Comedian brings 'Cops' sendup to town
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:
DetailsCarlos Alazraqui from 'Reno 911'
When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday; 8 and 10:15 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Where: Funny Bone, Bessemer Court, Station Square.