By Elise Schoening
They’re identical twins, stand-up comedians, actors and even alumni of the College. The Lucas Brothers, a dynamic duo from New Jersey, decided to pay homage to their roots on Tuesday, Nov. 10, by performing a free comedy show for students at the College.
To say the group received a warm welcome would be an understatement. The line to get into their show at Mayo Concert Hall wrapped all the way around the corridor and when the doors finally opened, every seat in the venue was filled with students anxiously waiting to see Keith and Kenny Lucas.
“This is weird to be back,” Keith said. “I remember sitting in the audience, watching comedians bomb on stage and thinking ‘Why would they do this to themselves?’”
But the brothers, who graduated from the College in 2007 with matching degrees in philosophy, certainly didn’t bomb. Their connection to the College allowed them to personalize their set to the audience, such that each joke led to a rousing round of laughter and applause.
“How many people here live in Travers? Is it still shitty?” Kenny asked the crowd, before explaining that he and his brother lived on the fifth floor of Travers Hall during their freshmen year.
After their time at the College, the pair parted ways to study law at different universities. Neither of them, however, finished their graduate degrees. Instead, they passed up taking their final exams to pursue a career in comedy together.
“You guys shouldn’t follow our example — we dropped out of school,” Kenny said. “We still owe (the College) money. I guess we’re going to use this check to pay back our loans.”
Keith and Kenny Lucas are best known for their brief but noteworthy role in “22 Jump Street” that skyrocketed their career. The Lucas Brothers have also starred in the television series, “Friends of the People,” and have gone on to produce their own animated series, “The Lucas Brothers Moving Co.,” that is parodied off their own lives.
Although the brothers have dabbled in television and film, Keith explained that stand-up comedy is their favorite creative medium.
“It’s the most immediate gratification and you get to speak directly to people,” Keith said. “With stand-up it’s just you, your jokes and the people.”
While on stage, the pair got political and used humor to discuss the serious issue of racism in our nation.
“I just read a stat in The Atlantic that one out of three African American males will go to jail before turning 31. We just turned 30 so we’re getting close,” Kenny said. “Fortunately, we have a younger brother. So we’ve been trying to get that dude to go to prison instead.”
The brothers spoke candidly about how lucky they have been to have such a successful career in comedy and film. They even joked that their newfound fame from “22 Jump Street” would protect them from police brutality, as any cop who dares to stop them would immediately recognize the duo and ask for a selfie.
“We think we figured out a way to improve relationships between blacks and cops,” Kenny said. “Every black man just needs to get a cameo in a movie. Black cameos matter.”
Students may not have known much about the Lucas Brothers before their set, but everyone in the audience that night will be sure to remember the pair, who were clearly very excited to be back at the College and even stopped the show early to have time for a meet-and-greet.
“We could sit here and talk all day, but I want to engage,” Keith said. “I want to shake some hands and take some pictures.”
As soon as the set ended, students rushed out of the concert hall and eagerly waited in line once again to meet the brothers, who were surprisingly down-to-earth and relatable.
The College Union Board has put on a number of comedy shows this semester, but the Lucas Brothers made for an unforgettable night.
Before the show, the pair stopped by Eickhoff Hall to grab a bite to eat amongst students, and happily stopped to talk and pose for pictures for any and everyone who approached them. Despite their recent rise to fame, the Lucas Brothers have clearly managed to stay grounded.
It’s not often that a small liberal arts college has alumni that go on to create their own animated television series and star in blockbuster films alongside Channing Tatum. For these graduates to come back to the College and share an intimate evening of laughter and entertainment with current students was both remarkable and refreshing.