There is something almost too perfect about Reno 911! getting rebooted on Quibi. The improvised Cops parody, which ran on Comedy Central for six seasons, is back in a big way this week—albeit with much smaller episodes.
The entire cast, which includes creators Thomas Lennon, Robert Ben Garant and Kerri Kenney-Silver as well as multiple Emmy Award nominee Niecy Nash, has reunited for a seventh season that consists of 12 episodes, each six-eight minutes long, designed to be viewed on your phone. In these “quick bites,” Reno 911! is just as funny, if not funnier, than ever.
In this exclusive clip from an episode that will drop later this week, comedian Patton Oswalt is the subject of a public disturbance call when his right-wing extremist character starts broadcasting the “White Genocide Radio Hour” from a pizza restaurant that has just installed an “all-gender” restroom.
“I can't even describe the level of brilliance that thing exists on,” Oswalt says of the show when I bring up his cameo during an upcoming episode of The Last Laugh podcast.
Nearly the entire show is improvisation, which traditionally operates on the concept of “yes, and.” As Oswalt explains, “The thing that supposedly kills an improv scene is going ‘no, but,’ and shutting it down. Reno 911! basically breaks that rule every scene, where you start whatever your improv is and they come in and try to not just say ‘no, but,’ but ‘no, and I'm going to mace you and arrest you.’ They make comedy out of people trying to shut things down.”
When Lieutenant Dangle (Lennon) and Deputy Junior (Garant) show up to shut him down, Oswalt’s character labels them part of the “Deep State,” one of a few allusions to the current political reality that did not exist when the show went off the air in 2009. “Can we take down the SJWs outside?” they ask him politely before resorting to more creative measures.
“I love how in the scene that I'm in, where I'm basically playing this alt-right, awful, racist radio host, the cops can't help themselves but half agree with some of the stuff that I’m saying,” Oswalt remarks.
This is at least the fifth character Oswalt has played in the Reno 911! universe, including a Dungeons and Dragon nerd, a “film critic who had been smashed between two cars and was basically dead but didn't know it yet,” a stalker who kills singer Kenny Rogers, and the assistant deputy mayor in 2007’s Reno 911!: Miami movie.
“I love this show so much,” Oswalt says. “I mean, everyone in this show is just amazing.” The fact that they are all back for the reboot is a “minor miracle,” he says, given how successful the cast has become since the show first premiered nearly two decades ago. “To get them all together was incredible.”