The Lucas Brothers on dropping out of law school: ‘It was hell’

EXCLUSIVE: The duo is working on a semi-autobiographical comedy film produced by Judd Apatow

The Lucas Brothers are have been enjoying tons of praise for their work on Judas and the Black Messiah and the twins are showing no signs of slowing down. 

This week, news broke that they’re turning their life story into a film produced by Judd Apatow. The semi-autobiographical comedy is still untitled, but will be co-written by Jarrad Paul and Andrew Model for Universal Pictures. 

Read More: ‘Judas and the Black Messiah’ is the must-see movie of the year

Keith and Kenny Lucas spoke about their upbringing and opened up about why they dropped out of prestigious law schools just weeks before graduation during a recent sit down with theGrio. 

Comedians Keith and Kenny Lucas

“We were college students studying philosophy and I wouldn’t say we were nerds, but we were just like really into academics. We fashioned ourselves as intellectuals. I think we just always had this idea that we wanted to do something that involved logic and words and to be able to use our minds to make arguments,” Kenny explains.

“We spent a summer at Princeton studying under Professor Cornell West and we were really hellbent on getting our Ph.D. in philosophy. But then we spoke to some of the graduates and are like, ‘you don’t make money, it’s hard to get a job…This is not practical.”

It wasn’t long before the New Jersey natives decided to change course. 

“We started to look more into law because it seemed more practical…so we applied for a bunch of law schools. I got into NYU and [Keith] got into Duke…so we sort of separated and law school was just hellish,” he continues. 

Both Keith and Kenny realized that the law school system didn’t address many of the crucial issues they hoped to combat in their careers. 

“We should have left immediately. We stayed up until like two weeks before graduation and it was hell man. Just being separated from him and the curriculum itself just didn’t seem like it talked about the structural inequities in the law, like it was all kind of glossed over, like a footnote,” says Keith. 

“It wasn’t like a central issue that most of the students wanted to campaign to fix. It was like, oh, it happens. But the law itself as an institution is fair, is fair. All these concepts about like equality and justice, I just it never really like I never sensed it. My father went to prison when I was very young and we had a collection of family members, uncles, cousins who got arrested for drug charges and for just a litany of thing during the war on drugs and mass incarceration. You had all these major policies that led to a lot of African-American men and women getting locked up and had a detrimental impact on our family. So we already had a pretty antagonistic relationship to the law. So once we got there, it also became even more apparent that this institution isn’t built for African-Americans. In fact, this is used as a tool to oppress African-Americans.”

Read More: Daniel Kaluuya accepts AFI Award for ‘Judas and the Black Messiah’ (Exclusive)

The stress of being separated from each other and studying a system they felt was built to oppress our communities ultimately led the talented twins to comedy. 

NYMag, Vulture + TruTV Celebrate The Premiere Of "Friends Of The People"

“We were just dealing with those issues on top of our mental health issues. And I was like, I miss my brother,” admits Keith. “I want to do something that’s fun….so we’re like, let’s just do comedy. We originally thought we were going to be screenwriters, but we thought it was important to figure out our point of view and to put ourselves on stage and to figure out what our narrative is. So we thought standup was the best bet for us because we can act, we can write, we can tell jokes, but we can get serious. So it was like, let’s do that right before we, you know, delve too deeply into screenwriting.”

After making their late-night debut on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon in 2012, The Lucas Brothers  created their animated series, Lucas Bros. Moving Co. and starred in TruTV’s Friends of the People. In 2017, they released their first comedy special, On Drugs, on Netflix. 

Their latest project is the brilliant film, Judas and the Black Messiah, which they co-wrote and co-produced. 

Check out the interview above.

For more with The Lucas Brothers, check out Episode 3 of How Hollywood Highlights our History.

Have you subscribed to theGrio’s “Dear Culture” podcast? Download our newest episodes now!

TheGrio is now on Apple TV, Amazon Fire and Roku. Download today!