ShareThis Page
Arts & Entertainment

Comedian brings 'Cops' sendup to town

| Thursday, Nov. 18, 2004

Perps beware: Officer James Garcia from the Reno County Sheriff's department patrols Pittsburgh this weekend.

He's the gung-ho cop on "Reno 911."

No, he's not the one with the hot pants. That's officer Jim Dangle. And if you're picturing the hunky African-American ladies man, that's officer S. Jones.

Garcia is the guy with the botched haircut, aviator glasses and bulletproof vest, whose motto is, "Every bullet that stays in my gun is a waste of taxpayers' money."

"I look like an angry Freddy Mercury from Queen," explains actor and standup comic Carlos Alazraqui helpfully.

His one-man show "Nothing to See Here," plays at the Funny Bone Station Square from Thursday through Saturday. The show features comedy bits from Alazraqui, interspersed with clips of Garcia from "Reno 911," which airs Mondays on Comedy Central.

According to Alazraqui -- and this is truly frightening to contemplate -- he uses bits from his own life to create the character of Garcia.

"When I shot up the pinata in Season One, it was directly related to when I beat the (expletive) out of an ATM in Hawaii when it took my card and I went ballistic," he says.

He was born in Yonkers, N.Y., but his Argentinean parents soon moved to the West Coast.

Until "Reno 911" his highest-profile gig was supplying the voice of the Taco Bell Chihuahua, whose "Yo Quiero Taco Bell" became a catchphrase in the '90s.

Before that, Alazraqui paid his dues scuffling around the standup comedy circuit in Los Angeles. "Then when I started doing voice work I thought, 'This is great. I'm doing cartoons. I'm getting paid. I'm wearing shorts and sandals I'm getting residuals."

He's also lent his voice to a characters from "SpongeBob SquarePants,""Songbook SquarePants," "Pokemon" and "Rocko's Modern Life." He also plays a schoolteacher on the new Nickelodeon series, "The Fairly Odd Parents" and as Ricochet in the new WB animated series, "Mucha Lucha."

"Voice actors are underrated," he says. "I went to an auditon today and did seven different takes for a callback. I was thinking, 'There's no way a celebrity could do what we do. ... You drive through traffic and read four words on a piece of paper. You say, 'Man that was a waste of time...' (But) you get lucky."

That luck extended to signing on to "Reno 911," a laugh-out-loud funny parody of the Fox reality show "Cops."

"The very first pilot we did in April 2001. We're out in San Pedro, Calif., shooting the stuff and the crew was laughing," Alazraqui says. "And we thought, 'God, this stuff is going to be good.' Then Fox said, 'No,' and we're like, 'Wha ...?'"

The show gets its humor from the deadpan performances of the cast, Alazraqui says. Everyone on the force is essentially a straight man. Or woman.

"It's funny because you're so dramatically serious. He (Officer Garcia) takes himself seriously. He's a seriously conflicted guy." Additional Information:

Details

Carlos Alazraqui from 'Reno 911'

When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday; 8 and 10:15 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Admission: $17.50.

Where: Funny Bone, Bessemer Court, Station Square.

Details: (412)281-3130.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me