Wrestling, Weed, and Comedy with the Lucas Brothers
In a Venn diagram where one circle is weed and one is wrestling, at the intersection you’ll find Keith and Kenny Lucas.
The identical twin standup comedians are passionate about both, which is apparent if you’ve spent any time watching their funny and surreal animated show, Lucas Bros. Moving Co., now in its second season on FXX.
The Lucas Brothers also star in the sketch show Friends of the People on TruTV, and are developing a live-action autobiographical show for Fox. They are about as busy as stoner, wrestling nerds can be.
I recently had the chance to talk to the Lucas Brothers about their shows, wrestling, and why 90s nostalgia is in full force.
First things first, can we talk about the Royal Rumble? A lot of people are upset about Roman Reigns. Lots of talk happening.
Keith: Initially I was pretty upset about the Royale Rumble, but now that I’ve had some time to reflect I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing. I think it’s time for the WWE to start pushing new faces. Roman Reigns is a decent guy. I feel like he can develop into someone with a little more charisma. It’s sort of like Diesel in ’94 when he got that push. He wasn’t as good as Shawn Michaels or Bret (Hart), but I think he evolved into a really charismatic wrestler.
You guys still have plenty of wrestling in the storylines of Lucas Bros. Moving Co.? Any new ones in Season 2?
Kenny: I mean, yeah, we have a ton of wrestling. [Laughs.] I don’t think we can avoid it.
Jake “the Snake” Roberts was a big part of Season 1. Is he back?
Kenny: Oh yeah, he’s back. He kind of has his own episode this season.
He’s getting out there now. I see his name performing in comedy rooms.
Keith: It’s so great to see. Last year he had that diagnosis with cancer and it’s kind of gone away now. It’s great to see him back up and working.
Any other wrestlers on the show this season?
Keith: Well we have Eric Andre playing Papa Shango. Does that count?
Anytime you have Papa Shango involved, I’m on board. We might have talked about this before, but there are so many comedians who love wrestling. What’s the draw? And it’s the WWE particularly. There doesn’t seem to be nearly as many comedians into UFC.
Keith: I have a general theory that we’re all nerds growing up. I would say 80 percent of comedians were probably nerds. They were passionate about comics, or The Simpsons, or wrestling or some combination of the three. When we grew up comedy was the best outlet to let out your nerdom. If you look at Patton Oswalt, he’s a huge nerd. I think his influence spread among the comedians.
Kenny: Definitely. I don’t know if there was a connection between watching wrestling and going into comedy, but wrestling is so comedic. Most people who watch it think it’s silly. I think there’s a natural progression toward, “I want to do something that’s similar to wrestling, but I can’t wrestle ‘cause I’m just not big enough or strong enough, so I’m gonna be a comedian.” I can be a different persona, I can kinds shoot promos on stage and I can be a different character. It’s fun.
So if you guys had different genetics and perhaps a little more bulk you’d be wrestlers.
Keith: Totally. If I was 6’4″, I would have been a wrestler. No doubt about it.
Kenny: Yeah, we did backyard wrestling when we were in high school so we had a taste of it. It was pretty fun, but I almost screwed up my back doing it so I don’t think I was built to be a professional wrestler.
You guys are among the more high profile die-hard wrestling fans. Has the WWE ever reached out about working together? Something cross-promotional?
Keith: Well not really because a lot of our stuff deals with weed culture and we’re pretty sure the WWE doesn’t want to promote drugs in any fashion. I think once we tone down our weed stuff we might be able to get something going.
Kenny: But then we’d have to stop being who we are. [Laughs.]
I was going to ask, is it even possible for you to tone down the weed stuff?
Keith: I don’t know man. Even if I’m not smoking I do want to promote it. I strongly believe weed should be legalized. It would be hard for me to compromise for wrestling.
Anything else about Season 2? You got any new characters, new special guests?
Keith: Yeah man, we’re gonna have the girls from Broad City, Abbi and Ilana. We got the guys from Workaholics, we got a bunch of our friends from 22 Jump Street. And the usual guys Hannibal Buress, Eric Andre, Jerrod Carmichael.
Kenny: Danny Brown is back for another episode and Action Bronson, and Questlove. We got some rappers in there.
How do you like the shift to the new time slot? It’s better to be on a Thursday than the weekend, right?
Keith: Absolutely, and now it’s on cable too. The show just makes more sense on cable. Thursday is a better timeslot for sure.
You bringing on any new writers this year?
Kenny: Sean O’Connor is back to help us write it, and Danny Solomon, Chris Goodwin, Mookie Thompson. We got pretty much the same team.
And you guys are involved with another show, Friends of the People, which is a sketch show. So you have one narrative show and one sketch show. Do you find yourselves better at writing one over the other?
Kenny: I prefer narrative. It’s fun to tell the complete story. Sketch is fun but it’s so random at times. You write a sketch and then you just chuck it. It’s a little more like standup in that regard. With narrative, we get to do character development and stuff like that.
Keith: Yeah, I think I prefer narrative as well. Something a longer story and developing the character that’s so intriguing. You sort of get invested in the characters more than you do with sketch.
The focus with sketch now seems to be, “Can this go viral?”
Keith: Absolutely. It’s always in the back of your mind now. We’re always thinking, “Is this going to be the one?”
I saw Friends of the People got picked up for a second season as well. Congrats. You guys are busy.
Kenny: Yeah, it’s better to be busy than not busy. It can all end at any moment.
I know your standup takes a hit when you have all these other projects to work on. Is that a tough adjustment?
Keith: Unfortunately it does have that impact. Some people are able to do it all. Like Louis CK. He’s an animal, but he’s got like 25 years of standup behind him. It ultimately depends on how you manage your time. I look at it as standup is always going to be there. The stage is always going to be there.
Tell me about your new project, A Better Bushwick. Is that still in the development stage?
Kenny: Yeah, we’re still in development. You know how that goes. It’s with a network so it’s even longer. It’s been like two years now. We’ve been going back and forth with the network and then they had a regime change. I don’t know, you hope that in the next year it will see the light of day, but in my mind I’m always skeptical of this process. If we don’t go the network route we’ll probably just go cable. Cable seems to move a lot faster.
Do you have the pilot finished?
Kenny: Yeah, we submitted the pilot last week. So now we’re waiting on notes, or when they want to shoot it. We’re just in limbo at this point. Development limbo.
It seems like Bushwick alone is a great character for a tv show.
Kenny: There’s so much happening in Bushwick right now with the creative ideas and forces surrounding the neighborhood. It’s great.
Keith: The street art is incredible. We want to get that on camera because it will look beautiful.
You guys are children of the 90s, and it’s evident in a lot of your work. It seems like the 90s are back in popular culture. Do you feel fortunate to have grown up during that era?
Keith: I think people from every decade say no one is going to top this decade. I think a lot of kids who grew up in the 90’s are starting to get prominent creative roles…I would agree that in the 90s, we pre-dated the internet. We were the last decade without the internet.
Kenny: We were the last television generation. Now it’s not like that. I don’t know what’s going to happen. There’s too much information out there now.
Keith: It’s kind of a bummer. I would hate to be a kid now.
Yeah, they have no time to really absorb anything because there’s too much information being thrown at them. It’s hard to be invested in anything.
Keith: How is anything deemed interesting now? With so much information how is anything interesting? We’ve totally lost the element of mystery. I’m starting to sound like an old man now. [Laughs.]
You guys got any other acting projects coming up? Were you able to parlay any of the success from 22 Jump Street into more roles?
Kenny: There aren’t a lot of roles out there for identical twins. [Laughs.] No, we’ve been so busy with the TV show so we’ve been taking it easy.
Keith: I don’t fashion myself as an actor. It was one of those things that just happened. I didn’t look at it as “Oh look, here’s my big break as a comedic actor.”
You guys are like, “actor? No man, we’re showrunners.”
Kenny: That’s right, I’m a creator/writer. I act when I have to. [Laughs.] I’m not Daniel Day-Lewis and I don’t think ever will be.
The Lucas Bros Moving Co. airs Thursdays at midnight on FXX.
Photo by Mindy Tucker.
Phil Davidson writes about, performs, and produces comedy.