity than he does. “There’s so many things in social media and on the internet that I don’t get,” Marino says with a laugh, adding that he was happy to sign onto former SNL head writers Sarah Schneider and Chris Kelly’s show and learn along the way. Marino, who’s made a career out of playing blustering, if mostly incompetent men since Party Down, also explained that yes, his friend Justin Theroux is aware that the characters in The Other Two move into a version of his apartment, how he wound up playing both Lehman brothers at once in Showtime’s Black Monday, and whether he’ll be back for the Veronica Mars revival.
Streeter’s obviously an over-the-top character, but from what I understand, he’s based on real managers. How was he pitched to you?
Basically what you just said. [Sarah and Chris] told me stories about Justin Bieber’s manager, who is named Scooter. They were telling me these crazy outrageous stories. Most of their pitch was, “My God, Ken, how do we get to work with you? You’re just delightful. If there’s anything we can do to just work with you? What is it? Can we buy you a croissant? Would you like another double espresso? What about a biscotti?”
Were there other manager stories that got incorporated into Streeter?
The craziest manager story I have is an old manager of mine, we went out after a taping of a show to a Mexican restaurant, we’re sitting in a booth, and I’m talking to him with two other people. Then at a certain point, I looked at him and he was sitting upright, his eyes were closed, and he was out cold sleeping. For a good five minutes, we just sat there and watched him. You know when you wake up and you don’t realize where you are? That weird look on your face like, Where the hell am I? That’s what happened. But that’s the craziest manager story I have.
He was very engaged with you as a client.
He was really enthralled with my experiences of what we shot that night.
In this week’s episode, Streeter sets up a fake relationship for Chase just to promote his music.
That’s a real thing. I guess it’s been done in Hollywood through different forms of media, but it struck me as funny. I think that story was inspired by something that Case had mentioned to Chris and Sarah, or it was in the script and Case was like, “Oh yeah, I witnessed stuff like that.”
Case was a star on Musical.ly before the show. What’s it like to hear about life as an actual teen star?
His character is much more innocent and wide-eyed. Case has learned to be real on top of it, very much on top of it. For me, it just let me know that I’ve hit a point in my life where I’m very disconnected to what the hell’s going on in the world and how things happen, how things go down.
Did you even know about Musical.ly before this?
I’m going to be honest with you because I feel like we’re very good friends at this point. I heard of it, but I forget what it is. It’s a thing where you sing?
It’s sort of a lip-syncing thing, from what I understand.
I know very little about it, but I didn’t realize it was such a huge thing or that people like Case would go on it and do … I don’t know what you do. There’s so many things in social media and on the internet that I don’t get, like ASMR, and this whole thing of people cutting different gooey gelatinous things. Apparently, that’s very satisfying to watch?
It feels like these are all people who could be Streeter’s clients on The Other Two. What do you think the rest of his business is like?
You find out that I represent Justin Theroux for his music. I represent people not for the things that they’re known for. I also think that Streeter’s much more savvy to the whole Chase Dreams world than certainly I am. He’s trying to dress young and be young, but I do think that he’s on top of how it works much more than I am.
Speaking of Justin Theroux’s apartment, do you know if Justin Theroux is aware that his apartment is in the show? Because it’s a very funny interpretation of how he would live.
Absolutely. I just promoted the show on Stephen Colbert, and if you watch, Justin makes a little cameo on my segment. He invited us over to his apartment to watch the show tonight, but everybody’s all over the country, so we weren’t able to go over there. He’s aware of it, he thought it was funny. He texted me a picture of his real boot closet, or his real shoe closet, and it wasn’t far off from the fictionalized version.
How familiar were you with Chris and Sarah before the show? They had been with SNL for awhile, but this is their first stand-alone TV project.
I didn’t know them personally. When I met them, I remember going home to my wife and being like, “I want to do this show simply because of them.” Because they were genuinely good people. I loved how they worked with each other, and just fed off each other when we met. Then I had watched Other People, the movie Chris Kelly wrote and directed with Molly Shannon and Jesse Plemons. It was beautiful and funny and heartwarming and everything you wanted it to be. For me, it was a no-brainer to seize this opportunity because they’re very special.
A key part of the show is that the siblings all actually do like each other. It feels like Streeter wants to be part of that, even though they’re not interested.
Streeter considers himself family, even though nobody in the family considers him family. He’s just trying to be part of it.
Meanwhile, you’re playing the Lehman brothers on Black Monday. What is it like to shoot two characters at once?
It’s crazier and more difficult than I anticipated. When [Black Monday co-creator] David Caspe said, “Do you want to do this?” I was like, “Hell, yeah,” ’cause I had worked with David on Marry Me and he’s another fantastic guy. He was like, “It’s a scene with Don Cheadle,” who I think is one of the great actors. So to do that and then to play twins, I was like, “Yeah, that’ll be fun.” Then when I got there, I was constantly changing back and forth right off camera. Seth [Rogen] had a lot of different ideas, and Evan [Goldberg] had a lot of different ideas. They had a lot of ambitious shots they wanted to do, and they got them all done. I was running back and forth, so by halfway through the day, I thought I was hallucinating. I kept forgetting who I was. To see it all put together was trippy.
Last fall, Hulu announced they’re doing a Veronica Mars revival. Are you going to be involved in that? Is Vinnie Van Lowe is going to pop up?
I didn’t know if I was supposed to say anything, but then Rob Thomas texted me about The Other Two the other day and how much he loved the pilot. I said, “If you do, would you mind texting about it and telling all your followers to watch the new show?” He’s like, “I’d be happy to.” So when he did, somebody asked him the same question you asked me, and he said, “Yes.” So I guess now I can say that I’m in it.
What do you think Vinnie’s life is like now?
He’s become a priest — I’m kidding. But you know, it’s possible. You’re going to have to tune in to see if Vinnie Van Lowe’s a priest.