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Military Gig Is No Joke For 'Daily Show' Funnyman
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Military Gig Is No Joke For 'Daily Show' Funnyman

Arts & Life


Some comedians you just shouldn't mess with, especially if they're trained in the military.

Lieutenant Colonel ROB RIGGLE (U.S. Marine Corps Reserves, Comedian): Pow. Pow. I'll knock you out.

HANSEN: Rob Riggle is one funny man. He's a member of the United States Marine Corps Reserves. And as he said, when he was a correspondent on "The Daily Show," training in the Marines was no walk in the park.

Lt. Col. RIGGLE: It's a world of (beep), Jon.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Lt. Col. RIGGLE: The things I've seen, they'd make Satan crap his pants.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. JON STEWART (Host, "The Daily Show"): Really?

Lt. Col. RIGGLE: No, I'm just screwing with you.

(Soundbite of laughter)

HANSEN: Rob Riggle has recently been recommended for promotion to lieutenant colonel in the Marine Reserves and he joins us on the phone from a movie set in Atlanta. Welcome to the program.

Lt. Col. RIGGLE: Thank you so much for having me. I appreciate it.

HANSEN: So what will your duties be now?

Lt. Col. RIGGLE: More of the same.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Lt. Col. RIGGLE: I'm a public affairs officer for the Marine Corps. So I will continue to train other Marines in how to deal with the media and - that come down the line as far as book requests, or a movie, or television requests that come to the Marine Corps. Because now I'm based in L.A. I've moved to Los Angeles. So I'm working out of the Los Angeles Public Affairs Office.

HANSEN: You served in Liberia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, and then you did entertain the troops in Iraq when you were on "The Daily Show." What was that like visiting your fellow service members?

Lt. Col. RIGGLE: It was wonderful. I remember as a service member, when I was deployed and serving in a forward area, I never got a USO show. And I always said to myself, if I ever got into a position where I could go and perform and entertain the troops, I was going to do it. And so I went. And for some of those troops over there at the time, this is back in 2007, they were still on 15-month deployment. And we were the only slice of America that they got to see the whole time they were over there.

HANSEN: Do producers, when you're hired for an acting or a comedy gig, do they take advantage of your military background?

Lt. Col. RIGGLE: I wouldn't say that that's happened. But I know that being in the Marines has definitely served my comedy, because you meet people and you -it's a character study for me. One of my favorite games to play in comedy is arrogant ignorance. I love that. I love being the big guy in the room who knows it all, but he's got it all wrong.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Lt. Col. RIGGLE: And believe it or not, I met a couple of those guys.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Lt. Col. RIGGLE: During my time.

HANSEN: You have a number of heroes listed on your Web site: military heroes, comedy heroes. You also have Pricilla Presley and Ashley Simpson?

Lt. Col. RIGGLE: Yes, absolutely. Ashley Simpson is my hero because when I was on Saturday Night Live, that was when she had that incident happen.

HANSEN: When her mic turned off and…

Lt. Col. RIGGLE: Yeah.


Lt. Col. RIGGLE: What happened was she lost her voice. You know, she was singing in rehearsal and her voice was just getting weaker and weaker and it was breaking down. And I felt so bad for her and yet she didn't bail on the show. She didn't quit. She did it. Unfortunately, you know, it didn't work out when we actually were live. And then everybody kind of came down on her, and ganged up on her and really gave her a hard time. And I thought that was so unfair. I didn't appreciate that, so that's why I put her on my list of heroes.

HANSEN: And Priscilla Presley?

Lt. Col. RIGGLE: She was obviously married to the King and went through…

(Soundbite of laughter)

Lt. Col. RIGGLE: …some really bad times with him. But I don't know, she just seemed to maintain herself throughout the whole process.


Lt. Col. RIGGLE: And I just - I liked her.

HANSEN: Actor and comedian Rob Riggle joined us from Atlanta where he's filming the movie "The Five Killers." He was recently selected for promotion to lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves. Thanks a lot, Rob.

Lt. Col. RIGGLE: No problem, thanks for having me.

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