The Nash Bros either thrive or merely survive their appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! 2,119 words. Part One. Part Two. Illustration by John Donald Carlucci.
Fans and cheerleaders: Do you ever marvel at how they share our world? Incredible to think that while most of us live our humdrum lives, they are out there — the superstars — mythical, rolling, unhinged. And why do they do it? They do it so we don’t have to.
Marky and Sean met on the lot and rode to Kimmel’s in a Lincoln stretch. Marky felt cooler than he had all day. Plus, he acted kinder. He asked Sean, “Hey, man, you gonna do that patriot missile gag with Kimmel, the thing with the somersault?”
Sean was humbler. “I don’t want to hog up all the space.”
“No, bro. It’s a good bit. Do your thing.”
And then it happened so fast. They were whisked through the Green Room and pancaked, and led out on the air. The band played a brass version of the pair’s biggest hit to date, “Girl You’re The 1 (For Me, For Me)”. Kimmel’s audience ran a little older but they still went ape-shit when the Nash Bros crossed the stage. Jimmy did a little mock shock at the amplitude of the girly screams. The familiar tingle of stage energy dueled with Marky’s waning inner heat. Then there was a third Marky, a phantom in the wings: watching, sober, attentive. But every smile was in place, as Kimmel stood up to fist-five them with both hands as the horns blasted big ending punches.
The crowd would not stop screaming.
“Will you calm down?” Kimmel finally admonished, setting off another wave.
The three sat down and talked about the TV show’s new season. Clips were shown: Nash Bros on Safari. Marky playing with a snake in Baja, Sean slipping on a cliff doing his goofy, “Whoaaaaaaaaa!” Big laughs. Cut to commercial and then the band kicked in and the overhead cameras swooped down and they were back.
“So, wait a minute,” Kimmel wisecracked. “You guys were still in high school when you shot the first season?”
“I was, yeah,” Sean said. “Marky was one year out.”
Kimmel laughed. “So you guys are old pros! Where did it all begin?”
Sean replied, “Well, we were extras for a long time, just for fun. Then, at 16, I landed a speaking role on Eisenhower Junior High.”
Marky, who had been silent up to now, said, “Speaking part? You had like two words.” The crowd laughed.
Sean continued. “Anyway, Marky tagged along on the set, and this producer caught us food fighting in the commissary, trying to spray each other with taco sauce. He goes, ‘Best pals, huh? You’ll never know how important friendship really is.’ All of a sudden, Marky grabbed me and said, ‘He’s my baby brother.’”
Marky picked up the story. “And then Sean goes, ‘Baby? I’m the next generation!’” Kimmel and the crowd roared.
Proud Sean flashed his teeth, “Six months later, Miley Cyrus asked us to be guests on her Disney Christmas Special.”
“And the rest is history,” Kimmel said. “Now, is it true that even the President’s daughters are fans of the show?”
“Totally,” Sean said. “Actually, through them, I’ve been secretly giving the prez some advice.”
Kimmel marveled, “You advise the President?”
“Yeah…” and then Sean went into a bit. Marky hung back. Way back. He didn’t smile. He didn’t nod. He was as stern as the Old Man. Now Sean was on his knees mock saluting. Marky stayed stonefaced.
Kimmel, caught the vibe and clearly thought this was a pre-planned gag op. “So you guys have some sibling rivalry?”
Sean said “Us?” scrambling back into his seat. “No way — we’re not just brothers, we really are friends. I feel lucky to have Marky as a brother. He’s so damn talented.”
Then Marky snickered. “I paid him twelve bucks to say that.”
Now the audience cheered.
Marky saw his moment. “I mean, we have our issues.”
Sean said, “Like when Marky won’t loan me his favorite guitar.”
A steady but comical “Ooooooooh” built up in the audience.
“Easy!” Kimmel told the audience in mock surrender. “Easy!”
Marky continued on. “And then there was Sean’s little problem.”
“Problem?” Kimmel said. He double-checked the teleprompter but they all were way off script. “What problem?”
Marky smiled. “Sean’s little bedwetting problem.”
Kimmel froze, as Sean buried his face in his hands. Marky made innocent eyes and searched within for the satisfaction. But then the audience went “Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww” in unison.
Sean raised his head and shrugged. Kimmel practically fell out of his seat, overcome with TV joy.
Backstage, the Nash Bros rinsed off their makeup in silence. Then Sean asked, “What was that?”
Marky stared down his little brother. “That’s me being a sidekick.”
Sean shook his head. “Dude, that shit was genius. Why didn’t you tell me you were gonna do that? I would have played it up.”
Marky looked at his brother, then walked away. But he knew — this was far from over.
Two hours later, they were at the Dresden off Hollywood, in the back room drinking dirty martinis in a big white booth with two buxotic girls giggling about the waiters in white coats. And their table was of course getting stares, even though nobody in the hipster crowd dared ask for an autograph. The patrons were playing a game: We are too intellectual to be blown away by you superstars. Marky played along, but he knew better. The next day — no, make it later that night — every single one of them would tell all their friends they had seen the Nash Bros with their hot dates at the Dresden.
The Kimmel appearance had been a smash. The Producer texted them both the words breakthrough and off the chain. Facebook was lighting. Meno had to be having a world-class tummyache.
Sean was cooing at the girls. “Marky knows that Mom loves me more anyway.”
“Yeah, right,” Marky said.
The girls shot each other looks — it was spar-time. Playful.
“Besides,” Sean continued, “he’s still embarrassed about the time he tried to scare off this neighborhood gang by trying to make a blowtorch with a cigarette lighter.” The girls giggled.
Then Marky smiled. “You still bad tripping about how you got picked last for the softball team — after the cripple?”
“No. But I can see you’re still bummed out about when you were cast in the school play as a tree.”
“I’d rather be a tree than the flying fairy angelboy in a tutu.”
“Marky is still pissed because I stole his tricycle.”
“Thanks, bro. And I admit that I stole your high school sweetheart.”
Sean said, “My sweetheart?”
Marky turned to the girls. “Daphne. Love of his life.”
Sean rolled his eyes. “Daphne? I forgot she even existed.”
There was apprehensive laughter all around. “Now, now, boys,” one of the girls admonished, so they returned to their drinks and conversations about reality shows. Finally, the brothers paid up and were ready to leave, bracing for the paparazzi onslaught.
Marky warned, “Say cheese.“ The girls giggled. The doorman opened the red door of the club’s back exit. Photographers hopped off the hoods of cars and the cameras started flashing. Marky whispered, “You’re not still afraid of the dark, are you Sean?” just loud enough for their dates to hear.
“You still ashamed of the time Dad kicked your ass?” Sean countered.
With the pop-pop-pop of the camera flashes, a fast confusion broke open, a scream, then screams, and someone pulled on Marky’s coat, his arms still swinging, his brother curling to the ground. As they yanked him off, the last thing Marky saw was his brother’s bruised face caked in Nash blood.
They rushed Marky away.
TMZ: Where Is The Love?
PEOPLE: Punch and Judy.
EW.COM: Brotherly Hate.
The next day, the Producer took Marky to Factor’s Famous Deli. The Other Producer couldn’t make it. “I know the place is for old people but I want to talk and not stop eighty times so you can sign some little girl’s napkin.” Marky took this as a warning — it was Serious Business Time, reprimand on the horizon.
In the booth, the Producer began with, “You wanna talk about what happened?”
Marky shrugged. “I’m cool.”
“Last night was not cool.”
“It was just a joke.” Marky felt like a teenager, maybe for the very last time. “I admit that shit got out of hand.”
“Look, my brother is my brother. We had a brawl. It happens.”
The Producer left Marky in the booth to go to the bathroom. What was taking the guy so long? It made Marky nervous and he prayed to nobody in particular: I vow that I will never ever lord it over my brother again. He even wanted to tell the Producer that he liked being the sidekick and that Sean was the star. It was true, he really saw that now. It took the heat off him, for one, especially in those moments when the show teetered. He would make himself friendly and cheer Sean on as he went into his cuckoo dance: cuckoo ricoo ri-cuckoo! Alone in the booth, Marky even chuckled a little. My brother the nut; it’ll be good to let him shine.
Marky waited a long time for the Producer. And in that wait, strange thoughts happened. Marky began to know. And then he just knew. For sure. His stomach tightened — not for himself, because he was sick of it anyway. But for the disappointment that would fall over his baby brother’s goofy face like a shadow.
The Producer came back and flopped into the booth, slid the menu away, and said, “I’ve made a decision.”
The Nash Bros was no more.
Sean Nash became the comic relief on an upcoming sitcom called Mixed Nuts, cast as the hilarious joke-a-zoid space-alien disguised as a college undergrad sent to earth to cure the brokenhearted.
Marky Nash began putting together a back-up band, The Mercy Beats, and two of his songs made the Sim City VIII soundtrack.
In a recent interview with E!, 16-year-old multiplatinum superstar Meno Dalmucci recalled, “For me, it was all about Sean and Marky Nash. When I was 13? 14? I worshipped.”
One day, TMZ caught a pop-shot of Sean with his arms around two girls leaning on a Delorean outside the Viper Room. Twenty-year-old Sean had turned his face from the camera, flashing his jaw, chewing gum slowly, maybe watching the Sunset Strip traffic.
His brother Marky, scrolling the internet in his home studio, saw this very photo. It gave him a funny thrill. Sean was beautiful, statuesque, solitary, sovereign of even the ground beneath him. He had finally made it to that immortal place: celebrity.
Marky leaned back in his chair and remembered that look from an older Sean photo during a day trip with Mom. She was already a little blanched, fast aging. Toting her kids around, she carried the internalized look of someone who had to continually re-accept her fate. What did Mom want? For herself, she only desired the right to dream of an escape that she knew was not possible. For them, to be boys forever. Though he didn’t have words for it, the little boy Marky sensed this; the little boy Sean did not. They’d walked up a dirt hill toward giant cottonballs against blue sky.
“Oh that’s beautiful,” Mom had cried out. “Look at the clouds.” She had a weak spot for anything soft and far away.
Then she’d said, “Marky, you go first.”