Humor and intelligence are closely linked, and that couldn’t be truer in the case of the hilariously smart Lucas Bros. Before jumping into their stand up careers, Kenny and Keith Lucas attended top-tier law schools, NYU and Duke, respectively. The chilled-out brothers can be recognized from their gigs in 22 Jump Street, Arrested Development, and their own animated series, Lucas Bros. Moving Co.. Now, they’re about to take on a new sketch show for TruTv, Friends of the People, which premieres tonight Tuesday, October 28 at 10:30 ET/PT. Featuring other comedic gems like Jennifer Bartels and Jermaine Fowler, and with episodes directed by Bobcat Goldthwait, this comedy promises to deliver the laughs.
Paste Magazine recently caught up with the twins to discuss cats, comedy, the aesthetics of animation, what it’s like working with your identical twin, and the importance of culture and humor.
Paste: Did you guys love being twins growing up, or were you those twins who hated being twins?
Keith Lucas: We embraced it immediately. We realized people always grouped us as twins. I mean, our identities were just shaped by it. We never really resisted it. There were times when we had identity crises, but for the most part we were pretty consistent, and embraced it.
Kenny Lucas: We never dressed alike—like, super alike. You know, there are certain aspects of the twin life that we truly appreciate. You get to hang out with your best friend. And you tone down the identicalness as you get older. I’m cool with it.
Keith: I just sort of accepted it. There’s another dude who looks like you, so you can’t shy away from it. You just have to try to embrace it full on, or try to react in a way where you’re not twins, and that just seems like a weird approach to me.
Paste:Was comedy part of your upbringing?
Kenny:b> Keith: Every Thursday night, we would get down and watch Martin, and Living Single, and would talk about it the next day. There was a lot of laughing in our neighborhood. You become a sponge, and you soak it all in. We weren’t even the funniest people on our block. I can probably name ten people that were funnier than us. We don’t look at it as something recreational. It’s literally, a cultural thing to always laugh and tell jokes. Everyone tells jokes. From your grandmother, to your grandfather, to your cousins. Everyone’s always joking. It rubs off on you.
Paste:You guys mention Martin. Are there any other big influences?
Keith: Growing up we were big fans of Seinfeld, and Chappelle’s Show. But as we got a little bit older and more refined we became fans of Bob Newhart. Love The Chris Rock Show. The Smothers Brothers are great. Lots of the comedy in the 60s, we didn’t necessarily grow up with it, but if you go back and watch it—like Lenny Bruce—they’re all fantastic. George Carlin. There’s just so much great comedy out there. Joan Rivers was great. I just knew her as the recent incarnation of Joan Rivers, I didn’t really look back at her old stuff. But looking back, she was remarkable.
Paste:You guys reference a white cat in your comedy. Is that based off anything?
Kenny: We had a cat growing up, her name was Sheba. We loved her dearly, and we lost her. It’s a sad story, but, whatever. We loved her, we love cats.
Paste:Tell me a bit about your career path. You guys are stand-ups, but do you have any improv or acting background?
Kenny: We do a little bit of everything. We have the animated show. We do voice work. We do sketch work. We also do film. We started off as stand-ups. I took a few improv courses before I delved into stand up, but, it was nothing really that serious. I wouldn’t consider myself an improv performer.
Keith: I wrote a few sketches in school, but stand up sort of honed our skills, for sure.
Paste:I really like the animation in your cartoon. Is there an aesthetic influence?
Kenny: We grew up big fans of The Ren & Stimpy Show, The Life and Times of Tim. Just like, a more laid back style, and kind of trippy. You don’t want it to be too cartoony, because it’s rooted in the real world, but you don’t want it to be too scaled back, so that it’s no longer a cartoon.
Keith: Yeah, we were big fans of the 90s Nickelodeon cartoons. You can certainly see that influence and style there. It’s very colorful.
Paste: Bobcat Goldthwait is directing an episode of Friends of the People. What’s it like to work with him?
Kenny: It was fantastic to work with Bobcat. The funny thing is, my only introduction to him was from Police Academy, so I thought he was gonna be a crazy, wild dude. But he’s so subdued and laid back. Just a great director.
Keith: His comedic mind is pretty remarkable. He would let us improv on set, and then he would come in and make sketches better. That’s just from having 30 years of experience in knowing what’s funny.
You can find tour info for the Lucas Bros. on Twitter. The duo will perform this Halloween on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. Friends of the People premieres on TruTV tonight.
Madina Papadopoulos is a New York-based freelance writer, author and regular contributor to Paste. You can follow her on Twitter.