If you don’t know the Lucas Brothers yet, hurry and catch up because they are about to blow up. Their Comedy Central digital series, The Super Late Morning Show, and their Fox ADHD animated show, Lucas Bros Moving Company are already cult favorites, and tonight their third comedy series, Friends of the People premiers on TruTV. We caught a preview of the first episode, and we’re already big fans.
Friends of the People is a collection of sketch, digital shorts, and street pieces, and it’s really funny. Targeted to anyone who lived through and loved the nineties, the show features seven castmembers– Jermaine Fowler, Lil Rel Howrey, Josh Rabinowitz, Jennifer Bartels, Kevin Bartnett and Kenny and Keith Lucas. We caught up with the Lucas Brothers to talk Friends of the People, Lucas Bros Moving Company and ask them about their favorite decade- the 90s. We also got them to share with us their 11 favorite animated television series.
Just a few years ago, twins Keith and Kenny Lucas were in separate law schools– Keith at Duke, Kenny at NYU– on a path headed for the law firm life. After three years of putting in the work, Kenny made the decision that he wanted to leave law school and pursue a career in comedy. It was about a week before the end of his final year. “I decided to leave law school first, and then I convinced Keith about a week later and he was pretty much game.” At first, Keith thought Kenny was crazy. “I thought he was a madman, I was like, dude you got to take it easy. I understand that our law careers aren’t what we want it to be but there’s still more we can do. But then he started to sound more and more appealing to me, just being able to work together. I secretly hated the law. And I just needed a little bit more persuading.”
Not only did they hate law school, they hated being separated. They had both started pursuing comedy while they were in law school, but separately, and they weren’t interested in staying apart. Law School wasn’t a total loss for them. The competitive environment payed off. “The high stakes of working at a law firm makes it kind of easy to do this stuff,” Keith told us. “Yeah,” Kenny agreed. “That’s the type of pressure that– even a set on Fallon is not as daunting as that, cause you can’t get fired.”
After turning to comedy full-time, they got their first series gig with Comedy Central.com in February 2013, doing the Super Late Morning Show, a short form morning show– for late risers with short attention spans. They made a name for themselves with bits like Weed Dealer, where they set out to find a real weed dealer to come on their show, and Mix Tape, where they head out to Times Square to sell some music to the tourists.
Super Late Morning Show led to a gig with Fox’s Attention Deficit High Def Theater, doing Lucas Bros. Moving Co. They got the job only a few years after leaving law school to pursue comedy full-time. Having their own animated show that quickly, didn’t scare the guys. They were ready. “I didn’t freak out because I guess…ADHD was more an alternative thing. So I felt like it was more our speed in general,” Keith said. “We didn’t get the big prime time slot which I think is good because I don’t think we were ready for that just yet. But I do believe working on the cartoon in a smaller capacity helped us shape our ideas and our voice a lot more.”
Lucas Bros Moving Co. is packed full of 90s references, and Kenny and Keith refer to themselves as “scholars in 90s culture.” Kenny never expected that all the tv he watched in the 90s would pay off career-wise, but it has. “Being able to just pull those references out of your mind– people adore it, and now we’re getting into that part where 90s nostalgia is really big now.”
Wrestling in particular, plays a prominent role in the series. Both agree on two things where wrestling is concerned. The 90’s is the best era of wrestling– 96-99 in particular, and Brett Hart is their favorite. “It’s the attitude era,” Kenny said. “It was a little vulgar, racist, sexist, homophobic, but the storylines are great.” Stone Cold Steve Austin is another great. “He really changed the landscape of wrestling, and I think fans are instantly drawn to him because he’s an everyman and a working class hero, you know he was getting paid a lot of money and yeah it was really fun to watch. Despite the racism.” Jake the Snake has been on the show and might be making additional appearances in season two which starts.
Their stories play out angles that are both mundane and absurdist– Keith says he always felt like it was cooler to see that progression of going from start to crazy. But do not make the mistake of writing them off as mindless entertainment. This show has a sense of wisdom to it. Amongst the trippy visuals, the laid back delivery, the collection of great 90s references, and absurdist storylines, Keith explained that there is a very real message.
“Everything that you see in there– we thought about it. Sometimes it can come up as, ‘well that seems kind of weird and random.’ But it’s not as random as people want it to be.” But Kenny added, you have to watch the complete series to really ‘get it’. “If you watch the whole collection of it all, you definitely take something from it.”
And here’s the message. “Mainly, freedom and making sure you live the life that you want to live. John Stuart Mill’s ‘On Liberty’ is the book we want to spread. That’s the message we want to spread. Freedom. Live the life you want to live and you get that from the show. I hope so at least.”
As experts in the 90s, and animation we asked the Lucas Brothers to share with us their picks for the most creative animated shows that have inspired them over the years. Here is their top eleven, in no particular order.
Lucas Bros Moving Company season two is already in the works. A sneak peek of season two rolled out over the weekend on FXX and it’s looking like fans of the series will not be disappointed.
Their new series premiers tonight. After working on their own projects for the last few years, both Keith and Kenny are really excited about the idea of working on an ensemble show. “I love it,” Kenny told us. “I think it’s one of the best aspects of the process to work with other people. You learn so much. You become a better comic.” Keith agreed, “I think that comedy is becoming more collaborative in general, so I think it’s just the right approach. And being able to work with so many talented people can only help us become better performers too.”
Episode one features the guys in great sketches- including our favorite, a unique take on Steve Harvey’s flattop. “We worked on that one together” Kenny told us. “We love Steve Harvey and always joked about his flat top.” You will be seeing a lot more Steve Harvey throughout season one of Friends of the People. Another favorite 90’s icon that will feature into the series is Urkel. Both brothers have a love for Urkel, and the series Family Matters, calling it “ahead of its time”, “innovative”, and “inventive.”
Already moving forward, the brothers have a fourth series in development- this one with Fox. The live action series is a project the guys have been working on for the last year and a half, they have a concept and they’re writing the script. “We play community organizers in Brooklyn.” It works on tv because Bushwick is an “emerging community” with old problems, and new people. “It just creates beautiful contrast,” Kenny told us. “And so we’re somewhere in the middle, trying to save the community, but kind of fucking it up too.”
All of their shows take on culture, and there will be some celebrities showcased in some of the upcoming shows who might not be thrilled with the way they are portrayed. There’s an episode coming up dedicated to Jay Z- he’s not going to like it. Will Smith might not be happy with their show either. There will be a lot more Steve Harvey to come. It will get more epic. Beyonce is not going to be happy.
“It’s going to be fun, we’re going to create some enemies. I hope.”
Friends of the People Premiers Tonight, October 28 on TruTV. Watch the Lucas Brothers on Friday night on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. Check out Friends of the People at the New York Comedy Festival.