Showbiz twins are everywhere

A new brood of show business twins is proving that there’s strength in numbers. Country singers The Kinleys, Jennifer and Heather, 27, have earned a Grammy nomination for their first-ever single, “Please.” Comedians Randy and Jason Sklar, 26, stars of last season’s MTV comedy series “Apt. 2F,” just signed a deal with HBO Independent Productions to create and act in a sitcom next year. Then there’s Josh and Jonas Pate, 28, the writer/director duo behind the recent Tim Roth thriller, “Deceiver,” and the Lynns, 33, another rising country singing duo (and the twin daughters of Loretta).

Creativity comes naturally to these duos, especially when one twin seems to know reflexively how the other thinks and performs. “We always feel where the other one’s headed, even on a song we’ve never sung before,” says Jennifer Kinley. In comedy, where timing is everything, it helps that partners Randy and Jason Sklar have been in sync since the day they were born. “Growing up together,” says Randy, “has given us an innate understanding of each other’s rhythms on things.”

Twins who perform together, however, risk having their talent overshadowed by the novelty factor. “We don’t like to be twinny, twinny, twinny,” says Jennifer. The Kinleys dressed alike when they moved to Nashville eight years ago. But they decided to expand their wardrobes in order to widen their audience. “If people who listen to singers like Paula Cole saw an album cover with twins wearing identical flowery dresses, they’d probably roll their eyes,” says Jennifer.

The Sklars, likewise, want their act to transcend the usual twin shtick. “Once you’ve answered questions like, ‘Have you ever pretended to be each other and played tricks on girls?’, it’s like, you’re done,” says Jason. In developing their new sitcom, the Sklars are wary of any exec who tries to cash in on their twinness. Says Randy: “We fight all the time to show people that whatever our TV show becomes, it’s not gonna be the next ‘Brother Brother’ [like the WB’s “Sister, Sister,” starring teen twins Tia and Tamera Mowry]. Mistaken identity won’t be the plot point every time.” That sentiment goes double for Jason.