Reno takes on SNL’s Seth Meyers -- but Fozzie Bear gets a pass
This post has been corrected. Please see note at bottom for details.
Perhaps the Biggest Little City in the World is still smarting from "Reno 911," a “Cops” parody that showed the city’s officers policing chickens and trailer park denizens -- sometimes in washcloth-sized shorts.
That would explain the local reaction to a recent round of Reno-bashing that started with, of all things, the new Muppet movie.
In “The Muppets,” Jason Segel and Amy Adams rescue Fozzie Bear from a Reno casino, where he’s performing with a Muppets tribute act, the Moopets. As the Las Vegas Sun described it: In a riff off the song “The Rainbow Connection,” the Moopets tout the fictional Chulo casino’s free parking and 24-hour wedding chapel (“No marriage certificate is needed!”). Later, the gang retreats to Fozzie’s dressing room -– an alleyway where they hear the pop-pop of gunfire.
Boosters of downtown Reno, where the majority of casinos tower over the Truckee River, seemed to take the big-screen portrayal in stride. Some businesses even launched a tongue-in-cheek website called “Reno Loves Fozzie.”
Then Seth Meyers of “Saturday Night Live” joined the pile-on.
“According to a new list, the least happiest city in America is St. Petersburg, Fla.,” Meyers said on a recent “Weekend Update” segment. “But that’s only because Reno, Nev., finally killed itself.”
Oh, and he mispronounced Nevada.
Reno was not amused.
The city has suffered tremendous misfortune this year, including a major wildfire and a plane crash at one of its top tourism events, the National Championship Air Races, which killed 11 people. Even before that, residents were sick of Reno’s hick-town image, especially because they live so close to spectacular Lake Tahoe.
So the Reno Gazette-Journal asked readers to submit their responses to Seth Meyers, which the paper published last weekend. One reader invoked Dan Aykroyd (“Seth, you ignorant slut”); another said the zingers had actually been helpful (“Keep telling them it’s awful -- it keeps the Californians at bay”).
The paper didn’t ask for a response from Las Vegas -- the cities have a mutual antipathy akin to that of San Francisco and Los Angeles. But the Sun provided one anyway, listing Reno’s five food groups as venison, fish, berries, beer and Marlboro Reds.
There was some irony in this. On the saddest-cities list that Meyers citied, Reno was No. 9. What was No. 10? Las Vegas.
[For the record, 3:13 p.m., Dec. 21: An earlier version of this post misspelled Jason Segel's last name.]
-- Ashley Powers in Las Vegas
Photo: Fozzie Bear and Walter arrive at the premiere of "The Muppets" at El Capitan Theater in Los Angeles. Credit: Katy Winn/Associated Press