The Lucas Brothers Run America’s Weirdest Family Business
The identical twins are scrambling to produce as much comedy as possible while America is still paying attention.
Keith and Kenny Lucas didn’t plan on spending their lives telling jokes. While pursuing law degrees – Keith at Duke and Kenny at NYU – the identical twins started talking about what they could do that would be more fun than working at a firm. The big answer was anything, but they drilled down on it and decided that comedy was a best fit for their shared skill sets. They started performing around Manhattan and eventually got themselves cast in the predictably hit comedy 22 Jump Street. Now that America knows their face (Kenny has a mole but generally hides it under a hat) the New York-based comics are doubling down on television. Their sketch show Friends of the People has premiered on truTV and season two of Lucas Bros Moving Co., their animated show on FXX, kicks off in early 2015.
Maxim talked to the twins about their pop culture obsessions, balancing comedy and philosophy, and their performance-enhancing drug of choice.
Is coming in a set of two a comedic advantage?
Keith: It’s a uniqueness, but, at the end of the day, in comedy it comes down to the jokes. There are other twin comics out there who aren’t doing what we’re doing and it shows because of the style and the demeanor. A lot of it plays into making a technique and you can bounce stuff off each other.
Kenny: We’re still competitive against one another and I think that raises the stakes. I don’t even think we compete with other comics as much as each other. If Kenny writes a joke, that’s great, but I feel compelled to write a joke that’s better.
Not many comedians can say they made it to law school either.
Kenny: We can think a little more left field with our jokes because of our philosophy background. Joke tellers and philosophy go hand in hand. They follow a form and it helps us understand structure a lot quicker than other comedians.
Keith: Our knowledge of nineties pop culture is pretty unmatched too. Well, specifically black culture. And we’re really obsessive, we could spend hours working on one joke.
What provides you with the inspiration for a really great set?
Keith: The work of Bob Newhart, The Coen Brothers, Larry David, Dave Chappelle. Oh, and marijuana. Definitely marijuana.
Do you prefer live-action comedy or are you more comfortable animating yourselves?
Kenny: It’s a lot easier to shape your ideas when you’re working with animation.
Keith: I prefer animation too. Acting on screen is tiring and you’re limited. The show truly captures our comedic voice and it’s honest and authentic. It’s the most pure form of the Lucas Brothers out there.
But you’re taking a completely different route with Friends of the People.
Keith: That’s a sketch show we’re working on with seven groovy, unique voices so it’s a great blend that’s very New York. We may not have the same styles but we have similar backgrounds that come across in the show. We do a lot of 90’s references though, it’s our bread and butter. We ride it to the bank.
Kenny: I believe the show is different. You have stand up comics doing sketch which is different so there will be a whole new take on it. It instantly draws attention from similar shows like MADTv or SNL but the difference is that it’s not live.
Sounds like a lot to handle. Are you guys just striking while the iron’s hot?
Kenny: Aside from the shows we’re working on a book deal and our one-hour special, but that’s not going to come out for a year. Plus we have so many movie ideas. We’re working on as much as possible before people lose interest in us.
Keith: It seems like a lot, but by the end of my career, I want to say I did everything I could possibly do and had fun with my brother. And that some people liked it.