The Lucas Brothers are blowing up, after their scene stealing turn in last Summer's 22 Jump Street, and a memorable role on the fourth season of Arrested Development, on top of being on TRU TV's Friends Of The People, their animated series Lucas Bros. Moving Co. has returned for its second season. I spoke to the guys about the show, their love of wrestling, doing comedy as a duo and more.
Jeremy Wein: Alright awesome. Hey! How are you guys doing?
Kenny & Keith Lucas: Good man, how are you doing?
JW: I'm doing alright. Let's jump right into it if you guys are ready…
K/KL: Yeah we're ready, man.
JW: Alright, cool. I guess where I want to start is I want to talk about your background a little bit. I know you guys were studying at law school before you dropped out to pursue comedy. Can you talk a little bit about that?
Kenny: Sure. I was in my third year of law school and I was a bit disillusioned with the entire ya know the prospects of being a lawyer so I wanted to commit myself to something that I would enjoy and that I could do with Keith and I considered it and a bunch of different things and I ultimately settled on standing back and doing a few open mics and it was like that and I called Keith while he was at Duke and I convinced him to come up to New York and pursue the dream and he was down.
JW: Would you say that doing comedy as a duo makes it harder or easier to make things happen?
Keith: Is it harder? as a duo?
JW: Yeah is it harder?
Keith: I mean I think it really depends on how you define hard, right? I mean if you think that it's easier to just… the difference is that if you're a solo comic you're just allowed to do your material without anyone checking it and that constitutes it being easier then it certainly is harder. I always have to run my jokes by Kenny and we always have to sort of come up with our ideas together which could slow down the process but I mean I think it does make coming up with better jokes more efficient and I mean I guess I prefer to work with a teammate so it's been easier for me at least I can't say it's been more difficult. I mean we've just been able to develop material at a faster rate and yeah I've always had someone to check my ideas which I think has made me a better comic. So ultimately I would say it's been easier.
JW: Alright cool. Let me just say if you guys weren't saying your names before you were talking I would have no idea who is talking to me so that kinda leads nicely into my next question. What would you say is the easiest way to tell you guys apart? Is there any kind of like trick? Or is it you just have to know you guys long enough?
Kenny: It does help to know us for a very long time but I mean if you don't know us really some of the differences are uh I'm slightly taller…my beard's a little thicker, I have a mole there's a few physical things that kinda differentiate us but for the most part we're pretty identical.
JW: So your show LUCAS BROS MOVING CO just started its second season. Congratulations first of all.
K/KW: Thank you.
JW: So I just wanted to talk a little bit about how the show came about and the development process of it.
Keith: So we did a set on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon I think two years ago? two years ago.. and Nick Weidenfeld who's the head of ADHD, he saw it and he sent our manager an email and he asked if we had any ideas in terms of animation and then Kenny sent him an email about it.It was like a pretty pretty crazy idea of Master P taking like over the universe..something silly like that. and they liked it.. and they asked if we wanted to develop a cartoon together so we flew to LA and we met with Nick for the first time and we just started brainstorming ideas piggy backing off what Kenny had sent in his email and we just branched that and built upon that and yeah we created the pilot. it was a pretty I guess straightforward process. We did a set, he saw it and we tried to create from there.
JW: How much would you say from the original conception to what it is now did a lot change or was it pretty much basically the same idea?
Kenny: I would say it changed quite a bit. I mean the idea that it's infused with 90s stuff and rappers can populate the universe..that's still very consistent in the show but I mean we kinda made it a hybrid of Regular Show and what was the other part we discussed and The Life and Times of Tim, it's quite different but some of the characteristics still kinda populate the universe.
JW: What I like about the show is that your characters are sort of cogs in their own life in the sense of..they don't really seek out the chaos or the adventure it kinda finds them. And so I wanted to know in terms of writing the show.. how do you guys find a balance between the fantasy elements of your show and the reality of the grounded elements of your show?
Keith: Yeah that's a good question.. well we sort of adopted the Regular Show structure which ya know generally starts in a very small situation and spirals out of control.. so normally the first half or the first third of it is pretty grounded and then you know something will happen which will lead us to that crazy fantasy world so we try in each episode to sprinkle a little bit of the fantasy and a little bit of the realism. It's not always balanced though it's never really 50/50 ya know like..
Keith: There is some theories there..
JW: I read in a lot of reviews and other interviews you've done that people tend to refer to the humor as "stoner comedy." Do you think it's a fair label when it comes to your show?
Kenny: I'm not exactly certain what that means..I suppose if you smoke weed in your show and it leads to like surreal stuff then I guess it can be classified as stoner. I don't really get too upset by labels.. it may not be fair because I'm not exactly certain the people who have used the label have watched every episode and they're judging it accurately so I'm not exactly certain it's fair.. but I don't even know what stoner comedy means to be honest.. if it's two guys who smoke weed and it leads to like crazy events? I don't know..I don't know.. I don't get offended by it because we are.. we do appreciate marijuana and if people wanna ya know associate our show with you know the greatest drug ever I'm okay with it.
JW: I think another interesting element of your show is your voice cast is a lot of people that aren't essentially known as being voice over actors..I mean it's you guys.. Jerrod Carmichael, Jake the Snake Roberts, Eric Andre, I know Hannibal Buress has done a couple of episodes… do you develop characters and then find voices for them? or do you work with people you want to work with and develop characters for them?
Keith: It's a little bit of both. For example.. like the mom character.. we knew we were going to need a mom character.. and then we just realized that ya know making Hannibal the mom would be the funniest thing we could do..so we never really developed the character for Hannibal but we realized that casting Hannibal as the mom would be hilarious. But on the other hand someone like Danny Brown we realized that we all liked Danny Brown..that he's a funny guy..and we wanted to create a character for him. The same for Action Bronson.I think for most of the comedians that we cast generally the characters are created first and then we'll cast the comedian.. well not for Jerrod.. Jerrod was writing on the show and we needed a best friend so we thought let's make Jerrod the best friend so it's a little bit of both.. it's a mixture of both..
JW: Speaking of Jerrod's character. He definitely seems to be the voice of reason in a universe where there's not a lot of reason involved.. Is that a fair assessment of his character?
Kenny: That's absolutely fair.
JW: You were talking about Action Bronson earlier…I know you have Jillian Bell and Questlove on the show as guests this season, and as you said Danny Brown was on last season.. Can you talk about some other people who are going to be on the show this season
Kenny: Sure we have Broad City, Ilana and Abbi,…what episode's haven't aired yet? oh Eric Griffin from Workaholics and we also have the guys from Workaholics on there as well. we got Tone Bell in an episode,.The seasons pretty packed, Michael Che too.
JW: Is there anyone you haven't had a chance to work with yet that you'd really like to have on the show?
Keith: Yeah there are a couple of people we would love to work with.. we've been really trying to get Pete Davison on.. we'd love to work with ….Key and Peele, umm let's see who else…Kumail Nanjiani…Ron Funches, Kyle Kinane, Rory Scovel…
JW: It's a pretty great list.. It's a good wishlist.
Keith: There's a lot of people we'd love to work with that we have in mind..and we always have in mind.. If we get more episodes we're definitely going to reach out to all those people.
JW: I would love to see all those people in the show!
K/KW: If we did 100 episodes they'll all be there..sure.. but it depends on that.
JW: Well I'm crossing my fingers. You guys were talking earlier about how the show is filled with 90s stuff. Do you think it's strange that we're in a part of our culture where we're nostalgic for the 90s?
Kenny: I think we're all just getting kinda old now and we kinda miss our childhood so much. I don't think it's strange.. I think that it's perfect timing for us.. I think this just happens.. where I think in the 80s people were a bit nostalgic for the 60s.. now we're years away from the 90s.. and now people are like damn that was good.. that was a pretty good time.. I kinda miss it.
JW: Right.. I'm a child of the 90s so I definitely agree with that and I think that's why the show speaks to me on a certain level. What are some of the influences on the show.. in terms of like what are some other cartoons that influence the show.. I know you mentioned the Life and Times of Tim earlier..
Keith: Yeah…Regular Show.. but in terms of past influences I would say Daria.. Seinfeld…Beavis and Butthead, Ren & Stimpy.. South Park.. The Simpsons obviously..yeah.. King of the Hill.. these are all the things we consumed greatly.. Futurama.. Space Ghost Coast to Coast.. Workaholics.. Animaniacs… Pinky and the Brain was crucial.. I mean pretty much most of the Nickelodeon cartoons of the 90s.. most of the WB cartoons of the 90s…the MTV cartoons of the 90s and um Adult Swim.
JW: I just wanted to talk a little bit about the love of wrestling…I think it's very obvious in the cartoon that's one of your guys passions. What does wrestling mean to your lives?
Kenny: It plays a pretty prominent role in our childhood and I guess our young adult lives.. It just sorta shaped how we see the world.. it's like for the young..I don't want to be sexist or anything like that but like for a girl who grew up with soap operas or Barbies. It just sorta encourages that creative side of you like you'll just be grown men acting like children and it's sorta kinda cool to see and it also just sparks our imagination we always saw ourselves as a tag team and that just kinda played throughout our lives and now we're almost 30 and we still consider ourselves a tag team and it's kinda cool.
Keith: It was a great form of escapism from the calamities of inner city living. I was just reflecting on this yesterday. I never really thought about how terrible my situation was because I was so invested in wrestling and I think that that was crucial to our development.
JW: Last thing I wanted to talk about really quickly..as much as you can talk about it.. I know you're developing a live action series for FOX. Can you kinda talk about where thats at right now? What the development on that show is?
Kenny: We just pitched the script to FOX and we're waiting to see if they're gonna option it for a pilot so we're in that little process. They've picked up a few things and now we're just waiting.. so we'll see!
JW: Alright. Well on that note, guys, thank you so much for your time.
K/KW: Thank you, man.
Lucas Bros Moving Co. Airs Thursdays at Midnight on FXX