In The Lucas Brothers’ first Netflix special, On Drugs, Keith and Kenny Lucas riff on life, career decisions, police etiquette, weed, twin anomalies, and even professional wrestling.
Like other famous comedic fraternal icons like the Marx Brothers and the Smothers Brothers, these guys are light on their feet — you don’t see the comedy hammer coming.
Their act is a clever wending of intellect and unusual observations which is served up in a laconic set far less frenetic than anything Groucho and Chico ever dished.
These guys are a quiet riot, a nerd-storm of classic WWE appreciation who interestingly also collect vintage American political pins just for the irony of the era’s message.
They almost weren’t a comedy thing. The power of twin DNA and that whole phenomenon of sharing a womb and shared prenatal cells made being apart a tough road to travel.
For the first time in their life, they were apart after college. Grad school sent Kenny to NYU and Keith enrolled at Duke.
Kenny freaked first, found the standup was alluring and then reeled Keith back to him, with both experiencing anxiety in different ways being apart.
They quit law school when the two realized that they wanted to make money together, and have some fun doing it.
The Lucas Brothers’ new Netflix special hits on many of the current affairs, especially interfacing with police and how to handle it.
One of their segments talks up a cop who stopped them, inspiring fear, only to have the officer break into a wide smile and ask for a selfie because the two were in the film 22 Jump Street.
They said: “So we realized how to solve the problem of police brutality…you just gotta give every black dude a two to five-minute cameo in a movie with Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum.”
The brothers are hits in the animation world too, with Fox stoner favorite cartoon Lucas Bros. Moving Co.
They also featured in the excellent “White Trash” episode of the critically acclaimed comedy Lady Dynamite with Maria Bamford.
As The Lucas Brothers: On Drugs begins streaming today on Netflix, Monsters and Critics spoke to Keith and Kenny, and learned what their wrestling finishing move would be…
Monsters and Critics: Let’s talk about the set of your Netflix special — our 37th president Nixon. Don’t you miss when Republicans at least appeared sane instead of now in their current state of affairs?
Kenny Lucas: Let’s track the history of the Republican Party going back to the 1970s — I think Richard Nixon was the start of the modern conspiratorial insane Republicans.
Maybe [Barry] Goldwater was the start, but it crystallized with Nixon. Now we are well beyond the pale. Now we have Trump.
So it’s like…I don’t know what happens after Trump.
M&C: I noticed you were wearing old political pins. Who had the Goldwater button on and who had the Kerry-Edwards one?
Keith Lucas: In terms of the political trend, we hope that those two just sort of cancel out both parties.
Especially with the war on drugs — they both were pretty complicit in pushing policies that were detrimental to drug abusers.
We feel like it’s good to place the blame on both parties as opposed to singling out the Republicans. We had to balance it out.
M&C: All drugs aren’t created equal. Do you find edibles to be far more unpredictable than smoking? Why is pot not such a big deal?
Kenny: I was always very skeptical about edibles because I wasn’t exactly certain how much and the concentration of the THC.
But I think as we get regulated and we become more informed about its powers and we have more scientific research on which strains are the toughest, I think that makes me more inclined to, like, trash it out, right?
I don’t know, I think ultimately I prefer to smoke joints. I just don’t trust edibles.
Keith: I certainly prefer grass over edibles but I do believe it’s regulated good enough and you can figure out the potency, and maintain a level of safety that allows people to indulge, and not over indulge…
Kenny: What I think should happen with weed is that…it’s a schedule one [drug], which is preposterous.
We can make a more concerted effort to decriminalize the drug, but that’s not gonna happen now. It was looking like it was going that way, now that’s not going to happen.
Keith: So many people smoke pot, it’s becoming absurd that it’s still criminalized and in the same vein as heroin. But it is what it is.
M&C: Your Netflix special touches on Mr. Deion Sanders. Is he with you on the joke? Any contact from him?
Kenny: Oh! Certainly not [laughs]. Look, I lost a little love for Deion Sanders when he left the 49ers to go play for Dallas, so I had a little bit of hatred for him after that…
Keith: Oh a LOT of hatred…[laughing]
Kenny: There’s a lot of animosity towards Prime Time so, yeah, he’s not in on the joke and we don’t give a shit [laughter from both].
M&C: Comedically, who are your gurus?
Kenny: Excellent question, I would say as a guru…I really love Seinfeld and Larry David. I really love how they deconstruct comedy, also, you know…
Keith: Yeah, I mean, I love comedians who don’t stay within the form, so…Andy Kaufman, and Kenny mentioned Larry David, and Seinfeld, and Chappelle when it comes to sketch comedy.
Any comedians that push the envelope and don’t stay within what’s expected we would sort of gravitate towards. But we don’t like to confine it to particulars.
M&C: Don Rickles just died. Some comics really took it hard, What did you think of his work?
Kenny: I loved Don Rickles. He almost invented a style of comedy, right? The insult comedy genre wasn’t really as fleshed out until he got on the scene and then he made an entirely new form of comedy. He’s the father of that.
Keith: He’s a pioneer. So even if some of his jokes don’t really hold up, I mean, as a comedian you have to respect the fact that, as Kenny said, he sort of pushed the genre to where it is now, so you recognize that and you accept that some of his material probably doesn’t hold up, but you can say that for…
Kenny: Yeah, like if you go back and listen to Lenny Bruce stuff, you’re like “oh man” — it’s brutal. But he’s still an icon so you respect him on that level.
M&C: Netflix special — elaborate on the dope theory regarding Michael Jackson…and now that Janet Jackson is into her ‘Control part deux’ phase, what advice do you have for her now she’s looking to get out of her marriage?
Kenny: [Laughing] I love Janet Jackson, she’s one of the most talented artists of the last 30 years, and I would say she needs to go back to her roots. Go back to music. She’s not that kind of person to be controlled like that.
She pushed a different kind of agenda in the 1980s and 1990s and if she wants to reclaim and maintain that consistency of being an independent person, she needs to go back to that.
Put some of that energy into her new music. I miss that Janet Jackson.
Keith: It looked weird, didn’t she have a kid with that guy? Maybe she was so scarred by the Super Bowl experience perhaps she needed to go the other way.
M&C: Any hope for Tito?
Kenny and Keith [In unison] Nope.
Kenny: He’s still getting residuals and royalties so I am happy for him.
M&C: Law school had to be a beneficial thing even though you did not finish, with contracts and such. You two were apart for that. Did it cause anxiety or depression being away from each other and did your comedy career come from that need to work together?
Kenny: Yeah absolutely. There’s definitely like a separation anxiety…like you are not whole. A feeling like a part of you is missing.
You have some serious identity issues too because people are calling you by your name for the first time, in like God knows how long — and I forgot I had a first name!
Keith: It was rough. I echo everything Kenny just said. It was a severe separation anxiety…if you are going out into the world for the first time as an individual and if you are not prepared for that kind of living, it can be kind of jarring.
It took a lot of…I don’t think I ever fully adjusted. It was always such a part of me, ‘Oh, I’m gonna reunite with Kenny and go back to being what we once were. But it was a growing experience.
Kenny: That was the part that was always daunting for me before we got into comedy.
It felt like a countdown to my brother and I separating for 25 years of our lives where he was going to work in Durham (North Carolina) and I was going to be in New York.
Then he would get married and have kids and we would never see each other. And I was like, wow that’s kind of a sad thought.
It really motivated me to try and figure out something that we could do, where we could work together and make money and have fun.
And I think comedy was the best…or porn…there’s porn too [laughing]. I like comedy, I like jokes [laughing].
M&C: OJ — he will be a reality TV star soon enough. What would you ask him if you ran into him cold?
Kenny: Man. I would say…does he have a knife or gun on him? I would ask…
Keith: If I could borrow his phone to call the cops…
Kenny: I would ask him to drive me around in a Bronco [laughing] and just see how much has changed in the world. I would just want his opinions on…
Keith: He went to prison, in what? 2009?
Keith: So a lot has changed since then, man. I am sure he has opinions on everything.
M&C: Let’s talk about the orange 800lb gorilla in the room. What’s your prognosis on OJ’s other white best friend?
Keith: [Laughing] Trump is, uh…we are stuck with him now. So you sort of…at first it was a little bit of shock.
I wasn’t as high on Hillary as most people. But you still are in shock that Trump is your president. Then you gotta take it all in, and then he starts to execute his plan the way he said he would, and you’re like ‘ah okay, he’s serious’.
This is more serious than you want it to be. So I am just like, yeah I think we just have to brace ourselves.
That’s all I can say, you have to assume he’s going to try and execute the plan he cooked for us, and you have to hope you can stay out of his crosshairs.
Kenny: Or…the 65-66million people who voted against him can reorganize and do protests, and you prepare for a long and very tough battle with an administration that is going to try and set back the clock.
I mean, there’s only one or two ways. Like, you can either accept that they are going to roll back the clock, or you fight to ensure that does not happen.
I think that that is the individual choice that people are going to have to grapple with, do they want to fight or sit back and smoke a joint and chill.
M&C: Are you still wrestling geeks? And if you are, what are your wrestling names?
Keith: [Laughing] Yes…we are wrestling geeks, we still love it.
Kenny: [Laughing] My wrestling name would be the World’s Finest Comic, and my finishing move would be the Punchline.
Keith: Oh, that’s awful. [laughing]
Kenny: It would be a 1980s gimmick-style wrestler, and I might wear blackface. [Both are laughing] Wearing blackface would change everything…it’s ironic, World’s Finest Comic, but in blackface…
Keith: [Laughing] I get it, no, I get the irony…
Kenny: …Condemned by various Civil Rights groups who will get upset, “But you don’t get the irony?” [laughing]
M&C: Okay, you guys are doing college tours. A lot of comics like Bill Maher complain loudly about the PC language police at the college tours. Seinfeld gave up performing at colleges too. What is your take?
Keith: Well free speech goes a number of ways. Students have a right to protest comedy that they don’t find to be suitable for them…they have that right just as much as we have the right to say what we want. It’s a two-way street.
I’ve never really had any difficulties with colleges outside of them not knowing my references. I never really had any problems in terms of the PC culture.
So I guess I don’t fully comprehend their criticism? Are they speaking of all colleges or one college? All colleges are not created equal.
You get a different student body every time, so how they relate is pretty diverse… the reactions.
Kenny: Every generation is different too, right? I am sure that comedians in the 1950s were very upset when they tried to do a gig in the 1960s, a more radical generation, like “No, we don’t accept that style of comedy. Nah, you gotta change it up.”
They changed fundamentally, that’s just the nature of the beast. Right?
Generations sometimes don’t agree with the sensibilities of the past generations, because past generations — not all of them — but typically past generations tend to have a more conservative view of things.
They tend to be more accepting of certain views of a class of people, like, for example trans people, or gays…older generations didn’t hesitate to make jokes about them.
But now we are finally coming to realize that they are people, you know? You may not identify with their sexuality but they are people.
When you start making jokes about a mass of people, it’s not individualized…it borders on…you’re punching down, it’s dated.
Yeah, you can make these jokes but some people are going to be made a little uncomfortable by them. You gotta be prepared for that.
I wouldn’t condemn all colleges, that seems like such an egregious overstep. Again you have to personalize it, individualize it, if they said particular colleges they may not perform at…
To condemn a whole swath…
Keith: You know, our generation has seen quite a lot. We’ve seen 9/11, the financial crisis, we have Trump, we have a lot of shit to be angry about. And we are very upset.
Kenny: As you noticed, a lot of those guys [Seinfeld, Maher] are 40+ and they’re billionaires. They’re out of touch. Forget it.
M&C: Viceland has Bronx devotees Desus & Mero do a pop culture show. What would your patented rainbow say if you were booked on their show?
Kenny: [Laughing] Mine would say “He tried to fight the good fight but ultimately, he stopped caring.”
Keith: [laughing] Mine would say, “Yeah, you know, life isn’t as bad as people make it out to be and if it does get that bad, there’s always weed to smoke.”
‘The Lucas Brothers: On Drugs’ premieres April 18 on Netflix