Brotherly love of stand-up comedy fuels twins' career choice

Contributing Culture WriterOctober 24, 2013 

Randy, left, and Jason Sklar are familiar faces on TV if not familiar names.

COURTESY OF SKLAR BROTHERS

  • IF YOU GO

    The Sklar Brothers

    With: Nate Fridson and Scott Wilson

    When: 7:15 and 9:45 p.m. Oct. 25, 26

    Where: Comedy Off Broadway, The Mall at Lexington Green, 141 Lexington Green Cir.

    Tickets: $17 Oct. 25, $20 Oct. 26. Available at (859) 271-5653 or Comedyoffbroadway.com.

Randy and Jason Sklar, aka the Sklar Brothers, are extremely happy you're reading this.

The popular sibling comic duo are making their first visit to Lexington for a gig at Comedy Off Broadway that ends Saturday. The brothers will be the first to tell you they don't have the getting-publicity-for-themselves thing down to a science, but their shared gene pool has allowed them to turn heads their whole lives.

"People were really fascinated by it," Randy said of being identical twins. "We had a lot of attention on us. So, what do we do with it?"

They took that attention and used it to become a unique comedy act. But before they took the stage, they were stand-up comedy fans.

As children growing up in St. Louis, the Sklars, 41, memorized sets by Robert Townsend and Jerry Seinfeld from Rodney Dangerfield's annual Young Comedians Special and performed them for family and friends. In high school, they obsessed over obscure road comics the way other boys would follow athletes or celebrities.

While attending the University of Michigan, where they both earned degrees in English and were accepted into law school, the Sklars decided to put school on the back burner to move to New York in 1994 to pursue comedy full-time. As they tried to gain ground in New York's legendary stand-up scene, their chemistry and presence allowed them to stand out.

"I do think that as we surveyed the landscape of comedy, we saw a lot of white Jewish dudes, but we didn't see a lot of twins out there," Jason said. "We have this thing. We like working together. We like making people laugh. The bad part is you have to split your money."

The Sklar Brothers wanted to make people laugh without relying on tired twin humor. Luckily, Randy said, the duo got swept up in the "jet stream of the alternative comedy movement" during the '90s.

"We're, like, ... this is the comedy we want to do," Randy said. "It was like you could do whatever you want."

So, the Sklar Brothers did what felt comfortable onstage and developed a show that was part stand-up, part sketch comedy and part improv, complete with rapid-fire punch lines.

"It's even more than just telling a joke. You can see the way our minds work," Randy said.

At this point, the brothers' have far exceeded their aspiration to simply get a solid two-minute clip on Comedy Central. They have made TV appearances on shows ranging from comedies such as It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Curb Your Enthusiasm and Entourage to a somewhat unexpected dramatic turn as conjoined twins on the hit drama Grey's Anatomy to more family-friendly laughs on the new Disney XD sitcom Mighty Med.

When the brothers are not on the air, they can be found online in their popular comedy podcast Sklarbro Country, which allows them to indulge in their obsessive love of sports and pop culture and, well, any other thing that comes to mind.

"For our podcast, it can go anywhere," Randy said. "This is what we would do if nobody told us what to do ... and what we've found out is that people love it."

The Sklar Brothers will be trying out a new hour's worth of material in Lexington, which eventually will end up being part of a new stand-up special set to be released next year. Jason said there is an added theatricality to some of the Sklar Brothers' jokes now, but the two of them are continuing to hone in on one comedic voice.

"I think now we are getting towards a deeper point that we're trying to make," Jason said. "Our goal is to go onstage and do something unexpected, and make people laugh in a way that maybe they didn't expect they would."


IF YOU GO

The Sklar Brothers

With: Nate Fridson and Scott Wilson

When: 7:15 and 9:45 p.m. Oct. 25, 26

Where: Comedy Off Broadway, The Mall at Lexington Green, 141 Lexington Green Cir.

Tickets: $17 Oct. 25, $20 Oct. 26. Available at (859) 271-5653 or Comedyoffbroadway.com.

Blake Hannon is a Mount Sterling-based writer.

Lexington Herald-Leader is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service