Carlos Alazraqui dishes on life after 'Reno 911'
By Dave Dondoneau
By Dave Dondoneau
It seemed like a cruel joke that Comedy Central writers played on Carlos Alazraqui.
After five seasons of teaming with "Jonesy," and turning improv comedy into an art, "Reno 911" writers killed off furry-lipped, sunglass-wearing Deputy James Garcia (Alazraqui) in a Season 5 cliffhanger, by having him drive into a taco stand and die a fiery death.
That Alazraqui was the voice of the Taco Bell chihuahua ("Yo Quiero") before joining the "Reno" cast puts an almost evil, curious twist on Garcia's demise.
On Wednesday night, fans of Alazraqui — and the mustachioed Deputy Garcia — can chime in about the "Reno" experience, as well as Alazraqui's voice-over career when he brings his standup routine to Pipeline Café.
During a recent phone interview — held while Alazraqui was watching the Bulls-Celtics Game 6 in an airport lounge — he promised that part of his show will pay tribute to Deputy Garcia, whom fans of "Reno 911" still miss. (Along with deputies Clementine Johnson and Cherisha Kimball, who also went up in flames in the mockumentary's season finale.)
"Leaving the show wasn't my decision," Alazraqui said. "But that's how it goes in Hollywood. It was a great ride for me while it lasted. Life goes on."
Alazraqui's career has shifted more into voice-over roles and taking his standup routine on the road. Some of the voices he does will surprise you, and he also promises to roll out those characters Wednesday.
He was the voice of Nestor ("One of the Penguinos," he said) in "Happy Feet," and will begin shooting "Happy Feet 2" in September.
He's worked with Robin Williams and Elijah Wood, he is Mr. Weed on "Family Guy," was the bilingual screwdriver in the "Handy Manny" kids cartoons, Rocko the Wallaby on "Rocko's Modern Life," and Denzel Q. Crocker and Juandissimo Magnifico on "The Fairly OddParents."
He's also getting married May 15, 2010, to his fiancée, whom he met in 2004 while doing his standup routine, is an avid skydiver with more than 700 jumps (his 70th was at Dillingham Airfield years ago), last visited Hawai'i in 1999, scuba dived off the coast of Kaua'i, loves the black lava rock and sky-blue ocean off the Kona Coast and plans to spend much of his stay on O'ahu at the beach soaking up the sun. ("But wearing a rash guard because I don't want to be one of the haole tourists who gets burned by the tropical sun.")
He is also a huge sports fan, who is finally going to give up his Los Angeles Clippers season tickets next season.
"I hate the coach," he said. "This year, I hate to say it, but the Lakers have the best shot at winning the title. It ticked me off last year when Kobe (Bryant) won the MVP. Pau Gasol tipped it in his favor when he came over in a trade for next to nothing. Ridiculous. He's so underrated. You put him on any other team, and that team will win the title. He's the difference in the Lakers."
As for still being recognized, and asked, about Deputy James Garcia, Alazraqui said it never gets old.
"Not at all," he said. "Hopefully someday I can come up with another character in a TV series like that. I wouldn't mind that a bit."
Reach Dave Dondoneau at firstname.lastname@example.org.