SOCIAL STUDIES: THE LUCAS BROTHERS
by John Richards (@jrichards202)
Bored with law school, identical twins Kenny and Keith Lucas dropped out and started doing stand-up. That’s probably not the career path their parents would have chosen for them but it’s worked out so far. What started out as trying something “different” has turned the Lucas brothers into The Lucas Brothers: regulars on the New York City comedy club scene and comedy clubs across the country and finalist on NBC’s Stand Up For Diversity. They were recently featured in Rolling Stone Magazine’s “Hot List” and have appeared on HBO’s Funny as Hell, at the Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and NBA 2K13: Talkin 2K.
They’re currently working on projects for Comedy Central and Fox (more on that later). The Couch Sessions caught up with comedy duo ahead of their two shows at the Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse to discuss comedy and politics, sports and their unhealthy obsession with Brett “The Hitman” Hart.
The Couch Sessions: Can your parents tell you apart? I looked at your press pictures, and I can’t. Are there any distinguishing marks? Anything that anybody can use to tell you guys apart?
Keith Lucas: Our Mom has it down to a science; she knows the part, just based on voice alone probably. I don’t know, [to Kenny] what do you think?
Kenny Lucas: I think our Mom, she only calls us “Kenny and Keith”, and so I’m not sure if she knows. It seems like she knows though, but she could just be like a really good guesser, like she’s like an expert guesser.
Keith: She must be great at it, I think she knows. But there’s a mark that distinguishes us, Kenny has a mole. But now that we wear hats all the time, that doesn’t really work anymore.
The Couch Sessions: You both have beards, who has the better beard?
Keith: Kenny has a longer beard; I think my beard has more personality though.
The Couch Sessions: [Laughs] So, who’s the oldest?
Kenny: I’m a little older by like 5 or 10 minutes. I don’t know exactly.
The Couch Sessions: You guys are originally from North Carolina, what part?
Keith: We were raised in the High Point, North Carolina. We were born in Jersey, Newark, New Jersey, but we moved down to North Carolina when we were like 6 or 7.
Kenny: We were real young; we were pretty much raised there. We went elementary, middle and high school in High Point, North Carolina.
The Couch Sessions: Okay. So you guys go through undergrad, do two years of law school, and then drop out to do comedy. What did your Mom think about that?
Keith: Our Mom was just happy when we graduated high school, all this other stuff was just like icing on the cake. Not that she didn’t care, but she was always supportive of everything that we did.
Kenny: She just wanted us to be happy.
Keith: Yeah, she’s just happy we’re staying out of the streets and being positive. We could’ve of been plumbers and she would of been happy with that.
The Couch Sessions: I think most parents feel that as long as you’re happy, and can pay off those student loans, they’re fine with whatever you do.
Keith: Absolutely. I mean she was concerned that maybe it wouldn’t work out. And we didn’t have any money and shit like that. But once shit turned around, she was cool with it.
The Couch Sessions: How long have you guys been doing comedy?
Keith: I think we’re going into our, [to Kenny] what is it, our third year?
Kenny: Third year.
Keith: Yeah, we’re going into our third year.
The Couch Sessions: Who are some of your influences? Who inspired you guys to get into comedy?
Keith: That’s a good question; [to Kenny] do you want to talk about that one?
Kenny: One of my general influences is Larry David. Seinfeld was huge. I always wanted to figure out a way where I could do comedy that way, he was a huge influence. In terms of stand up, it would have to be Dave Chappelle, Chris Rock…
Keith: Dave Chappelle is probably the most pivotal influence. I owe a second to Woody Allen, Larry David, you know, those guys who not only did stand-up, but they were able to create movies or TV shows that also express their comedy, and they did it in a very smart way. So, I would say the top three would be Woody Allen, Larry David, and Dave Chappelle.
The Couch Sessions: You guys have been at it for three years. Every comic bombs. Tell me about the first time you guys bombed.
Keith: Oh man, there’s so many of them. The epic one was like our fourth time getting onstage, so we were really stupid. We invited our whole family and my girlfriend…
Kenny: Yeah, his girlfriend, it was like…go ahead…
Keith: It was a huge coming out party, man. Everybody was there. Friends, family and we just I mean…I don’t remember laughter, I don’t remember getting a single laugh…
Keith: [Laughs] I remember my girlfriend breaking up with me immediately afterward. You know you had a bad performance when your Mom says “maybe you guys should think about going back to law school.”
The Couch Sessions: Yeah, that was my next question; did law school ever come back into the picture?
Kenny: [Laughs] Uh, yeah.
Keith: Absolutely. All my friends were like recommending it and they were doin’ it in a passive-aggressive way. But it was crazy man, it was so bad, we got heckled and the heckler got more laughs than us.
The Couch Sessions: Before the election, Bill Mayer said “if Obama wins, America wins and if Romney wins, comedy wins.” Do you guys think that there would’ve been more material with a Republican president?
Keith: Absolutely man, there’s so much more material. It’s like it’s so hard to really say anything about Obama, because he’s trying his best and he’s a cool dude. What are you going to say about him?
Kenny: Obama’s so awesome. You don’t have any jokes on Obama.
Keith: The Republicans, they’re all just lunatics, man. [Laughs] They’re just crazy people. I mean, just look how much comedy came from Mitt Romney’s campaign.
Kenny: Everything he said, a “binder full of women” [Laughs]. Obama has never said anything that funny.
The Couch Sessions: [Laughs] I can remember half watching the debates, half paying attention, and out of nowhere I hear “binder full of women”…
Kenny: [Laughs] We were trying to figure out, where does that even come from?!? You don’t think it was liberal media bias? I don’t know. Maybe it was liberal media bias.
The Couch Session: A while ago, you guys were giving a friend a hard time on Facebook; I think that he still had an iPhone 3 or whatever…
Keith: [Laughs] Yeah, yeah, yeah…
The Couch Sessions: When it comes to your comedy, is any and everything fair game for you guys to put in your routine?
Keith: Well, we try to keep it really silly. We don’t wanna make it too serious. It’s not that we don’t have things that are off the table. But there are some things that we just wouldn’t talk about. We don’t care; we don’t get offended by anything. You can say whatever the fuck you want, I don’t care what you say. But I just find that it’s weird if you think of a topic that you know will probably offend people, if you don’t have a great joke. If you don’t have a great joke with a great punch line, then don’t touch the topic. That’s how I see it.
Kenny: Because you see a lot of comics trying to, like, they’ll see Louis CK do a great joke about rape. Then they’ll try to like do a joke about rape, but it’s just not funny at all. It’s not clever.
Kenny: It’s just like offensive. So I feel like if you do that offensive stuff man, you gotta make sure you’re a master of the craft.
Keith: And we’re not quite there yet, so we’re, we’re not even gonna try to those topics until we make it to that level, if we even ever make it to that level.
The Couch Sessions: Do you guys think Romney was watching Louis CK when he came up with the “binder full of women” line?
Keith: [Laughs] Was that the inspiration? We can blame him [Louis CK] for that.
The Couch Sessions: [Laughs] How did you guys hook up with NBA 2K13?
Keith: An advertising firm called, they saw our Fallon set and I guess they assumed we really liked sports because there was a joke we had about the WNBA. They contacted our manager and they were just trying to figure out what they can use us for.
The Couch Sessions: You guys big sports fans?
Kenny: Huge, man.
Keith: Huge sports fans, mainly basketball though.
The Couch Sessions: Okay, just to break it up a little bit, I have a couple sports questions for you guys. Duke or North Carolina?
The Couch Sessions: Jordan, Kobe or LeBron?
The Couch Sessions: Are you guys just saying that just because you’re from North Carolina?
Keith: Partially, yeah.
Keith: It plays into it a little bit [Laughs].
The Couch Sessions: I’m from DC, so I have a totally different view of Jordan. I remember him as the fat general manager.
Keith: That makes sense.
Kenny: I blocked that out.
Keith: I don’t even remember anything after ‘97.
Kenny: It’s like Family Matters, you only remember the first few seasons.
The Couch Sessions: Ok, this next question is going to determine how the rest of this interview is going to go.
The Couch Sessions: Brett Hart or Ric Flair?
Keith: Brett Hart.
Kenny: Brett Hart.
Keith: Brett “The Hit Man” Hart.
The Couch Sessions: I’m going to make the argument for the greatest wrestler of all time being Ric Flair…
Keith: No, no, no, I can agree with that argument. I can agree that he might be the greatest of all time, definitely top two, he was great. But Brett Hart, man…we have a special place in our heart for that guy. He’s our childhood hero so we gotta go with him.
The Couch Sessions: Brett is definitely top five, I’ll give you that. I spent time in North Carolina as a kid as well, stayed with my great aunt and we watched Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling EVERY Saturday, Ric Flair is God down there.
Kenny: Oh we saw Ric Flair once; he came to our high school. I think it was a women’s basketball game. He was just like, there. I was looking for the limousine and the helicopter. I didn’t see it though.
Keith: I think he had a Ford Focus [Laughs].
The Couch Sessions: It was a rental car day; the helicopter was in the shop.
Kenny: [Laughs] I was really disappointed man.
The Couch Sessions: Ok, let’s get back on track. You guys have been doing comedy for three years, you’ve accomplished a lot: finalists on NBC’s Stand Up For Diversity…
Keith: Yeah, no white people [Laughs].
The Couch Sessions: [Laughs] You’ve performed at the Montreal Comedy Festival and you’ve appeared on HBO’s Funny As Hell and Late Night With Jimmy Fallon. What’s the biggest moment for you guys so far?
Keith: Yeah, so, we’re doing this animation show with Fox and I think that’s the thing that we’re really happy about. Because it’s fucking animation and its dope. But it’s a way that we can express our comedy that has no boundaries. So you’re gonna see our complete vision, and it’s gonna be really dope. So I’m most happy about that and the fact I live in Greenpoint [Brooklyn, NY], so that’s pretty much it.
Kenny: I think Fallon was a big moment for us…
Keith: Fallon was huge.
Kenny: We’ve always, I don’t want to say dreamed about doing late night, but it was something that was one of those goals that we wanted to accomplish and the fact that it went over so well made it even better. But, like he [Keith] said, I think the animation thing is probably the biggest [moment], now we get to actually throw out our complete vision. I feel like with stand-up there are some limitations, but with animation, you [can] do whatever you want and it could be even be sillier and you still can get your point across. I think the animation show is gonna be awesome.
The Couch Sessions: You guys beat me to my next question. The word is you guys are not only working with Fox but you’re also developing a web series with Comedy Central.
Keith: Yeah, it’s called the Super Late Morning Show; it’s a web series and our version of a morning show. It’s pretty weird and skews toward the interest of people that smoke pot; it’s not a stoner comedy though. We do a lot of sports stuff. Gonna be released in March, I think. We’re excited about that too; it’s another opportunity for us to get our comedy out there.
The Lucas Brothers – Arlington Cinema & Draft House / Fri., March 7 & Sat., March 8.