MEISEL | Reno 911! When Police Play the Fool

Maybe the oddest thing about the television show Reno 911! was how little work needed to be put in for a mid-2000s cable TV stint to become something unique and inventive. The show was founded mostly on a collection of whims by alumni of the infamous mid ’90s sketch comedy troupe The State, specifically Thomas Lennon, Robert Ben Garant and Kerri Kenney-Silver, whose endeavor Viva Variety had ended shortly beforehand on Comedy Central. Simply put, it’s a fake cop documentary about the Reno Nevada Sheriff’s Department, only the police aren’t depicted as heroes. Instead, they’re portrayed as magnificent buffoons.