Hi guys. I'm doing this AMA super last minute - I'm not up the modern world, and I don't do a lot of blabbing as myself. I generally like to express myself through my art, i.e., humping live animals with a puppet. But I have two things to plug and it's time I got off my ass.

You may know that Triumph the Insult comic Dog is co-starring in a live action sitcom, "The Jack and Triumph Show" co-starring my hilarious friend Jack McBrayer (30 Rock) and airing Fridays, of all nights, at 11:30pm, of all times, on adult swim (Cartoon Network by day). I'm lucky to be producing the show with the brilliant Michael Koman, who recently co-created Nathan For You.

And my even huger plug goes out to a hilarious benefit show on Comedy Central. TOMORROW, March 8th, Jon Stewart hosts "Night of Too Many Stars: America Comes Together for Autism Programs." at 8/7c, with all kinds of comedy superstars from Louie CK to Chris Rock to Sandler (the Bob Barker reunion is part of this show), Schumer, Silverman, Rudd, the amazing Bill Burr, Weird Al, even, it goes on.

You may know I have a son with autism and that this event is not about curing autism, but creating and funding services, schools and programs all over the country - it's about giving people with autism the help they need to have the fullest lives possible. There are all kinds of amazing ways to donate to this cause at cc.com/stars, including incredible contests involving the Simpsons, the Daily Show and Judd Apatow (he will direct your Vine). All going up now at omaze.com.

This cause means everything to me and I'm lucky to have so many amazing friends in the comedy world who come out year after year and do Night of Too Many Stars. But before I get too mushy please don't forget, I'm the funny asshole who does Triumph and the Ambiguously Gay Duo...so please believe me, this event is not about mush. Imagine a benefit produced by a funny asshole...who wouldn't want to watch that?

Okay, so let's talk about this, and that, and anything. Thanks for redditing.

Proof: http://imgur.com/1HDxgLL




Comments: 672 • Responses: 51  • Date: 

inthemorning33196 karma

Hey Robert, love your work! I loved the actual TV funhouse show that was on briefly on comedy central, why did that get pulled? It had me in stitches.

RobertSmigel516 karma

You know what, I loved it too! We have that in common. Here's why it got pulled - main reason - it cost a crapload of money. We went into overtime everyday in the studio with our puppet stages and our sight gags. you'd be surprised how long it takes to get a monkey dressed in a nurse outfit to walk in with a beaker full of lizard jizz. The jizz alone took hours to manufacture. Why real lizard jizz? The great Busby Berkeley always said, "People will know the difference."

RobertSmigel13 karma

A great writer, Greg Cohen, came up with that one (Jokamel). Wait, what am I doing back here? Oh yeah, I'm waiting for one more NOTMS video to be edited before I can get to bed! NOTMS! 8 pm! Yockita Wockita!

fokm7 karma

My fav is "The Safety Gang." Ah memories.

RobertSmigel11 karma

Dino Stamatopoulos

TheGirthyMicropenis41 karma

The TV Funhouse bit on mnemonics taught me Kenny, Please Come Over For Gay Sex for the Linnaean classification system(which I've never forgotten):








ETA: Here it is.

RobertSmigel53 karma

I actually want to make a book of those and add a bunch more. It's the most useful comedy I've ever come up with.

thelordofcheese12 karma

What are your thoughts on Wonder Showzen?

RobertSmigel22 karma

Those guys are hilarious. My favorite bit was the puppet who was told "you can't shoot here" so much he called his show "You Can't Shoot Here."

MyShoesStink184 karma

Greeting Robert, I'm a long time fan of triumph and his/your insult comedy and loving the new show. But I've always been curious about the interviews you do with people as triumph out in public. Has there been any situations where you've been physically attacked by someone who couldn't take the jokes you were telling to them that never made it to air?

RobertSmigel267 karma

One drunk guy outside the Boston Democratic Convention in 2004 (never aired, it was for an aborted movie) was cutting it up me about Leno and stuff and seemed fun enough as we passed him on the way to some event. Then on the way back we passed him again. I approached my old friend but now he was drunker and at stage: angry. So he immediately charged my puppet with a hearty paranoid "Hey, back off, man!" Fortunately his body fat % precluded the chance of any serious damage to our beloved rubber pooch. We talked him down like the compassionate bros we aren't and went on our way.

Danielrh9147 karma

Hi Robert, been a huge fan of your work on all the shows you've been around.

I had a question for both you and "Triumph". When you were on Fallon a few weeks back, you were pretty unabashed about your loyalty to Conan when it came to how NBC treated him throughout the whole Tonight Show mess. Did you get any flack about that from the suits at Comcast / NBC? It seemed like Jimmy was taken off guard and was trying to wrap it up. Also, how did you end up retaining the rights to Triumph? It seems like NBC got their dirty paws on anything else from Late Night.

RobertSmigel258 karma

no flak, remember comcast wasn't in charge when the conan/leno kerfuffle happened. jimmy knew triumph was gonna be a dick! and to his credit, didn't want to hear a single joke in advance. he's a funny, smart man and a great student of comedy - it's a pleasure to be on his show. NBC still has the rights to Triumph but they knew I would never do remotes for anyone but Conan. So when we finally did them on the TBS show they were cool about it. It only helps their property for me to keep it out there. Now he's got a TV show, and the Jack and Triumph Show is produced by NBC/Universal.

Maddie_N127 karma

Would you ever consider bringing back The Ambiguously Gay Duo? I'm going to meet JJ Sedelmaier at a convention a week from now, so I'm planning to ask him this too.

RobertSmigel214 karma

I never let go of these things. I've done Triumph for 18 years. I did a Da Bears commercial for State Farm last year. Some characters age better than others. The X-Presidents, for example, are getting a little on the dead side. Ace and Gary, who knows? Someone wants me to write a Broadway musical with them. You tell me, what would you like to see? I'll do what I'm told.

everyone_wins36 karma

I would like to see a one hour special with the ambiguously gay duo. Maybe tell the hilarious story of how they met and have them fight some crime in a really gay way. The shorts on snl always left me wanting more. I'm sure I could enjoy 30-60 minutes of the ambiguously gay duo, probably for several episodes.

funobtainium11 karma

Yes, please!~ That was always one of my favorite animated skits on SNL.

Well, there weren't a ton of animated skits on SNL, so skits, animated or not.

There are so many superhero movies out now, the zeitgeist wants this, Smigel! :D

RobertSmigel9 karma

There is a full AGD screenplay written by Colbert and myself. It was the last thing he worked on before the Colbert Report. I pulled some of my favorite jokes from it when we did the live action SNL Ace and Gary with Hamm and Fallon.

Maddie_N124 karma

I've seen a lot of people with autism post online that they hate Autism Speaks because the organization makes autism seem like a disease that has to be cured. I always feel uncomfortable watching Night of Too Many Stars because of this. What's your response to these concerns? Would you ever consider not supporting Autism Speaks?

RobertSmigel741 karma

People are entitled to have different opinions, it's a very complicated issue, partly because the spectrum covers people who are extremely high functioning to others who are nonverbal and have serious issues like self-injurious behavior.
There are people with autism who are happy to be the way they are and that deserves respect. There are parents of kids with autism who struggle to communicate, who have very severe issues, who are entitled to wish for anything that could help their children. I'll say two things - Night of Too Many Stars is NOT about curing autism. It does not fund biomedical research. I'm not saying this to take a stand - we don't fund it because we're more interested in something that many other national organizations don't fund: helping build schools, community programs, and a wide variety of services to HELP PEOPLE LIVING WITH AUTISM RIGHT NOW. My own son, who is severely affected, could not get into a school that could adequately help him until he was 7 and it only exacerbated the challenges he faced. We do Night of Too Many Stars to address the enormous shortage of services that exist for people with autism. Sadly we're still in the dark ages - research aside, we're behind in simply understanding what people with autism know and feel and are capable of. Especially the severely affected people. Nothing makes me sadder than when people talk about my son in front of him as if he's not there. They assume because he's nonverbal, and often not engaging, that he can't possibly understand or care. When he was diagnosed I read books saying people with autism all lacked empathy, and could not connect emotionally. I was happy to learn over time what bullshit this is, but the world at large needs to know it. Look up Katy Perry and Jodi on Youtube, and watch Jodi DiPiazza at our last NOTMS. As she plays, she gets spontaneous cheers and her face lights up for a moment. When my own “lower functioning” son ran a 5K, I sent friends a video taken by his mom. He has a huge smile on his face as he crosses the finish line, and then, almost immediately, stops and looks around. He’s looking for his mom to share the moment with. People need to see these kinds of things, and understand that people with autism are whole human beings, and deserve the chance to have the fullest lives possible. It matters to them.
Now my second, hopefully shorter, thing - Bob and Suzanne Wright of Autism Speaks are two of the most compassionate people I've ever met. Mrs. Wright took an interest in autism when my wife and I started the first NOTMS on NBC. She aked a lot of questions even though her own grandson had not yet been diagnosed with autism.
And Autism Speaks has been largely responsible for progress that everyone can agree on, like getting insurance reform passed in 38 states. For years insurance didn't cover any behavioral therapy for autism...now thousand of families can better afford it thanks to hardworking advocates in Washington. Bob and Suzanne are at the forefront of that advocacy. And their work increasing awareness of autism has made the world more compassionate to people with the condition.

Northern-Mike42 karma

Here is Katy Perry and Jodi DiPiazza at the NoTMS. Hope you're ready for the feels.

bronkula25 karma

Wow. That is really impressive on the part of Katy Perry. It's not easy to sing harmony with someone who MIGHT be offkey. It takes a lot of listening and fixing and backing off. She's also giving a lot of way to let the girl be heard, while keeping her signature sound.

DelightfulTexas18 karma

Seriously - I have to give her major props. Katy Perry was really listening and watching Jodi to make sure she backed off and let Jodi's voice be heard. Amazing.

RobertSmigel47 karma

Katy Perry conceived the entire arrangement, spent a ton of time with Jodi, and yes, managed to complement Jodi's voice and then crush it on her own solos. She was golden. This year Jodi sings with Weird Al! Her voice sounds amazing and she grabs the harmonies this time. I wanted to surprise people a bit, and show the humor Jodi has - she likes Weird Al. Plus I didn't want to try and match what happened with Katy.

biffle1again47 karma

Hi Robert, I have been loving your work for years. When the Triumph's Star Wars episode came out, my friends and I were crying laughing.

During the early years of Late night with Conan. The show had a tough start. What was the breakthrough moment or event that turned the tide?

RobertSmigel77 karma

Letterman very generously visited the show about five months in and said, on air, that we were doing great comedy at a high level and stuff. Had he not given it his stamp of approval I'm not sure the network would've understood just how incredibly groundbreaking and peachy we indeed were. After that, though, things just felt easier with the network.

kdk12k2k1245 karma

Bob, thanks for doing this AMA.

Throughout the years you seem to be incredibly productive. What motivated you to want to write? What keeps motivating you?

RobertSmigel107 karma

My pleasure. Intrigued by the choice of Bob. I like chummy folks who call me Bob. Are you from the midwest? I get a lot of Bob there. As we get to know each other better, you can start calling me Bo. Then B. What was your question? My motivation to write was always selfish - I'd get an idea and fall in love with it and think the world needs to hear it. I also had a strong work ethic because my dad worked his butt off when I was a kid. Now my motivation to write is a little different. It costs a lot to take care of kids with autism. But back to comedy. I've done some projects purely the money but managed to enjoy them anyway, because I'm still working with funny people. And with Jack and Triumph, I'm enjoying - for now at least - the chance to write something insane again and actually get paid for it. All because I get to play that dumb puppet, not just write for it.

Death_Pancakes41 karma

Hey Mr S

Some of your lines are too good to be improv on the spot. Do you do all of the writing or do you have a team helping you then use the lines at an opportune time? Also, do you have a bodyguard when you are roasting random people at events? I could see you getting swung at if you did your bit with the wrong person :P Thanks and you are hilarious!

RobertSmigel103 karma

Absolutely show up with some funny jokes written, with many other funny guys throwing in. The first one I did at Conan, at the Dog Show, was all improv and went great but then I thought, if I ever go back, better write some jokes. Jokes are great. A few writers come with me on most remotes as well. But no bodyguards. That's Elmo shit.

BigRonnieRon39 karma

How much did you get paid for that Zohan script?

Also what's up with Adam Sandler and Candyland? It's a game for 6 year olds.

RobertSmigel99 karma

Ha! I am inferring you didn't like it. I loved it enough for both of us. Disco Disco Good Good! See? I'm a fan. Maybe you have to know Israelis. But the movie made 200 million worldwide, so I'm guessing I was underpaid. Adam is the greatest and funniest guy I've ever known in this life. A few of his recent movies have been shockingly disrespected, I loved the Aniston one and especially "That's My Boy." Some people/critics are knee jerk at this point and it's just lazy. It's hacky, actually. Always interesting when the smarter rags like the NY Times get stuff that's meant to be funny/dumb. Candy Land is more of a game for four year olds, I'd say.

particle4092 karma

Hey Robert, it's Fred and Evie's son Alan. We always like trying to find you in the Sandler movies, and we all loved Zohan!

RobertSmigel8 karma

Alan! How are you? Thanks for sticking up for your second cousin once removed or whatever we are! What are we? Love to everybody.

guidosuperman29 karma

Hey Robert! Thanks a lot for doing this AMA! Triumph has been making audiences laugh for years now. What would you say is your personal favorite moment in character as Triumph? Is there anywhere you haven't been that you would like to take Triumph in the future? Good luck on the Night of Too Many Stars!

RobertSmigel122 karma

Two big opportunities I missed: - hassling David Blaine when he was in that water tank in NYC. but I did get to poop on him when he was "upside down" for 24 hours. - the Royal wedding. I would have loved to just have Triumph with the middle age ladies lined up for hours on the streets waiting for a ten second glimpse of that royal caravan, peppering them with assholic impertinent questions. It's great when triumph can turn crazy people into straight men. Like at the Michael jackson trial, a crazy French woman in some enormous harlequin outfit refused to talk to us. Triumph said "I understand...wouldn't want you to compromise your dignity."

EASam25 karma

You were one of the original writers on The Late Night Show with Conan O'Brien. How did you come to get onto that show so early on and why did you choose to become a part of its staff? Can you talk at all about the early days of the show? Any memorable moments from early on that you can talk about?

Can you shed some light on who made Joel Godard into an S&M freak with his man slave Toshi? I can't tell if Joel was really that odd or has an awesome sense of humor...

Supposing none of this gets answered, I've enjoyed your work and have always found your skits hilarious.

RobertSmigel84 karma

Conan and I connected comedically as SNL writers, we both enjoyed reducing people of dignity to their basest, cartooniest elements. When he got the gig, he asked me to be head writer and a producer, which was a dream gig for me. We hired a bunch of young, unproven writers simply off their material.
I was incredibly confident that Conan would take the world by storm, we all were. So I had no hesitation about trying the weirdest stuff and trying to reinvent the format as much as possible. The goal was to do the opposite of Letterman (our hero but someone we didn't want to rip off)...eliminating found/reality humor and making everything up, with plenty of broad, cartoony sight gags and absurd premises. We took big swings and had plenty of whiffs but we also had lots of hits, even in the first week, that became core bits on the show, like In The Year 2000, Actual Items, and the Clutch Cargo thing where (usually) my mouth would replace the mouth in a celebs photo and Conan would interview me. We were also incredibly ambitious in the productions we'd mount...Fallon is kind of that way now but we didn't have the same level of support. We were shit on by critics, who loved to focus on the mistakes and gave us no credit for what we thought was pretty innovative stuff. It was like being in a war, only instead of death, there were laughs and craft service food. Young guys like Louis CK and Dino Stamatopoulos flourished and defined the comedy as much as any of us. I wish shows like that had their comedy archived, so you could see crazy sketches like The Baby Debates and Polly the NBC Peacock. We were fearless and stupid and passionate about making a new show and it was thrilling, and will always be the best job I ever had.

I had left by the time Joel was a filthy old Asianmale-ophile. But I hired him after using him for the McLaughlin Group sketch voiceover on SNL.

heymrmike23 karma

I love your charity work, especially giving David Feldman a job, but honestly how long can you let him hold you back?

RobertSmigel38 karma

Have some compassion. Hair plugs don't grow on trees.

Squeenis22 karma

How much fun did you have doing the offensive softball speech as Yari on Curb Your Enthusiasm. Was what you delivered what LD asked for or did you surprise him?

RobertSmigel65 karma

Being on Curb was the most fun I've ever had other than watching my twin boys clown around for me. It was like comedy fantasy camp. Larry David is another mega-hero for me. I auditioned for Yari, the vaguely foreign softball coach/mechanic. I didn't know until I showed up that they wanted me to do a speech to the team. So I asked Larry Charles, the director, if it's okay to curse. And he gave me the answer I wanted to hear. So I had about ten minutes to write a couple of things down that made me laugh. Then we shot it and Larry didn't know what was coming. I've heard he's an easy laugher but still, seeing him crack up felt like alley-ooping to Michael Jordan. I'm a pathetically easy laugher myself, and if you ever watch that episode, you can actually see me breaking up at my own improv for a moment. Ahaha me funny! what a baby.

dragonfly199321 karma

TV funhouse inspirations?

RobertSmigel86 karma

The cartoons or the animal puppets..? Cartoons - I loved the cheesy animated cartoons of the 60s and 70s. Especially the theme songs. I'd watch Spiderman for the theme song then switch back to a funny cartoon. Puppets - I always loved the way people anthropomorphize animals. Did I spell it right? It's half my career and I can never spell it. I'm a huge animal lover but the gap between what people like to believe animals to be feeling and thinking and the reality has cracked me up forever. So I always played around with stuff like that. Wrote a sketch for SNL once about a cat and it was just a peppy theme song with a live cat laying around. Kind of funny, but not enough. Years later, Jack Handey, the SNL writer we all worshipped, wrote Toonces, the Cat Who Could Drive a Car. I laughed so hard at the pretaped part..where the live cat version of Toonces appears to be driving with two fake paws. I actually ran up to my office just to tape the actual attempts they were making to get this cat to look like he was driving - it took like 40 minutes. Meanwhile, the cat has no idea he's gonna be on SNL and that Don Pardo will say his name - he couldn't give a shit. It was one of the funniest things I'd ever seen and obviously influenced me.

And_You_Like_It_Too13 karma

What's your favorite thing that you've shoved your hand into?

RobertSmigel34 karma

Triumph, of course. But I should mention that I had him built with a real dog's asshole.

black_flag_4ever11 karma

Who are your comedy influences?

RobertSmigel28 karma

Charles Schulz and Peanuts are my favorite thing but I've never approached that level of sophistication. My dad turned me on to the Marx Brothers. Nothing's better than Duck Soup.
In the 70's Steve Martin, Andy Kaufman, and then Letterman blew me away by creating a kind of modern art version of comedy. And I would say there's a ton of people I've worked with who've influenced me, from heroes like Handey, Jim Downey, and Franken and Davis to friends like Louie, Odenkirk, Sandler, Conan. I hope I've influenced some them a little bit too.

wharris110 karma

How uncomfortable were you making Jimmy Fallon when you were ranting about how NBC screwed Conan? He looked like he legitimately didn't know what to say when you brought that up. You and that dog are fearless!

RobertSmigel35 karma

I was only worried about the audience turning on Triumph. Jimmy is a savvy pro and knows it's all Triumph's shtick. The crowd sometimes thinks the puppeteer has an agenda. But I'm only interested in being funny and not sitting on something pointy.

krushgroover9 karma

Robert, your frequent collaborator Conan talks about how so much of life, particularly in show business, is a twist of fate - how he was almost crushed by not getting a job writing for Letterman, but in retrospect it opened up other jobs and his eventual career path as a performer.

Were there any jobs you almost got (or steps you almost took) that you think would have steered you down a different career path or in some way prevented your current success?

RobertSmigel32 karma

Seinfeld hosted SNL and I did a sketch called Stand Up and Win. Larry David offered me a job writing for them. It was the only sitcom I ever thought I'd enjoy writing for.
One of my parents was sick at the time and I didn't want to leave NY. So maybe I'd have become a wealthy sitcom magnate instead of a puppeteer. But my guess is even if I'd taken it I would have come back to start Conan. I never wanted to do a job more than that one.

tackleberry1009 karma

I love Triumph and the new show! How involved is Conan in writing material for Triumph? Any plans for Triumph to explore Cuba?

Thanks for the years of laughter!!!

RobertSmigel23 karma

Cuba looked amazing on that Conan episode. I want to go now, but we try to keep Triumph away from Cuban cigars, they're too good and he might actually light one up.

timmorse139 karma

Got a good story from the Dana Carvey show writers' room you'd be willing to shatre?

RobertSmigel37 karma

As much fun as Conan was, that show was the opposite. I loved it but I couldn't keep anyone happy. I didn't get to work as closely with the writers, I was an EP and Louie was (an unhappy) head writer. Colbert and Carell were the only happy people there...they were both geniuses in their 30s who'd never gotten a real shot before. Colbert liked to mess with Charlie Kaufman, who barely got anything on because we felt pressure to do the bigger, louder stuff. He was unhappy and was not easily social to begin with. Stephen would get in his face with a giant smile "Hey Charlie! Gonna be another great day!" and Charlie would stare at him like an indifferent cat. Charlie deserved better.

MathewMurdock8 karma

Hey Robert, I was wondering. What is it like to work with Jack McBrayer? He seems like an incredible nice person who smiles a bunch. Is he really like that?

RobertSmigel20 karma

He does smile a bunch. He's incredibly nice and warm but he's not crazy nice like Kenneth. He's super funny and has a healthy dark side, without which he would, of course, be unbearable to be around.

Frajer8 karma

How much freedom did SNL give you with your cartoons?

RobertSmigel78 karma

Lorne Michaels gave me a ton of freedom. Standards people, less easy. I've said phrases like "I'll cut two 'boners' if you'll give me one more head bob on the blow job" way too many times for one man's lifetime.

mooj1238 karma

Hi, Bob! What was your favorite sketch on The Dana Carvey Show?

RobertSmigel40 karma

"Heather Morgan's First Ladies as Dogs." conceived by Louis CK.

jayxx28 karma

My first post ever to Reddit and it goes to one of the funniest people I've ever seen - not physically mind you. First, my great thanks for all the hilarity you and your characters have brought to the world, the more laughter the better. The question:

I once saw Triumph do a Jewish charity event, with singing, jokes, meaningful conversation - everything good. It was also one of the rare times when your act was less.... abusive/insulting. It was still brilliantly funny. The question is: do many charity events contact you for help and are there any specific ones that are currently close to your heart?

That's it ... my first post. Too cool. J. P.S. do not poop on me.

RobertSmigel22 karma

I wish Triumph was more appropriate for charity events, I'd happily repay all my generous friends, but charities generally frown on a act that closes by butt-raping Ernie. Triumph went to the Chabad telethon and it was a favorite because, forget I'm jewish, I didn't want to be mean, or mocking of any religious organization. So Triumph sang My Yiddeshe Mama with lyrics changed for a dog and it worked both ways....just wrong enough to be funny.

AdolfClooney7 karma

Hey Bob..i havent seen triumph since i was a wee lad, last time i saw you i believe you pissed eminem off at some kind of awards.. did you smoke a j with him afterwards or did triumph fail at making you fast friends with the real slim shady???

AdolfClooney7 karma

Also do you prefer Bob or Robert. or Bobert?

RobertSmigel48 karma

Both excellent questions. Second first. I like having a name that puts a burden of choice on the other person. I learn something about them instantly by what they call me. So I love all your suggestions equally. Smigel, not so much, grateful "Lord of the Rings" was not a movie when I was a kid. Thankfully I went to school where the kids didn't read books much. Eminem is a genius and great man and I can't believe he gave a shit about my puppet. He wrote a song about Triumph! You'd think I'd have been the one milking every drop out of that encounter. But I got to be in his video for the song and had a blast finally getting to shit on him to his face.

el_herms6 karma

Hello Mr Smigel, love your stuff you are one funny man. Two quick question; 1. How dare you? And , 2. Are the interviews scripted or do you improvise them?

RobertSmigel11 karma

2 - Both, but as I get older and tireder I like jokes more and more. Great writers have worked with me for years.

1 - You know, you're right. I'm out.

radams50006 karma

What was your favorite cartoon when you where a kid?

RobertSmigel28 karma

Theme song - Magilla Gorilla. I had a thing for theme songs. More important than the actual quality of the show when I was a kid. the best Bugs Bunny cartoons were and remain the funniest cartoons ever. "Bully for Bugs" is my all time favorite. One time I was in a hospital waiting room when a loved one was sick and it came on. It was like a miracle, and reminded me of why I love to get to be funny.

BigNikiStyle6 karma

Hello! Thank you for doing this AMA!

Is there any actor with whom you haven't yet collaborated or written/performed with that you would very much like to?

As a cigar aficionado myself, I've always wondered what cigar Triumph is smoking. Are you a cigar guy yourself? If so, stop by /r/cigars! It's the best corner of the Internet I've ever found.

What makes you bust a gut laughing?

RobertSmigel25 karma

What makes you bust a gut laughing?

Animals and the elderly, just like everyone else, right? I think, in truth, the first time I ever laughed uncontrollably was when the choir in Blazing Saddles sang "our town is turning into shit." And then when Andy Kaufman, on SNL as his foreign man, started crying, then crying in rhythm, until the crying turned into a peppy bongo song.

RobertSmigel10 karma

What makes you bust a gut laughing? Animals and the elderly, just like everyone else, right? I think, in truth, the first time I ever laughed uncontrollably was when the choir in Blazing Saddles sang "our town is turning into shit." And then when Andy Kaufman, on SNL as his foreign man, started crying, then crying in rhythm, until the crying turned into a peppy bongo song.

dr_rex6 karma

I heard Howard Stern discuss Lookwell with Conan recently. Any consideration to approaching Netflix to retry this concept? Obviously Adam West is 100 years old now (ok, 86), but it could still work with him or someone else.

RobertSmigel16 karma

There's only one Adam West. I'm grateful at least one episode exists. After watching the 1966 Batman at art house in the Village, that was a blissful fever dream of mine that actually came true.

kristopherw285 karma

Hey Robert did you ever think that the phrase "for me to poop on" was going to be a big hit like it is?

RobertSmigel42 karma

Ha! The first time I said it, Frank Smiley, our segment producer, said "That poop on thing - that's gonna be big! Big, I tells yis!" Then he took off his fedora, fucked his secretary and cursed out Sue Mengers.

patronizingperv4 karma

How many 'Triumph's are there? Still with the same original one?

RobertSmigel2 karma

The first head melted on my windowsill one summer. I've gone through a bunch of heads. Now we're making a mold and making our own, because we're running out of originals (they don't make them anymore). Got an old one? We'll overpay!

radish224 karma

As someone who's written some incredibly iconic, memorable SNL sketches, what do you think of the sketches on the current iteration of the show?

RobertSmigel9 karma

The show has ebbs and flows but I like this group very much, I'm still a fan and I laugh all the time. I love Kyle Mooney and Beck Bennet's films. My favorite sketches of the past ten years or so are Potato Chip and Coach Bert. Look 'em up.

IAmFern4 karma

First off, let me thank you for the many, many solid gut laughs you have given me over the years. I love that you have a fearless don't-give-a-fuck style of comedy.

When you're channeling Triumph, how much is pre-written and how much is improv? I ask because if it is pre-written, you are a master at making it seem improvised.

RobertSmigel11 karma

Answered this earlier, we prewrite a lot and improv some. All the giggling is genuine. Sometimes I'm just excited to say a funny line we just thought of.

coronavegas3 karma

Hey Robert, When are you going to go on Howard Stern?

RobertSmigel8 karma

Triumph first appeared on Howard's 50th birthday as a surprise guest. I love Howard and it was a career highlight to hurt his feelings on that special day. I don't like to be me much, prefer the handupassery. I'm doing this because NOTMS is too important to hide. and I'm very psyched about J&T as well.

richardlewis23 karma

Hey Robert, big fan!

Who's your favorite nephew?

RobertSmigel7 karma

The Jewish one.

rodmandirect3 karma

HUGE fan for many years. Thank you for dedicating your life to funny. I'll be watching on Sunday night.

Who is your dream comedy team to write for? Alive only, please.

RobertSmigel12 karma

Chuck Scarbourough and Sue Simmons.

MyShoesStink3 karma

Would there be any chance of a new triumph album in the future? "I keed" still holds up today as a fantastic classic... Didn't mean for that to rhyme

RobertSmigel21 karma

don't worry, it only kinda rhymed. not sure triumph has more than one epic burst of musical creativity in him. "My Mama" is my favorite, in case you wondered.

ohceedee2 karma

Hey Robert!

Big fan of everything you have done.

I was at Bonnaroo in 2009 while you were performing as Triumph in the Comedy Tent. I got to meet several of the comedians while I was at the side of the stage by calling their name and they would come over for a hand shake and I would explain to them why I was a huge fan. Every person came over... except you. I called your name a couple of times while you passed through. I know you heard me a few times, but you never made eye contact and kept moving. I am not upset about this or anything, but I am curious.. Do you do this because you are shy? Because you are too busy? or because you just don't want to meet another annoying fan?

RobertSmigel24 karma

That was clearly a Smigel imposter. There are many of them, usually most visible in synagogues all over the Upper West Side. I'm sorry I didn't say hi, I really like meeting fans. I was probably laser focused on hurting some hairy hippie's feelings. Next time!

jpurnell2 karma

Can you tell us anything about the airline safety video you did for SNL?

RobertSmigel14 karma

It's all in that updated Shales/Miller SNL book. Please buy it! I know those guys and I want to repay them for quoting me accurately.

sugleris2 karma

Robert! Pretty much love everything Smigel!

Whats your favorite story working with Conan in New York etc? Working with Brian Stack or Jon Glazer?

RobertSmigel3 karma

Both of those guys are amazing, they came after I had left but I had hired Glaser for Carvey off a hilarious audition he'd done for SNL where he impersonated Lions coach Wayne Fontes and King Hussein. It had a Sambergian (new word!) silliness and minimalist thing going, but they weren't yet ready for that over there.

RedShirtDanny2 karma

Big fan. As an most unambiguously gay guy, I have to say the jokes in AGT are seriously on point, down to the Evita poster hanging on the wall. Treehouse was possibly the funniest thing ever on SNL...

What do you think is the best thing you've ever written?

RobertSmigel12 karma

Thanks! What was Treehouse? I'm old and have forgotten everything before Thursday. I can't remember enough to have a strong opinion on the best thing. I know I love the Cluckin' Chicken commercial for SNL. And that Tom Brokaw sketch about Gerald Ford obituaries, but I got a big assist from Colbert and Louie on that one (it ws written first for the Carvey Show on ABC). And I love a movie script or two that never got made.

grantryanl2 karma

Hey Robert! What kind of fun stuff should we be expecting on the Night of Too Many Stars tomorrow night?

RobertSmigel12 karma

Holy crap. I'm at the studio working, that's why I've been so slow and hung around so long. I hope people know this show is funny and insane, very light on the sap and treacle. If you haven't seen Sandler and Bob Barker reunite on Youtube, it's on our show and it's hilarious. We do a lot of live auctions, but not boring shit, the celebrities participate in the auctions themselves. So for example, last year we auctioned off taking a piss with Seth Rogen. It's online ("Seth Rogen's pee party"). This year John Oliver offers the chance to commit a crime with him. And other great ones with Rock, Silverman, Louis CK and more. I'm going caps here - SUNDAY NIGHT 8 PM COMEDY CENTRAL. They are incredibly kind to us and I'd like to get them some ratings for once. Every year, my friends knock themselves out for this charity, and I feel great about the world and then the next day I hear, "Sorry, we were up against the finale of Flavor of Love." Trust me, you'll have a blast watching this.