'Reno 911!' creators remember the show 5 years later, talk potential reunion

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Image Credit: Comedy Central

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Their favorite moments:

LENNON: I feel like season 3 was really solid. I have some favorite episodes. Brian Phelps from Mark and Brian did an episode where he played Gigg LeCarp, who was a reverend who came back to do a show from our jail.

LENNON: I remember I didn’t know much about him—he was like a real whacky morning DJ—and then he came in and did one of the most brilliant, subtle performances. It was just crazy.

GARANT: So funny. Yeah.

LENNON: It’d be really hard to pick. There’s a lot of moments. Anytime you got to do a scene with Jim Rash was really wonderful.

GARANT: Oscar Nunez auditioned for us. He just talked really funny. He was a UPS guy and he “has a lot of uniforms.” What he auditioned with was just sort of a fast-talking con man, and we said, “Well, what if this guy came in as Homeland Security, and he’s teaching us Homeland Security?” And that was season one. It became like a two-episode thing just because he was so weird and funny. That was the first time that during the shooting, we all realized, “This doesn’t make any sense that he’s from Homeland Security. What if he’s not? What if he’s lying?”

LENNON: Without even telling him, we decided about halfway through shooting that he was going to be a con man.

GARANT: So at the very end, right before he left, we told him, “Hey we need to take your mug shot because you’re not really with Homeland Security.” And he thought that was hilarious, and so he became Spanish Mike Alvarez. He became our super villain.

LENNON: One of my favorite scenes we ever shot, it’s the least a guest star ever did. Zach Galifianakis played a character named Frisbee. He lived in a school bus. He was basically like a David Koresh type character who had a little compound and some child brides, and we did a full scene with him where we pulled up to his weird bus with his child brides. We walk up to him for a long time and we say, “Hey Frisbee, you haven’t seen those young civil rights workers who were walking around trying to get some…” [Laughs]

GARANT: Signatures.

LENNON: Yeah. And he just shakes his head no, in the most suspicious way ever, and we walk back to the car.

GARANT: And we say, “All right, okay.”

LENNON: Basically you know in that moment he killed them and buried them somewhere on his property. But no one ever said anything. It was just one of those great little moments. That was one of my favorite things.

LENNON: All the stuff where Patton Oswalt played the D&D.

GARANT: The Boozehammer of Galen, man. Wow.

LENNON: It was always really fun to fight and wrestle with Natasha Leggero. Those were always great moments. She would always put up a really great fight to not get in a police car. George Lopez as…

GARANT: Mayor Hernandez, yeah.

LENNON: [He] would come in with his hand bandaged up and weeping, saying, “Anybody can make an allegation.” Those were really fun.

GARANT: We just pitched to him, “Hey George, what if you came in as our Mayor, and you just were going to tell us not to believe the stuff that was just about to come out about you?” And he said, “Okay, great.” So he came in and gave those wonderful speeches with a bandage on his hand.

LENNON: He’s got like, blood on his hand. [Laughs]

GARANT: Toby Huss was always great. Toby Huss, Big Mike—we’ve known him for a long time, and we told him when we were just starting to develop the show, “Yeah, it’s like Cops, so we need to run into sort of characters in Reno.” All he said was, “What if I had a do-rag and like a wife beater with a pack of cools down the front of my shirt?” And that’s all he told us. And we said, “Yeah, okay, great. We’ll see what happens.” And then he became Big Mike. After season 2, the very first day of every single shoot every season was always Big Mike because we knew we would get something. We knew that it would kind of warm us all up and remind us what the show was.

LENNON: A really great moment I remember was, we had Nick Swardson who played Terry—one of the greatest characters ever. He had been bragging about his beautiful, super hot girlfriend. Christina Applegate said she wanted to come in and play Terry’s girlfriend. She was waiting in, like, a fancy car down the street with headphones on, just listening to what Terry was saying about her, including what her name was. She had never heard any of the stuff about the character, so she was just waiting in a car around the corner with headphones on so that she could drive into the scene and then corroborate everything he was saying.

GARANT: What she did for a living, her name.

LENNON: Seeeemji with four E’s and a silent J.

GARANT: Paul Rudd was so tricky because he’s so busy, and so whenever Paul Rudd came as the weird creepy Lamaze instructor who was very, very into pregnant women, that was always wonderful.

LENNON: Those were always really fun. We really had a lot of exactly who you would want on the show.

GARANT: Drew Carey really wanted to do it, but every time we were shooting—like, one time he was off doing USO stuff. We almost got Drew Carey a bunch of times, and that would’ve been really fun. But we got almost everybody.

LENNON: I liked how we used Kenny Rogers, that was really nice.

GARANT: Oh my God, yeah. Kenny Rogers wrote a blurb in TV Guide. They asked random celebrities what they’re watching on TV, and he had a little blurb that said that Reno 911! was the best show on TV right now, and so we called him and he said, “Great, I would do it.” So he came as himself. He had such a good time, and he had such a great sense of humor about himself. Kerri dressed up as like the decoy Kenny Rogers.

LENNON: Kerri dressed as Kenny Rogers making out with Carlos, who had fallen in love with her because she was dressed like Kenny Rogers. That was one of my favorite…if you recall, Patton Oswalt assassinates Kenny Rogers and he walks up to him and says, “What’s the frequency, Kenneth?” Boom. And then assassinates him. That was a great episode.

The reunion they’d want to do:

LENNON: I would like to [bring everybody back]. It’s actually not a hard show to do.

GARANT: It’s not a hard show to do. There’s a reunion that you can see online of The Andy Griffith Show—the tone of it is really funny. They’re all really old, and they’re sitting up in this panel giving this really heartfelt discussion, but they’re in character. It’s really weird. I think I would love to do a show like that years and years and years in the future—that we’re still doing it, that you’re catching up on us. We never went anywhere, it’s just the documentary crew went away.

LENNON: Oh, we talked about that, right. There had just been a couple years where we weren’t being documented.

GARANT: I love the idea that we weren’t a show that got canceled, it’s just Comedy Central stopped filming us.

LENNON: [You] stopped looking at us.

GARANT: Yeah, you just stopped looking at us.


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