During the 2018 midterms, Triumph, the world’s most accomplished “Insult Comic Dog,” wandered over from Conan O’Brien’s yard to drop the mangled gift of an excellent Ted Cruz roast/interview in The Late Show With Stephen Colbert’s lap. What aired is already pretty great. Triumph tells the senator’s supporters that Zodiac Killer jokes aren’t fair because Cruz’s policies “would kill way more people” than the serial killer and, once he gets to talk to the vaguely politician-shaped creature in question, flips Cruz’s regularly terrible jokes back onto him.
Triumph’s human handler, comedian Robert Smigel, discussed the Cruz segment on the latest episode of The Last Laugh podcast, explaining that he cut moments from the interview in an attempt not to be too crass or have his jokes taken out of context.
The Daily Beast quotes Smigel as he describes how he “never thought in a million years that Ted Cruz would come up to me and be willing to speak.” When he finally got an interview, Smigel points out that “Cruz thinks he’s funny” (something we know well) and seemed excited to square off with Triumph. Smigel, who is obviously much, much funnier than Cruz, was still worried, though, because he didn’t have material prepared for the senator and didn’t want to make “gross or dark” jokes that the senator and his supporters “could use as ammo.”
Because of this, Smigel decided not to make a joke that asked if Trump was “technically grabbing another pussy” when he hugged Cruz at a rally. That line wasn’t really necessary, though. The best moment in Triumph’s interview comes when Cruz approximates humor with a crack that “it wasn’t the Republicans, it was the Democrats that took you into the vet to get fixed” and Smigel, who didn’t “even know exactly what it meant,” responded with: “I support spaying and neutering, just like Trump did to you.”
Even though this part made the broadcast edit, Smigel cut a moment just after—when Cruz said something along the lines of “You got me” in appreciation of the joke and Smigel had Triumph high-five him with a paw “because I thought it would look funny.” It was an innocuous moment, but Smigel said he thought “that’ll be the freeze frame that they pull” out of context and he didn’t “need a bunch of jerks using [the high-five] against me somehow.”
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