FROM Robert Smigel
Robert Smigel on 'Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog' 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.
Why is Trump so behind on filling staff jobs, establishing concrete policies? Yesterday Donald Trump signed a “decision memo” to revamp the air traffic control system. But there was little legislative detail in the plan. There’s not much to other splashy announcements from the White House, including tax cuts and the arms deal with Saudi Arabia. And hundreds of positions are unfilled in federal agencies.
Securing Public Spaces, Super Wealthy Asians Vehicles are increasingly being used as weapons, as seen in the London Bridge attack over the weekend and in New York’s Times Square last month. The Compton-based company Calpipe is designing security bollards to help make public spaces safer. And novelist Kevin Kwan satirizes the “crazy rich” Asian jet set and their luxurious tastes in his latest book, “Rich People Problems.”
Shaking up the USDA, 'The Beef Cookbook' and 'Tartine All Day' Peggy Lowe explains why Trump’s pick for USDA Secretary is rattling rural America. Dario Cecchini talks future plans for Chianti ramen, and Richard Turner shares cuts from “PRIME: The Beef Cookbook.” Writer Matthew Sedacca looks at the controversy behind liquid smoke. Jonathan Gold tries Chengdu-style dishes, and Elisabeth Prueitt of Tartine fills us in on the latest. Plus, chef Michael Beckman shares a recipe for cactus confit.
Industry insights and lessons learned from memorable guests We have interesting guests on The Business, and sometimes our conversations are too long to fit into one show. This week we give you stories that were too good to leave on the cutting room floor, including some sharp insights on making it in the industry from David Mandel, David Simon, Shawn Levy and Matt Reeves.