‘Reno 911’ Star Thomas Lennon Preps For Live Show, Talks Zac Efron

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Thomas Lennon, co-writer of the “Night At The Museum” films and the buns of “Reno 911’s” Jim Dangle, is taking to this stage at Hollywood’s Largo on Tuesday night for an evening of comedy.

“Thomas Lennon and Friends” will find the funnyman joined for standup and sketches by pals, including fellow “Reno” trooper Robert Ben Garant, comedian Chris Hardwick and “Best Week Ever” commentator, the spectacled Nick Kroll.

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Thomas, a Los Angeles resident, told AcessHollywood.com that putting the night together was the kind of feat that simply required lifting the phone.

“Pretty much, yes,” he laughed. “I’m a giant wheel in the basic cable comedy industry.

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“That was pretty much a joke,” he quickly added.

Tuesday’s performance will be a coming out of sorts for Thomas, a veteran of cult sketch comedy troupe “The State,” (which had a show by the same name on MTV in the ‘90s), as he’ll be following it up this year with three major offerings.

He’ll hit the big screen this spring alongside Paul Rudd and Jason Segel in “I Love You, Man;” he’ll play one of the Wright Brothers with co-writer Garant in “Night At The Museum 2,” in the run up to summer, and sandwiched in the middle — becoming Zac Efron’s best friend in “17 Again.”

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“Basically, in the movie [Zac’s character] gets a chance to be 17 again. He tells me [and] I take him back to school to enroll him as my son,” Thomas said of his part. “I was like, ‘Oh, that’s so hilarious,’ and then I did the math and I was like, ‘Zac Efron basically could be my son.’ That’s pretty much the most disturbing thought I’ve ever thought.”

Thomas said he developed a great respect for the former “High School Musical” heartthrob during the filming process.

“Zac came in to read with me and he was chased to the meeting by like ten paparazzi cars… He was getting crushed like the Beatles by photographers and that was the very first time that I met him,” Thomas recounted. “My first thought was, ‘There’s no way this guy and I are gonna get along, ‘cause this is just way too frickin’ weird,’ but the thing I just found out about him immediately? He’s really not just like a pin-up kind of Tiger Beat idol. He’s also a really serious, excellent actor. And he’s also really, really funny and really smart.”

And, Zac kept up with Thomas’ comedic chops.

“There’s actually a couple of things in the trailer that you’ll see – he asked me why I’m dressed like Clay Aiken,” Thomas explains of Zac’s humor. “I did not have to lob it to him. He was absolutely full-speed at improv and a really good dramatic actor. And it’s also annoying because he’s so damn beautiful.”

With “17 Again’s” opening still months away, and the sixth season of “Reno 911” in the can, Thomas is presently focusing on his own comedy in the run up to his Largo show.

“I’ve written a great sketch about the American Girl Theme Park that’s being built and then Ben Garant and I… basically we bring the entire production of O in Las Vegas, to you, with no water, in less than four minutes,” he explained. “Let’s face it, you don’t want to pay $110 bucks to see O in Las Vegas, the entire show… you gotta drive all the way out there. Just watching the show? Well over 90 minutes. We give it to you in four and a half minutes.”

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