Movies & TV
Heléne Yorke Is Comedy Gold
The Canadian-born actor is starring in cult hit series The Other Two.
by : Joanna Fox- Jun 7th, 2023
When we connect via Zoom, I know immediately that I’m going to like Heléne Yorke. We start the conversation joking— but not joking—about how we both may look put together onscreen but that it’s a bit of an illusion. Yorke confesses that she noticed her shirt had a grease stain on it right before coming on camera, and I admit that from the waist down my outfit is leggings and Crocs. “I just put on pants a minute ago,” she tells me, laughing.
Yorke is just as funny as I thought she would be—and if you’ve seen her on the often cheeky and hilarious HBO Max series The Other Two, which premiered its third season this past May, you likely aren’t surprised either. The show, which co-stars Drew Tarver, Molly Shannon, Ken Marino and Wanda Sykes, is about a brother and sister (Tarver and Yorke) who are dealing with the Justin Bieber-level fame of their little brother, the rising daytime-television-host career of their mother (Shannon) and her overzealous talent-agent boyfriend (Marino)—all while trying to find their own place in the world.
Yorke was born in Vancouver and moved to the U.S. shortly after, but her family is originally from Winnipeg, and she still frequents her parents’ summer cottage there. “It’s so funny trying to explain Canadian cottage culture to people in the U.S.,” says Yorke. “They’re like, ‘Oh, you have a lake house,’ and I’m like, ‘Relax, it’s basically leaning and falling off its supports, you don’t drive your car there—you only ride a bicycle—you swim in a lake and you get yeast infections weekly,’” she says with a laugh. “That’s how it goes.”
A natural performer, Yorke grew up wanting to dance and sing, and at one point she wanted to be a ballet dancer. “But then I realized what that entails,” she says, “and I was like, ‘I don’t want to do that.’” She went to school for musical theatre at the University of Michigan and then made her way to Broadway, but when she was working on a production of Bring It On: The Musical in Atlanta, she broke her ankle. “I was learning how to do backflips, and I was like, ‘What am I doing?’” says Yorke. “I’m a Canadian who’s meant to be digging potatoes—I can’t do a backflip. But I attempted it anyway, broke my ankle and was like, ‘I guess I should do TV.’”
She went back home to L.A., where she was living at the time, and, because of her new full-leg cast, got her mom to drive her to auditions. Nothing happened right away, but Yorke kept telling herself that things were going to get better. Eventually, she landed a recurring role in Masters of Sex, which led to parts in Graves, The Good Fight and High Maintenance. But she couldn’t turn her back on her love of theatre, so she also worked in some major productions, like Bullets Over Broadway and American Psycho. When she got the script for The Other Two, though, she immediately knew she wanted to be a part of the project. “It’s so rare to read something you really like and think, ‘If I don’t get this, I’m going to cry for a week,’” says Yorke. “There’s so much great TV out there, but you’re right for only so many characters. And I felt so right for this, which is both embarrassing and lucky.”
Yorke’s character, Brooke Dubek, is constantly struggling to be a good person, which makes her extremely fun to watch because you keep thinking that Brooke won’t dare go there—and then she does. “She’s deeply flawed, but I feel that she’s all of us,” says Yorke. “Do you ever have a nasty habit? Or a dark little secret? And then you see a meme and realize that everybody is on the same page as you? It sort of feels like Brooke is everybody’s little secret. She’s a good person, just maybe not on paper.”
The show, which first came out in 2019 on Comedy Central, wasn’t immediately available in Canada (it’s now streaming on Crave), and a lot of fans discovered it during the early days of the pandemic. Although it might have taken a bit of time for viewers to catch on to this gem, there’s definitely lots of buzz around the show’s third season. “[Being on] HBO Max just means that we have a broader audience because people are able to stream it,” says Yorke. “I can feel that people are pumped to see [season three]. That’s so gratifying because you want people to feel that way about your work.”
Created by Chris Kelly and Sarah Schneider—both former Saturday Night Live writers—The Other Two has become a cult comedy hit with its laugh-out-loud jokes, pitch-perfect banter and, of course, amazing cast. “It’s a lightning-in-a-bottle situation,” says Yorke. “To have a cast that genuinely loves each other, our creators and the writing so much—I would do this show forever.” Since its storylines are connected with the entertainment industry (and since the show’s creators definitely have some serious connections), it’s ripe for celebrity guests, and they seem to up the ante every season. Along with several SNL cast members, Kathie Lee Gifford, Hoda Kotb, Mario Lopez, Andy Cohen, Patrick Wilson, Debi Mazar, Alessia Cara, Simu Liu, Edie Falco and Kiernan Shipka all drop in on episodes, playing themselves. “I think people get excited about being on [the show],” says Yorke. “Like, ‘Hell, yeah, I’ll come play myself.’ There are a lot of people who you know and love, and it’s just silly.”
For now, Yorke, who currently lives in New York with her husband and almost-one-year-old son, is looking forward to heading back to the cottage in Winnipeg this summer and simply enjoying the fact that The Other Two is out in the world again. “It’s really nice that people come up to me now and tell me they love the show,” she says. “I was having dinner with my husband, and this woman was like, ‘We’re not supposed to do this, but I love the show.’ And I’m here to tell you—and I say this in every interview I do—if you love the show, please tell me. I absolutely love hearing it. Bother me. It’s the greatest.”
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