Several staffers and performers for The Late Show With Stephen Colbert — including Robert Smigel, who plays the foul-mouthed puppet Triumph the Insult Comic Dog — were arrested in Washington D.C. on Thursday and charged with unlawful entry at the U.S. Capitol Building.
According to a statement by Capitol Police to Entertainment Weekly, officers “observed seven individuals, unescorted and without Congressional ID, in a sixth-floor hallway. The building was closed to visitors, and these individuals were determined to be a part of a group that had been directed by the USCP to leave the building earlier in the day.”
In their own statement, CBS told EW that Triumph and the team from The Late Show were “authorized and pre-arranged through Congressional aides of the members interviewed.” It further claimed “after leaving the members’ offices on their last interview of the day, the production team stayed to film stand-ups and other final comedy elements in the halls when they were detained by Capitol Police.”
Smigel first created Triumph in 1997 while working at Late Night With Conan O’Brien. Initially a gag surrounding the bizarre atmosphere at dog shows, Smigel began taking Triumph to various news events that had nothing to do with dogs and having him report on (and typically mock) the participants. One of his most famous pieces involved him interviewing Star Wars nerds waiting on line for the premiere of Episode II: Attack of the Clones.
After Late Night With Conan O’Brien went off the air, Smigel took Triumph to The Tonight Show, and then to various other television series. During his several decades as a dog hand puppet journalist, he has covered numerous presidential campaigns and elections.
According to the Capitol Police’s statement, an investigation into the incident continues and “may result in additional criminal charges after consultation with the U.S. Attorney.” In other words, this is a very surprising news story (for me to poop on).
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