This Friday (February 25th, 2022) marks the debut of an all-new season of Roku Original, Reno 911! Defunded, a hilarious mockumentary show with great guest stars and a fun-loving cast and crew.
We spoke with cast members and creators of the show; Thomas Lennon, who plays Lieutenant Jim Dangle, Kerri-Kenney Silver, who plays Deputy Trudy Wiegel, and Robert Ben Garant, who portrays Deputy Travis Junior.
Reno 911! Defunded follows Reno’s police force after their funding has been cut; now they must tackle the civilians of their city with a lack of gear, weapons and, pretty much everything else.
Speaking about Al and Lopez, Kerri stated that “we’ve worked Al and George Lopez before, we love them, they’re troopers... but Jamie Lee reached out to us.”
“[She] said she wanted to come play,” continued Kerri, “we were totally honoured, and she was more of a dream than you could ever possibly imagine.”
Thomas and Robert nodded along in agreement with Kerri, as they rewound back to the scenes in which Curtis was involved in.
Kerri also stated that everything in Curtis’ scenes were “her idea, she said ‘okay here’s what I’m gonna need: an eye patch, I want shorts’..."
After Curtis landed on set, her character began “ordering us around” when the cameras were rolling, said Kerri, ; Curtis was immediately in character as soon as she landed on set, but out of character, it seemed as though she was an absolute delight to have.
The actress also mentioned that, at the end of the day, Curtis “set up a table with fancy candies for everyone in the cast and crew... and like a ‘thank you’ letter to us.”
Robert then shared his experience with Curtis, saying that she felt “super super nervous when she got there”, which may not be what you expect from the iconic horror actress!
“Everything in that episode was discussed in like two, very short emails of what we might do,” stated Thomas, “and then it almost became two whole episodes because there were so many amazing scenes with her.”
Many fans are always happy to know that the cast and grew get along behind the scenes, which was certainly the case for Thomas, Kerri and Robert.
“It is the most fun place to be,” began Kerri, “and everybody gets along... it is as fun if not more than you think it is on camera... What you see is actually us trying to keep ourselves from laughing.”
“I think you can tell,” Thomas said, “in especially the morning briefing scenes where we’re endlessly saying awful, inappropriate thing to each other, you can probably tell that these people must be pretty good friends.”
This comment was met with profound nods from both Kerri and especially Robert. “There’s a sort of comfort level,” continued Thomas, “of people saying the most awful thing that they can blurt out.”
Robert chimed in to say that “when everybody’s together, it’s just like this magic; it’s a really fun chemistry.”
It’s always great to know that the cast get along off-camera, and Kerri truly believes that “I don’t think you could do a show like this, which is one hundred percent improv, and have that level of joy coming off the screen if it weren’t true.”
“People take risks” stated Robert, still discussing how the fun is just as much behind the scenes as in the spotlight, “which we would not do if we weren’t incredibly comfortable around each other.”
Speaking of comradery, Thomas admitted with a laugh that “...it’s almost like a competition, on occasion, as to who can be the saddest character on the show.
“Everybody’s backstories are always getting worse and worse...” he carried on, “and whenever we [the characters] say what our salary is, it’s always going lower and lower.”
“We keep upping the sadness stakes of our characters, almost competitively,” revealed Thomas. When asked who was winning this sadness race, Kerri said that she thinks they’re “all tied”.
When asked about their favourite episodes from the Reno 911! Defunded, Thomas said that “there’s an episode coming up called Jonesteenth, that will be unlike anything anyone’s ever seen.
“It’s Jones the character’s one-man tribute to the black narrative in America,” explains Thomas. "It’s probably one of the greatest and stupidest things we’ve ever done."
“It’s also very clear from the get-go", added Robert, “that he’s not exactly sure what date Juneteenth is...”
Thomas was quick to agree that Jones (Cedric Yarbrough) “very clearly does not know” when this celebrated day is, which should lead to a hilarious episode.
Despite Jones not knowing as much about this holiday as he should, Robert states that the episode has “a lot of heart”, which we can come to expect from the Reno 911! team.
Kerri explains that filming this episode was “very difficult, because we had to act bored, and it was the funniest thing I’ve ever personally seen.”
Thomas then brought up the plot to an episode where his character, Lt. Dangle, “goes on trial for murder”, which will definitely be interesting to see.
Robert then added in that “because of COVID, we had to return to our sketch show origins”, which seems to fit Reno 911! Defunded perfectly.
Towards the end of the interview, Thomas, Kerri and Robert were asked about their favourite part of filming an all-new season of Reno 911!, and all three paused for thought.
“It’s always fun to have Weird Al,” said Robert, who also claimed that filming the upcoming season was “a challenging sort of puzzle, because we only had three locations because of COVID."
“... so you had to walk around this hotel,” continued Robert, “and figure out ‘okay this bar we can use for this sketch, and this corner we could make into a jewellery shop...’”
Kerri then brought up something that was highly agreed upon by Thomas and especially Robert, she told us that “the energy of having been in lockdown, and then getting to come out and play with your friends” was something completely magical.
Reno 911! Defunded will debut exclusively on The Roku Channel on Friday, February 25th, 2022.
Watch the trailer for Reno 911! Defunded below:
Written by Melissa, who you can follow on Twitter @melissajournal