By: Joel Buxton
The Lucas Bros. are a two-man comedy act who have written and performed across the largest platforms in the industry. Not only are they the who’s who, but literally who’s who, because… twins (amiright)?
Whether starring in their own Netflix special (the Lucas Bros. on Drugs), working on their own original show (Lucas Bros. Moving Company), or appearing in huge properties such as 22 Jump Street, Arrested Development, and Lady Dynamite, they clearly don’t have much free time.
We were excited to sit down with Kenny and Keith to talk about life as a twin, the craft of stand-up comedy, and why Brett the Hitman Hart is their role model.
Joel: You performed at Just for Laughs in Montreal this summer, and now you’re in Toronto for JFL 42. Are you finding any differences between U.S. and Canadian comedy culture?
Keith: I would say because Toronto is more cosmopolitan than a lot of the cities in the U.S., you get comedy at a high level, and you get audiences that understand comedy at a high level. So I would say Toronto is closer to a New York in terms of the sophistication of the audience
Kenny: I agree 100% Especially with the Montreals and the Torontos. You can do a dense philosophy joke. We had a philosophy joke we were doing. We started it in Montreal and it was crushing. It was doing well. And then we went to Indiana and [Keith laughs] we tried it, and it just flat-lined. They were not feeling it. So there is a level of sophistication that we find in the cosmopolitan areas of Canada like Toronto.
Joel: You were originally training to be lawyers, which I think you have in common with Dimitri Martin.
Kenny: Yeah, he went to my law school. He went to NYU
Joel: So on that note, have you found any of those skills you learned transferrable to stand-up?
Kenny: I would say that the process of philosophy helped us more with how we engage the comedic process as opposed to law. I think the good thing about law is that you’re sort of forced to entertain things from a different viewpoint. It’s not a commitment to completely valid logic. Sometimes you have to entertain invalid logic. And I think comedy is all about that disruption of logic, which does help for sure.
Joel: You guys act as a duo. Do you find it’s difficult to keep identities separate outside of that, or do you find as it’s become your job that it’s harder to not blend?
Keith: That’s a great question. We’ve kind of dealt with it our entire lives in terms of the merging of our identities, so it only felt natural to do it in Hollywood. But I think as we get a little bit older, we’re starting to want to assert ourselves a little bit more. And we want that to show and reflect in our comedy.
Joel: I noticed in your special you held the mics differently. Was that on purpose or just natural?
Keith: Just a natural way of doing it. Kenny holds it with one hand, and I hold it with two. That’s just how we gravitate toward holding the mics. Those are the little things that differentiate us. And I think as we delve into our personal characteristics a bit more, people have a better understanding of how we are as individuals.
Kenny: We’ve just started questioning the foundations of our relationship. We’ve always just assumed, we’re twins, we live this way. But then there’s some foundational things, like, are we co-dependent? Have we truly matured as adults to the point where we recognize each other’s humanity? How do we infuse that into our comedy… The identity thing is huge for us.
Keith: I go to sleep with my own thoughts, and my own pain, and my own feelings and worries, and I think sometimes you can lose that when you present yourself as this entity.
Kenny: We’re hoping with the next phase of our comedy that we can delve deeper into our differences and make our comedy more nuanced.
Joel: It was neat in your special, I was reading that you guys have it seventy percent pre-planned and thirty percent improv, and I was watching for that. And I noticed the times that you went more improv, you were making a lot of eye contact, almost like you were reading each other’s thoughts.
Keith: [Laughs] Those are the best parts for me onstage when we are able to communicate just through our eyes, building a new idea from nothing onstage. Those are the best moments, of course. And they don’t always get laughs, but that’s okay. It’s not always about the laughs.
Joel: You guys just did your first show the Lucas Bros Moving Co., is there any lesson you’d take away from the first time you do a show that you’d like to share?
Kenny: So much of television is outside your hands. As a comedian, you stand onstage, you write the joke, you deliver it, you get some feedback, you’re so used to that control. And when you get to TV, it’s almost the complete opposite. There’s only so much you can do. So I would say any opportunity you get in TV, just appreciate it. Don’t expect the results to be what you want them to be. You don’t even know if they’re gonna air it… Just try to appreciate the moment you’re in, and not think of the results. Don’t fall in love with anything and don’t have any expectations.
Joel: Speaking of TV and film, you guys have had some fun acting roles, Arrested Development, Lady Dynamite, 22 Jump Street… Do you have any dream projects or people you’d like to work with moving forward?
Keith: I would love to work with the Coen Brothers… Tarantino…
Kenny: We’re working with Judd Apatow now. That’s been remarkable.
Joel: He’s made a couple good movies.
Kenny: [Laughs] Yeah, he’s made a couple good ones. We worked with Mitch Herwood. But I would love to work with Seth Rogan, Donald Glover, just people who are creating work at the top of their level.
Joel: Switching gears to another form of entertainment, I heard you guys are really into wrestling.
Kenny/Keith: Oh yeah.
Joel: When you guys were watching wrestling and growing up with that, are there any elements that you try to bring into stand-up?
Keith: Without a doubt. Wrestling has had a profound impact on how we approach comedy, how we do comedy, even our aesthetic. We adopted our look from the tag team groups from the 80s and 90s, how they dress similarly, and they were interchangeable almost. We thought, ‘let’s do something like that, let’s be the WWE version of a stand-up act.”
Kenny: Brett the Hitman Hart was our favourite wrestler. His approach to wrestling is what we take to comedy. You try to execute as excellently as you can. You give your all to the process and the craft, and you don’t make any excuses. You work hard, and you do your best.
Keith: You can’t cheat the process. Unless you have an identical twin brother [laughs]. I hope when people see us they say that they worked their hardest. It may not have been the best but they did give it their all.
Joel: This is a generic question but I love to ask it: do you have any advice for aspiring comedians?
Keith: I would say if you truly truly love the craft, and you truly truly love comedy, never give up and try to enjoy every aspect of the journey. It’s not gonna always be the greatest experience, but it’s gonna be an experience that a lot of people don’t get to experience. So always remember that it’s a unique experience and try to love every aspect of it
Kenny: That would be my advice. Have no expectations. It’s better to get into it and say, as long as I’m a working comedian, I’m good with that… I wouldn’t want a person to tie their experience with comedy to the results. Comedy is a spiritual thing too. You delve in deep to who you are as a person, just being onstage and telling jokes about your life, that’s self-examination. That’s spiritual. That transcends money and fame or whatever… If you can approach comedy in a more religious way, you’d appreciate it more. So I’d say try to look at it as a spiritual journey and not so much as a means to an end.