Randy and Jason Sklar return to Tulsa for a night of comedy
Randy and Jason Sklar bring their one-of-a-kind comedy to IDL Ballroom on Feb. 22.
The career of Randy and Jason Sklar is as impressive as it is diverse. The identical-twin comedy duo from St. Louis is known for their rapid-fire standup, finishing each other’s jokes at a breakneck pace as they take on everything from fatherhood to the process of making comedy. The brothers went on to host the popular ESPN show “Cheap Seats” in the mid-00s, where they would roast old, campy sports broadcasts. Since then they’ve made appearances on several popular shows including “Better Call Saul,” “Comedy Bang Bang,” and “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” to name a few. Their recent comedy special “Hipster Ghost” can be seen on Starz.
I talked to the Sklar Brothers about their recent audio documentary on Audible (“Sklars and Stripes”), their podcast (“Dumb People Town”), and their positive feelings about Tulsa ahead of their Feb. 22 performance at IDL Ballroom.
Andrew Deacon: How have you both been since your last performance in Tulsa?
Randy Sklar: I mean, there’s a hole in our hearts aching for us to come back to Tulsa, so that’s what we’re going to do.
Deacon: We’ve brought a lot of comedians to Tulsa for Blue Whale Comedy Festival, and it always makes me happy to see those comics go experience Tulsa while they’re here. You guys are probably our best example of that. What was your impression of our city as people who travel a lot?
Randy Sklar: We were surprised, and honestly, we didn’t know what to expect. It’s a city somewhere in the middle of Oklahoma. You say to yourself, ‘What is this going to be like?’ There’s a great arts district downtown. You have great coffee shops, great restaurants in that area, and of course you have Cain’s Ballroom right there. It was really cool! We met great people. There’s a great scene of artists that want to stay in Tulsa. We were super impressed.
Jason Sklar: We went to Oral Roberts.
Randy Sklar: We were there 15 minutes, and they gave us both honorary degrees.
Jason Sklar: It felt really good.
Randy Sklar: No, it was really cool. We tried to do as much as we could while we were there. We were doing this project for Audible at the time, where we went around to 10 cities and tried to write comedy about the cities we were in.
Jason Sklar: It’s called “Sklars and Stripes” and it’s available right now. One of the chapters is called “Tulsa.” It was a great episode to include because it was a place we had never been to before, and you [can] really hear us experiencing stuff about your city for the first time. It was a great chapter and I think maybe it was one of our favorites.
Deacon: How did it get started? Was it a project you approached Audible with?
Randy Sklar: We were starting to do it on the road. When we would go on tour, we would challenge ourselves to try and write some material about the town we were in. Instead of just launching into our material, let’s ease into it by actually trying to figure out what this town is about. … What are they dealing with, and can we write comedy about it? It’s kind of a high-wire act, but if you do it right, it’s a wonderful way to start a set.
So we were doing this already when we recorded a few cities for [podcast network] Earwolf’s premium site. They weren’t really interested in doing any more of them, but Audible was very interested. So we put together this 10 city audio documentary. The crazy thing was the very first city we recorded in was in San Diego. It was the first weekend after Trump won the election. We were both raw nerved. San Diego was a mix of some people that were really happy and some people that were really scared. It was fascinating.
Then, what happened over the course of the next year-and-a-half when we recorded this documentary, was our country became more divided than it’s ever been, and here we are as comedians romping through the center of it. Going to Tulsa. Going to Kansas City. Going to Houston. We went to places like Portland and San Francisco, too, but it was interesting experiencing red cities in blue states and blue cities in red states. It was amazing to see our country in that way and wonder, ‘Can we even really laugh at ourselves right now?’ I think it’s got increasingly harder since the time that we completed that project, but it’s an incredible timestamp for our country.
Jason Sklar: I think it was also born out of being away from our families and our kids for work, which is hard for both of us. When we’re on the road, we don’t want to sit in a hotel room all day long or sleep until three in the afternoon. … We have this amazing opportunity to discover this city for ourselves that we might not have come to if it weren’t for our jobs, and now we love it. I want to bring my kids to a Drillers game or take them to the Woody Guthrie Center.
Deacon: You all have a great podcast called “Dumb People Town.” Can you describe the premise behind the show and how it came about?
Jason Sklar: We believe firmly that the world is getting dumber. Dumb is getting louder. Dumb and smart are fighting, and dumb has the strength right now and is beating smart down. The only way to fight back is using comedy. So we get unbelievable true crime stories of people doing dumb things. It’s not always crime. Sometimes it’s a story of a woman who got her arm stuck in a toilet because she was trying to get her “Livestrong” bracelet out. You know, things like that.
These unbelievable stories get sent to our co-host Dan Van Kirk. He breaks down these news stories and then shares them with us. We’ll riff on them, tell jokes and improvise. We’ll have guests on like Tiffany Haddish, Keegan-Michael Key, Jon Hamm, or Thomas Middleditch.
It’s been an unbelievable experience, and what we’ve realized is that people that aren’t dumb are mad right now. Dumb is winning in this country overall and we have no recourse, but this podcast helps. Plus, no matter what dumb things you’ve done in your life, you listen to this podcast and you feel better.
Deacon: I think the charm of the show comes from acknowledging they’re dumb without exploiting them.
Randy Sklar: Well, we’re roasting these people. You can’t properly roast someone without having some love for them. There was a story that we did about a guy who was stealing cars to try and impress his 18-year-old son. He stole a bunch of cars and then would park them one street away. We as fathers totally understand that need to connect with your children. It was really funny. That’s what we try to do with the podcast. Where’s the humor in this? What’s the human element?
Jason Sklar: All of the stories we’ve used have been great. Truth be told, we’re developing the show as a narrative animated series for Sony and YouTube. It’s kind of like The Simpsons or Family Guy. We’ve created the dumbest town in America, where all this dumb stuff happens. It’s really a show about twin brothers. One is dumb and happy and the other is smart and right and miserable.
It makes you ask yourself, is it better to be dumb and happy or is it better to be smart and know what you’re talking about and be miserable right now? We try to explore both sides and give it to both sides. … It’s a curse to kind of know too much, you know? Sometimes I wish I didn’t know as much and [I could] just hang out on my Jet Ski and eat a Tide Pod over the weekend and not care. Sometimes we worry about too much stuff.