Triumph the Insult Comic Dog
|Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog|
|First appearance||February 13, 1997 on Late Night with Conan O'Brien|
|Created by||Conan O'Brien|
|Portrayed by||Robert Smigel|
|Full name||Ch. Triumph's Honor of Whitehall|
|Occupation||Interviewer, Insult Comic Dog|
Triumph the Insult Comic Dog is a puppet character puppeteered and voiced by Robert Smigel, best known for mocking celebrities in an Eastern European accent. As his name indicates, Triumph's comedic style is almost exclusively insult comedy. A Rottweiler, Triumph often puffs a cigar, which usually falls out of his mouth when he starts talking. He debuted in 1997 on NBC's Late Night with Conan O'Brien and also appeared on The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien from time to time, as well as the short-lived TV Funhouse, TBS's Conan, and Adult Swim's The Jack and Triumph Show. Smigel and Triumph have been ejected from several events for Triumph's antics, including Westminster (three times), the Honolulu line for auditions for American Idol, and the 2004 Democratic National Convention (while shooting an aborted movie project).
2004 presidential campaign
Triumph filmed a number of segments during the 2004 US presidential election cycle. In November 2003, in the early days of the 2004 U.S. presidential primary campaign, Triumph was the "lead guest" on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno the same night that Democratic candidate John Kerry also appeared on the show. Kerry made a dramatic entry, riding his Harley-Davidson motorcycle onto the stage; but Triumph, in characteristic style, poked fun at him with a series of scathingly rude remarks, to Kerry's evident discomfort. (Among his jibes: "The poop I made in the dressing room had more heat than John Kerry!")
In July and August 2004, Triumph followed up with visits to both major parties' national conventions. During the Democratic National Convention in Boston (from which he was ejected), Triumph and Michael Moore attempted to crash Bill O'Reilly's set. O'Reilly, having his makeup applied at the time, shouted, "If I have to come out there, Insult Dog, you're gonna be talking a lot higher than you are now."[episode needed] He also gained entry to the Republican convention in New York, and even debated actor Ron Silver during the wrap-up on MSNBC.
2008 presidential election
In September 2008, Triumph traveled to St. Paul, Minnesota to attend that year's Republican National Convention, where he filed a series of reports as he joked around with delegates inside the hall and protesters in the streets outside the convention. He also conducted a 6½-minute interview (at a hotel across the street) with independent candidate Ralph Nader.
In October 2008, Triumph made an appearance at Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY during the final presidential debate between John McCain and Barack Obama. He interviewed and made jokes with political party supporters and with other members of the press, including the host of Fox News Channel's On the Record with Greta Van Susteren, making a surprise appearance on her show with Mr. Met, the McCain-supporting mascot of the New York Mets.
The Jack and Triumph Show
2016 presidential election
In February 2016, Triumph starred in Triumph's Election Special 2016, sponsored by Hulu and Funny or Die, traveling on the election trail. The program went on to be nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Writing for a Variety Special. In November 2016, after the election of Donald Trump as president, Triumph appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert to discuss Trump's victory.
In 1999, Pets.com filed a lawsuit against Late Night and Robert Smigel after Triumph repeatedly accused the company's sock puppet mascot as being a "rip-off" of Triumph on several TV shows, print media and internet, and after Pets.com sent lawsuit threats and cease and desist letters to Robert Smigel claiming "unfair competition, dilution and potentially tortious interference with contract in violation of federal and state laws". However, the bankruptcy and closing of the company during the dot-com bust of 2000 ended the lawsuit. During an episode of Saturday Night Live, Triumph humped the Pets.com dog in a bathroom as an act of revenge.
Triumph's 2003 album, Come Poop with Me, was released by Warner Bros. Records, and featured adult comedy and songs, plus a bonus DVD of live performances by Triumph. The album was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Comedy Album. Appearing with Triumph on the album and the DVD were singer-actor Jack Black, comic actor Adam Sandler, Saturday Night Live cast members Maya Rudolph and Horatio Sanz; Blackwolf the Dragonmaster—a real-life fantasy/gaming fan who had once been targeted by Triumph during an infamous encounter with Star Wars fans; and Conan O'Brien.
On August 10, 2004, NBC released a DVD, Late Night with Conan O'Brien: The Best of Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog featuring select Triumph appearances from Late Night.
- "Triumph the Insult Comic Dog - 1st time on TV". YouTube. Retrieved February 25, 2015.
- Tyrangiel, Josh (November 24, 2000). "I Was the Class Comedy Bully". Time magazine. Retrieved February 18, 2012.
- "2 Kerry Officials Quit to Protest Firing of Top Aide" By Susannah Rosenblatt and Mark Z Barabak, Los Angeles Times, November 12, 2003 (page A-26)
- ABCNEWS.com "The Note", November 12, 2003
- "Broadcast Goes 'Convention Lite'" By David Bianculli, Broadcasting & Cable, August 25, 2008
- "Triumph at the Republican National Convention" Archived January 24, 2009, at the Wayback Machine, Part 1 of 3 at NBC.com
- "Triumph Interviews Ralph Nader" Archived December 4, 2008, at the Wayback Machine at NBC.com
- "Triumph in the Presidential Debate Spin Room" Archived December 2, 2008, at the Wayback Machine at NBC.com
- "Triumph the Insult Comic Dog to Host Hulu Election Special". Retrieved November 26, 2016.
- "Triumph's Election Special 2016". Television Academy. Retrieved August 25, 2016.
- Leight, Elias (November 10, 2016). "Watch Triumph the Insult Comic Dog Explain Trump's Victory on 'Colbert'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved November 10, 2016.
- "Dirty Sock & Streisand's Stocks". July 1, 2010. Retrieved November 26, 2016.
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