Colin and Terry and Wolf are identical triplets. Well, at least that’s what everyone on Triplets of Kings County seems to believe wholeheartedly despite a complete lack of resemblance between the three.
“Well, Terence and I are actual brothers,” explained Colin O’Brien, who plays the curly maned “Colin” on the trio’s web series. Colin IRL also rocks a curly coif, but that’s about where the similarities end. Whereas “Colin” is a wide-eyed, 18-year-old New York City transplant byway of the Midwest, Colin, along with co-star Michael Wolf, is an actor/comic and regular at the Upright Citizens Brigade. All three actors share producing chops.
We caught up with the trio in Williamsburg last night where they were hosting the Local Filmmakers Showcase, a weekly series happening at Videology. On view was the Triplets’ holiday eppy, which premiered this past weekend along with a slew of other Brooklyn-based web series. “They’re all made by either friends or people we know from comedy,” Michael Wolf explained. “This is the sort of stuff where it’s like, in five years I wouldn’t be surprised if they have a TV show.”
While it seems every other person in Brooklyn has a web series, many are either totally incoherent (guilty) or closely resemble comedies we’re all very familiar with. But Triplets takes a different approach. “There are a lot of web series that are a version of Broad City or a version of Louis, which is great, that’s something that people are doing really well,” Michael said. “But we wanted to do something that was a little bit different—that’s why we did the supernatural thing.”
The web series is a self-described “supernatural comedy,” and serves up a heady dose of absurdity with a hint of slapstick. “We thought it would also be fun to balance it out with bold-faced plainness,” Michael explained. “Our characters are very dumb like the Marx Brothers and in these incredible moments they are still very oblivious.”
“We’re lovable dumb boys,” Colin added. “A friend told me it’s like watching people trying to act normal in very abnormal situations.”
In episode one, the brothers ignore the advice of their landlord to promptly organize a house warming party to exorcise any bad juju lingering in their new apartment. The guys fail to organize one until the last minute, mainly because they don’t really have any friends, but realize their efforts are too little too late when a ghost named Edward suddenly appears. But Edward is no ordinary ghost—Edward is actually the most boring ghost you’ve ever met.
“He’s a ghost, but he’s not scary,” Colin said. “And he’s not cool or friendly, he’s more like a roommate that you don’t know how to relate to. That’s our biggest problem with him, is that we find him boring.”
“Like ghosts are scary, but what’s more like a real, tangible fear is having to live with someone who you have nothing in common with,” Michael said. “They’re the worst, they don’t do anything wrong they’re just boring and terrible.”
Taking real-life scenarios and spinning them into absurd situations is the show’s formula. A recurring theme is the characters’ inability to come up with $600 for renting out their shared one-bedroom apartment. Not only are the characters nonplussed as to how they’re supposed to come up with the money, but Colin at least seems to have a thin grasp on the concept of rent as a monthly fee you pay to live somewhere.
Then there are the less probable plot lines, such as the birth of Billy Corgan via Terry’s urethra.
“There are a lot of web series trying to deal with ‘real life,'” Colin said. “But they maybe don’t have the experiences for it to be super compelling.”
“Yeah, you’re 23—there’s only so much you can say about life,” Michael added.
While Triplets is definitely low-budget the production quality is impressive. “We had no money,” Colin laughed. But thankfully all three writers have worked in film production for several years and have an assortment of friends and colleagues to draw on. “There’s not much you can do for them at this level,” Michael admitted. “But you can respect people’s time, and you can get them fed. So we worked hard to do that.”
Occasionally, the trio didn’t hesitate to hand over the reigns to the directors and crew. “They could pretty much do whatever they wanted,” Terence said. “We let them go a little crazy with it.”
A lack of funds necessitated a little bit of flexibility when it came to locations. Terence’s real life apartment serves as the triplet’s haunted digs, and there’s a great deal of outdoor shots, but once in a while the crew said ‘fuggit’ and waltzed into places uninvited. “We got a lot of cool locations—shooting in attics and start-ups that don’t belong to us and we’re not allowed to be in,” Michael said.
“Yeah sometimes there were cleaning crews waiting for us like, ‘Uh can we clean now?'” Colin laughed. “And we were like ‘No, not yet. No, please?'”
And as comics, they had no problem putting together a cast either. “It was great to have it that way, where you would invite people and not have to worry about, oh are they going to nail it or even do justice to it? We just got to sit back and watch, and that was really fun,” Michael said.
Creating the characters became something of collaborative effort that extended well beyond the three writers. Being sketch comics, each actor contributed a certain level improvisation. “We wrote the characters and thought about who would be a good match,” Michael said. “Everyone brought something really great to it and just took it to a whole new level.”
“Each one of the three of us had a hand at writing a draft of each episode and after that we’d all go back and do a draft together,” Michael explained of their writing process.
“We wanted to make the scripts really good,” Terence said. “But it was also just a lot of fun to get up early on the weekends and sit around with your friends all day and write.”
“For something so dumb, we really did put a lot of time into it,” Colin added.
The triplets have just started the writing process anew for season two, and promise to bring back some characters like Edward the boring ghost and the Mayor. In the mean time you can catch the first season of Triplets of Kings County here.