Triumph the Insult Comic Dog has been offending celebrities, politicians, and other targets for almost two decades.
Triumph represents the uncontrolled id of comedian Robert Smigel, an improvisor and Saturday Night Live alum. He debuted Triumph as a correspondent on Conan O'Brien's Late Night in 1997, then began doing remotes where he and Triumph would cover events like the Westminster dog show.
Since then, Triumph has traveled the country doing bits for Conan, as well as his own projects. He's crashed game shows, concerts, political rallies, and Star Wars fan gatherings.
It's not surprising that this year's off-the-hook presidential campaign has provided fertile ground for Triumph. Smigel has made two Triumph election specials for Hulu with Funny or Die. The first, in which Triumph stalked candidates during the primaries, is Emmy-nominated for Outstanding Writing for a Variety Special.
A follow-up piece, released August 11, has Triumph reporting from the conventions. Both sides of the aisle are fair game for Triumph -- he gets into the RNC with the help of a Roger Ailes lookalike, and pokes fun at Bernie Bros outside the DNC in Philadelphia. He also conducts a harrowing focus group with Trump supporters using fake campaign commercials.
We caught up with Smigel, and Triumph, at the recent Television Critics Association press tour. As you'll hear, Smigel tries to be a nice guy but Triumph is a dog.