Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill go undercover as improbable college students in 22 Jump Street, in theaters now, and one of the film’s comedic highlights is the duo’s new dorm-mates, the Yang Twins: a fictional pair of hilarious, heavy-lidded, perpetually narcotized twins who finish each other’s sentences played by the Lucas Bros, a real-life pair of hilarious, heavy-lidded, perpetually narcotized twins who finish each other’s sentences.
Kenny and Keith Lucas have a show on Fox’s animation block (Lucas Bros. Moving Co.), a new sketch series they’re working on for TruTV, and a burgeoning stand-up and film career, but they still somehow manage to come off as so laid-back, they’re practically lying down. Their turn in 22 Jump Street is easily the twins’ biggest exposure to date, so we chatted with the two of them about pot, comedy, and brotherly love.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Thanks for getting on the phone with me. You two are hilarious in 22 Jump Street.
KENNY AND KEITH LUCAS (simultaneously): Thank you!
First off, Keith. Great name.
KEITH: I know, right?
How long have you two known each other?
KEITH: I guess as long as we’ve had consciousness. I’d say 25 years.
And how long have you known you’ve wanted to do comedy?
KENNY: For about five years. I did a few open mics in New York while I was going to law school and I was like, “Oh, I kinda like this stuff.” And then I convinced him to come along.
KEITH: He convinced me to leave law school and I said, “Hey, that sounds like a good plan.” So I moved back up north and started doing stand-up with him.
KENNY: Too many lawyers nowadays, we need more average comedians out there.
Did you guys always know you wanted to work together?
KEITH: Part of the reason we wanted to do it was that we wanted to work together as much as possible.
Do you remember your first stand-up performance?
KENNY: There’s one that I did by myself and then the first one we tried together…
KEITH: That was bad. That one was a disaster.
KENNY: We brought our friends. I don’t know what we were thinking. That was our first time going on stage together. You don’t bring your friends to an open mic, that can ruin friendships.
KEITH: They were the only two in the audience and they didn’t laugh.
KENNY: Not even a chuckle.
At what point did you stop regretting leaving law school?
KEITH: When we did Fallon, that’s when I thought, “Maybe we can do something with this.” Fallon was the eye-opener for me.
KENNY: Yeah, Fallon was the moment where I was like, “Okay, we’re not the best, but we’re not the worst.”
How did you go about honing your style?
KEITH: It was pretty strange. When we separated for law school we started changing in terms of our individualities, so when I came back I guess I was smoking more pot, and that really changed everything for us. That defined our character and it grew from there.
KENNY: Once you start smoking, it transforms you. It transformed us and made us a little more mellow. And it’s the perfect time to make that a part of your thing, it’s more relaxed now.
I just moved out to California, so…
BOTH (simultaneously): Congratulations!
You guys are based out of Brooklyn. Has it always been that way?
KEITH: We’ve always worked out of Brooklyn. We were born in Jersey and grew up in North Carolina, but this has been our home for the last 10 years. I think Brooklyn in general, Bushwick in particular, plays a large role in defining who our characters are.
KENNY: On top of that, the fondness for marijuana in this area is just as strong for everyone. It makes it a community here. We just got a new weed dealer and it has changed our lives.
I really liked that bit where you brought a real-life weed dealer on your Comedy Central online show.
KEITH: This guys was like, “My son’s a weed dealer.” We were so stoked when we found that dude.
How did you get involved with 22 Jump Street?
KENNY: We auditioned. Our agent sent us the script and we went in for these particular roles. They liked us, so we kept going in for more auditions. Phil and Chris were in the room for our second audition and then we did a table read with Channing and Jonah.
So there were twins in the script? It really just seems like they liked you guys and decided to plunk you down in the middle of their movie.
KENNY: We were auditioning for the Yangs. They were originally Asian and high-energy, so we did the complete opposite. But they kept our names as the Yangs. Just accept it, whatever.
Do you think you’ll get recognized more after this?
KENNY: Hopefully we’ll get more fans, that’d be dope.
KEITH: We look the same as we do in the movie, so hopefully people will be able to recognize us. I hope I can still go to the supermarket and stuff.
KENNY: You can probably still do that.
Are you working on a second season of your Fox animated show Lucas Bros. Moving Co.?
KEITH: Yeah, we’re working on a second and third season right now. We’re almost done writing the second season now.
Are you big fans of animation?
KENNY: Yeah, we’re huge fans. I can’t remember not watching it.
KEITH: Clone High was one of our favorites. I’d say that was up there with The Life and Times of Tim and King of the Hill as our favorite animation shows.
I loved Clone High, I was so psyched to be able to talk to [22 Jump Street directors] Phil Lord and Chris Miller about it.
KEITH: That was the biggest selling point for us to do 22. We get to work with the dudes who did Clone High.
Do you guys have live-action influences?
KEITH: We’re big fans of Larry David, Bob Newhart, Dave Chappelle.
KENNY: Chris Rock.
KEITH: Mitch Hurwitz.
Do you guys tend to work well together or is there sibling rivalry?
KENNY: In the beginning there was a lot of friction, we had different ideologies. But now it’s pretty smooth sailing.
KEITH: We started off as pretty competitive, but once you work for long enough with a person, you get into a groove.
It only took you since the womb.
KEITH: It really did, man.
For more on 22 Jump Street, pick up the new issue of Entertainment Weekly, on stands now.