The Lucas Bros, Using Humor 'To Shake Folk Woke'
Kenny and Keith Lucas are stand up comedians and identical twins. People don't have to react when I see twins. No. Okay, they go crazy like we were in the supermarket looking for some Jell O. Yeah. And we're just about to pick it out. And then some dude came out of nowhere. It was like, you know, you guys have a stick of Doublemint gum. That's from their 2017. Netflix special Lucas brothers were having a moment right now they're writing and starring in a remake of Revenge of the Nerds, But they also wrote the story for the new movie Judas and the Black Messiah. The film premieres today in theaters and on HBO. Max NPR's Elizabeth Blair has this profile. The Lucas brothers are best known for a kind of stoner humor. And here's a rule of thumb You should never do. Shrooms wouldn't do Who looks like you, man. I'm telling you. But underneath the jokes, there's a serious side that draws heavily on their childhood in the housing projects of Newark, New Jersey, called the Garden spires is you always, you know, broken elevators infested with rats and rotten Drug dealing violence everywhere, But you know, there's a community that is people that there's families is my family When they were six years old there, Dad went to prison. My father actually is out of prison. He's not in prison anymore, and it sucks that he's out. I wish he was still there. Oh, yeah. I wanted to go back because all he wants to do is father's sight. Don't like do we pay rent? Now it's over. The Lucas Brothers connection to Newark got the attention of New Jersey Senator Cory Booker in 1999, then a Newark City councilman, Booker went on a hunger strike in front of the Garden spires. He also served as the city's mayor. Here's Booker talking to the Lucas brothers on his instagram. I love your insightful, hard hitting humor and the sort of the Eddie Murphy and S O. My great heroes Coming up, you know, were uncompromising how they used humor to shake folks woke like book arm. Keith and Kenny Lucas went to law school and why you and Duke, But unlike Booker, they dropped out. It was weird Tonto Study law and and kind of be poor and black because it's like, Oh, I see what The consequences of policy and law are like on a daily basis, and especially when it in relation to African Americans and the notion of criminality and how it's projected onto blacks and I see that process. I found myself sort of disengaged very early. I always said, you know what I want to do something that has a direct impact on people. From an emotional standpoint, Judas and the Black Messiah is very emotional. Lucas brothers were in college when they first learned about Fred Hampton, the charismatic leader of the Illinois Black Panther Party in the 19 sixties in the movie he's played by Daniel Cholula, Mother Liberating You can't Murder Liberation is another revolutionary, but you can't murder a revolution for murder Freedom fighter, but you get amount of freedom. He's the Black Messiah. Judas is William O'Neal, an African American who was arrested for interstate car theft and Impersonating a federal officer in the movie. We see how the FBI recruited O'Neill to avoid jail time and earn some money. He was instructed to infiltrate the Black Panther Party. And provide the FBI with information about Hampton O'Neill is played by like Keith Stanfield Target You Like some good information, some nobody else No. Is it some kind of bonuses? I'm I'm counting on it. Bill O'Neill became so much of a Panther insider. He was put in charge of security. He provided the FBI with a floor plan of Hampton's apartment in 1969. The Chicago police raided the apartment and killed two Black Panther leaders, including Hampton for the Lucas Brothers. It was essential to tell the story of how the FBI recruited informants in the black community. I think it's important to see just how insidious The system has been in turning young African Americans against one another. Now they Essentially used poor black people against poor black people to execute their goals of minimizing the threat of black messiah is like we just felt it was important to see both sides of the coin. Whether it's a historical drama or its stand up comedy for the Lucas Brothers. It all comes from the same source in a big thing about our act is that we we always try to ground it and stuff that we've gone through, and it's always been Important for us to talk about these systemic issues and a variety of ways. Now they're writing and will star in Seth McFarland reimagining of 1980 four's Revenge of the Nerds Practice a bunch after school. They called US nerds. So one cool. The Lucas brothers promise that their movie will be almost nothing like the original because times have changed. It's like the juxtaposition of being a bully and a nerd is so different from what it was like in the eighties, where you had this one, a stark dichotomy between what it was bullying what it was to be a nerd. Now that's been fused together, and I think That's why the time is right to make a story about that. The Lucas brothers say it's hard to watch the original revenge of the nerds. Even though the movie was a childhood staple. They're excited to give it an update and to make it personal. Elizabeth Blair. NPR news