Inverse Interviews

Thomas Lennon talks Reno 911 on Quibi and The State's best sketch ever

The comedy legend reveals the secret backstory to the greatest 'The State' sketch of all time.

You probably recognize Thomas Lennon from Reno 911, where he stars as Lt. Jim Dangle. Or maybe you remember him from The State, a sketch comedy show that aired on MTV from 1993 to '95 and has a cult following today. Or maybe, to you, he's Batman's doctor in The Dark Knight Rises.

In an interview with Inverse, Lennon discussed all those roles and more, while revealing why Quibi is actually the perfect platform for Reno 911! along with the untold origin story of The State's most iconic sketch, "The Last Supper."

Here's a quick breakdown of the best moments from our interview with Thomas Lennon:

On bringing Reno 911! to Quibi:

"They run like six to eight minutes. When we started, they were gonna be 10 minutes, and then we tried some shows, and Quibi was trying other shows, and they came back and said, ‘Oh no, 10 minutes is way too long for people’s attention spans these days.’ The sweet spot is like 6-and-a-half 7 minutes”

Thomas Lennon in 'Quibi 911!'Quibi

Reno 911! is like candy that you find on the ground. You don’t need to know where it came from, it’s just a fun thing that’s incredible disposable.”

On the secret origin of The State sketch best-known to fans as, "I wanna dip my balls in it!":

"I’m really proud of Louie and The Last Supper. When we did The State, the network really wanted recurring characters who said wacky shit we could repeat, and we considered ourselves like The Clash and were like, ‘We’re never going to do anything the way people want us to. We’re gonna be very anti-establishment, we’re always gonna be a punk band.'"

'The State'MTV

"Then David and Ken came up with a character who says, ‘I’m gonna dip my balls in it,’ which was the greatest catchphrase of all time. So when the network said, ‘Please do some more Louie sketches,' I wrote one which was actually called Kabuki Doug. We did a full kabuki play of all of our recurring characters, based on a real kabuki storyline called "The Love at Sonezaki" and we did it in Japanese. A lot of us were theater majors, we tried to do a really solid kabuki play, and then the other one we did was Louie at the Last Supper. I love that one so much, even when I watch it now."

(Read more about the origin's of Louie in this interview with Ken Marino)

On the possibility of a The State reunion, on Quibi or elsewhere:

“We do talk about it. Every year it gets likelier and likelier that we’ll do something. We did a benefit show recently on Zoom and we had the entire group, including Todd who’s in South Korea, and Dave Foley from Kids in the Hall joined us to do a bit with us, just because it was so many weird white comedians from the ‘90s. I said to Dave Foley, maybe when there’s some sort of vaccine, ‘What about a State Kids in the Hall monsters of rock tour, together?’ I was not kidding and I don’t think Dave was kidding. I would love to do something like that, like go do a great live tour with Kids in the Hall or something.

Reno 911! is streaming now on Quibi.

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