An interview with comedians Kenny and Keef Lucas about food and twinhood
The Lucas Bros. are probably the funniest twins in the world. Think about it: Mary-Kate and Ashley never wrote their own jokes. The Sprouse twins from Big Daddy and that Disney sitcom were pretty darn adorable, but they weren’t really funny—at least not in a self-aware way. And the Winklevoss twins can only get a laugh if they’re the butt of a Facebook joke.
As a twin myself, I can say with confidence that the Lucas Bros. are aspirational if you’re someone who shared a womb for nine months. My brother and I bicker nonstop and make it a point to have polar opposite taste in everything. Kenny and Keef Lucas, however, appear to share the same brain, which they use to create next-level comedy routines where they complete each other’s sentences and echo one another for emphasis. And though they aren’t household names yet, the identical twin comedians have built a cult following with their shared stand-up act, animated TV series Lucas Bros. Moving Co., and memorable cameos in movies like 22 Jump Street.
In their recent Netflix comedy special On Drugs, they address the surreal nature of doing everything with a person who’s your splitting image. Kenny and Keef are known for smoking a lot of pot, but after a recent experiment with magic mushrooms they said, “As a rule of thumb, you should never do shrooms with a dude who looks like you. It’s bizarre.” The same thing goes for getting in trouble together at work. “Our boss fired us for the same thing at the same time for the same exact reason,” the duo tells the audience. “You don’t want to get fired like that because not only are you getting fired, but it’s also like watching yourself getting fired in 3D.”
While the Lucas Bros. claim to have faced their fair share of twin discrimination (trust me, it’s a real thing), they’ve done pretty well for themselves overall. Kenny and Keef recently moved from Brooklyn to Los Angeles, where they share a big, sunny loft a few minutes away from their favorite place to get smoothies and their favorite dispensary to buy legal weed. Over the phone, they spoke with me about when it makes sense for them to order the same breakfast, how they workshop one another’s jokes, and if food can be funny. They also brainstormed some ideas for breakfast edibles that should definitely be invented.
Extra Crispy: What’s up Lucas Bros.? Thanks for making the time to talk today.
Kenny Lucas: No problem man. We’re doing great. We did a podcast earlier and now we’re just relaxing.
What was the podcast?
Keef Lucas: WTF with Maron. It was fun. We were in the garage! It felt awesome. I felt the history—I felt it. He has a lot of memorabilia and books. We saw the pictures of Obama.
What did you guys eat for breakfast today?
Keef Lucas: We had an acai bowl and a “Crunchy Monkey Smoothie,” which is a combination of a few things: berries, chocolate, almond milk, granola, bananas, and possibly strawberries. It’s all blended together and it’s a very delicious drink. We don’t make it ourselves. We live right next to a Juice Crafters and they make really really delicious acai bowls and smoothies. But we do make our own smoothies every once in awhile.
So I guess the LA stereotype that everyone drinks juice is true.
Kenny Lucas: Yeah, we kind of lucked out. We live literally a minute away from a juice place—maybe even less than a minute. But even when we lived in Bushwick, we’d always go to this other juice place. I just like smoothies. They’re always consistent.
Keef Lucas: Smoothies are great. It’s a good way to get your vegetable and fruit intake without actually having to eat fruit and vegetables. I do like eating fruit and vegetables, but sometimes it’s a bit of a labor [laughs].
So I’m a fraternal twin, and my brother and I are polar opposites. But people used to always assume we liked all the same stuff—from clothing to food. I’m sure you guys get the same, but even more intensified.
Kenny Lucas: I would say we have a lot of similar tastes and interests, but if you really got to know us and broke it down to a subatomic level, there are certainly differences and nuances. We’re not totally identical.
Keef Lucas: But, with that said, I feel like our eating habits are somewhat similar. I don’t know if that’s because we’re twins or because we’re so related to the point where if one person makes a decision consistent enough, the other person is just like, “Yeah that’s the way to go.” For example, we eat oatmeal almost every morning. And it’s something we’ve been doing since we were younger, but it’s one of those things where we both like oatmeal so we keep that going.
Who makes the oatmeal? Do you take turns?
Keef Lucas: I make my own and Kenny makes his own. We make it the same way, though. I’m not very exotic with how I make my oatmeal. I’m pretty straightforward and just put hot water in it. Sometimes, occasionally, I’ll put fruit in it, but for the most part I eat it plain.
Did you both order the Crunchy Monkey smoothie this morning?
Keef Lucas: Yeah, we both got it. Normally what we do is one of us will wait and line and the other will say, “Will you order me something, as well?” And Kenny will be like, “What do you want me to order?” and I’ll say, “Get me what you get,” because we tend to have similar taste. So he ordered both of those… and I ate it! [laughs]
Do you guys still live together?
Kenny Lucas: We do!
Do you have a morning routine, something to get your day started?
Kenny Lucas: We typically wake up at around 9. We’ll smoke a joint. I’ll meditate, Keef might meditate, or he’ll take a bath or something.
Keef Lucas: I’ll take a bath just to get the day started. Sometimes we’ll go to the gym, but for the most part when we wake up I go into Kenny’s room and we’ll talk about random stuff, we’ll smoke, and if we have work for that day then we’ll start planning that.
Kenny Lucas: And we eat breakfast, too. Normally oatmeal, a cup of coffee, a piece of fruit, and maybe an acai bowl.
That’s a pretty healthy breakfast and morning routine—you’ve got the mind/body/spirit thing covered with meditation, marijuana, and a meal.
Kenny Lucas: I don’t know if it’s LA, but I’ve tried to become healthier. I’m working out more, I’m reading more philosophy. I think it’s because of the beauty of LA. The sun just hits you right in the face in the morning. We live in a loft and we have these huge windows and the sun just illuminates the apartment. It’s a great way to wake up in the morning.
Keef Lucas: City life like in New York can grow old. We were in the Northeast for so long that this has been a welcomed change.
You said you guys are regular wake ‘n bakers. I personally get the munchies if I smoke at night, but if I smoke in the morning that’s never the case. I won’t eat a big breakfast or anything like that.
Keef Lucas: I never really thought about it, but you’re right. I get hungrier at night. Maybe it’s because I tend to eat breakfast more consistently than I eat dinner, so I’m less hungry in the daytime. Whereas, at night, if I smoke then I’m a little hungrier. At night, I’m looking for snacks.
What type of snacks? To me, cereal is the ultimate stoner food.
Kenny Lucas: Oh yeah, if you’re stoned at night you’re definitely going to make a bowl of cereal. I love Fruit Loops—one of my favorites for sure.
Keef Lucas: Crunch Berries, too. Those my favorite when I’m stoned. They’re harder to find these days. They don’t have them at CVS any longer. Crunch Berries are becoming a rarity and it’s kind of sad.
When you guys were living in NYC, did the whole unhealthy New York lifestyle reflect what you ate?
Kenny Lucas: Oh yeah… I was eating, like, deli croissants with bacon and eggs and cheese in the morning all the time. And then you’re eating pizza and hot dogs.
Keef Lucas: Oh yeah, hot dogs for sure. Whatever is available that’s cheap. We had less money at the time… what’s the word? Broke. We were broke.
Kenny Lucas: Yeah, broke. The type of food reflected how much money we had, which wasn’t much. We’d regularly go to this one bodega on Manhattan Avenue and Norman in Greenpoint—the one next to the TD Bank. We went there a bunch. I loved that one the most and grew attached to it. It’s great—one of the best. It has everything you need to have.
Do you guys think food is funny?
Kenny Lucas: Yeah, I think food can be funny. Without a doubt.
Keef Lucas: Yeah, you can make like a funny cake. You can make funny pies. If you had a cake and it had Charlie Chaplin’s face on it that would be pretty funny.
Kenny Lucas: Are we talking about anthropomorphic food? Like Aqua Teen Hunger Force is funny. Also, throwing a pie in someone’s face is funny. I don’t know if the pie is funny, but those two elements together are kind of funny.
Keef Lucas: And don’t forget slipping on a banana peel.
What about food as fodder for stand-up material?
Keef Lucas: Yeah, for sure. Jim Gaffigan has a couple good bits about food.
Keef Lucas: And Dave Chappelle did the thing on Grape Drink. So to answer your question, food can definitely be funny.
If you guys could invent any type of breakfast edible—meaning a breakfast item that’s infused with weed—what would it be?
Kenny Lucas: I think you have to be very careful, but if executed in a precise manner, I believe that a smoothie mixed with a little bit of THC could be a pretty good edible.
Keef Lucas: Maybe a Fruit Roll-Up, too, though that’s not really breakfast. But yeah, any of that shit, like infused Gushers. I already love eating them, so they’d get even more cred in my book if Gushers were filled with weed. I’m sure somebody’s figured out how to make those already.
Will you guys tell me a little bit about your writing process? When you’re coming up with new comedy bits or stand-up material, is there any sort of routine you follow?
Kenny Lucas: We like to keep our process open. It depends on what type of project we’re working on, but if we’re doing stand-up we try not to put too much pressure on the process itself. So I’ll have an idea, or he’ll have an idea, and he’ll tell the joke to me, and I’ll tell him what I like about it or what I think is lacking. Mostly, I’ll just add on a punchline, or he’ll add on a punchline to make the joke stronger. Then we’ll try it out and perform it the way we wrote it, or perform it in a loose way of how we wrote it. Then we go back and listen to what we said and compare it to what we wrote and synthesize the two to make it a fuller joke. We work on jokes for years and years and we can tweak the language or add a new punchline. It really depends on what type of joke we want to tell. We’ve been preparing for a new special, so we’re gearing our comedy towards this new concept that we’re trying to develop. It’s all just a work in progress.
Can talk about the new concept for the special? How will it be different or build upon what you did with the Netflix special On Drugs?
Kenny Lucas: The difference will be we’re examining the effects of drug addiction more closely by going into the subconscious of a stoner. In that regard, it will be more personal, but we’re also going to try and touch on aspects of the American Dream and pursuing dreams in Hollywood, but also about dreams connected to mental illness like PTSD—the nightmares you get.
Keef Lucas: Yeah we’re going to create a more complete picture of why we use drugs. We’re going to go into the minds of stoners because normally when you think of a stoner you have this positive image of a person who’s happy-go-lucky and he and or she is the comedic relief. That’s just one aspect of it. Another aspect is why are they doing it?
Kenny Lucas: Why are we smoking so much weed? That connects to a lot of our past trauma and I think we want to explore that more in our next special. It will serve as a sequel to “On Drugs,” but we’ll delve more deeply into why we use drugs and how it relates to the implications of the War on Drugs. The classic stoner archetype is not nuanced enough. It’s an incomplete picture. I’m not dismissing that version, but there’s a more human version of it. For example, someone who’s using drugs to mask pain. I mean that’s why we use drugs, even if it’s a happy drug like weed it’s still a drug nonetheless, as well as an escape from the harsh realities of the universe. We still have some work to do before we film it. We have to build the material and make sure that it’s tight and all that stuff. We’re going to be very careful with this one.
Now that you guys are touring, do you have a rider list?
Kenny Lucas: Yeah we have a rider list. We ask for a stool, sparkling water [laughs]. Schools tend to give you everything—they throw in a bunch of snacks and t-shirts and stuff like that. We don’t even ask for that, but they put a bunch of it in there. I think our rider is pretty reasonable.
Yeah, you seem like low-maintenance dudes. But do you like to eat before your perform?
Kenny Lucas: Oh yeah. I like to eat carbs like pasta or whatever—something that’s going to give me energy but isn’t too heavy. I’ll have a shake occasionally, or a sandwich of some sort.
Keef Lucas: I try to stay away from fried food that will make me either have to poop or make my stomach feel heavy. Cheese is terrible before a show, for example. No steak. No eggs. No beans. Nothing that will upset the stomach! Especially if you’re doing multiple performances, that’s when you gotta be very careful about what you’re eating.
Kenny Lucas: And you’ve got to drink a lot of water!
Keef Lucas: Yeah, a ton of water.
OK, my last question. In general, is the food better or worse in LA than in NYC?
Keef Lucas: LA food is healthier, and NYC food tastes better. I don’t know if they have better chefs in NYC, but you can get really legitimate, restaurant-quality food at bars in New York. Whereas, in LA you have to go to really nice restaurants to get restaurant-quality food. Like in NYC you can go to Tutu’s, which is a simple bar in Brooklyn, and they have great food.
Kenny Lucas: The bar food in LA tastes like bar food [laughs]. It’s horrible.
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