20 Years Ago, We Almost Got a Triumph the Insult Comic Dog Movie

The run-up to the 2024 presidential election has already resulted in a few great moments from Triumph the Insult Comic Dog. But 20 years ago, fans almost got a whole movie from him.

Robert Smigel—the SNL and Late Night with Conan O’Brien writer-producer who created the puppet character for O’Brien’s show—recounted Triumph’s aborted attempt at the big screen during a recent interview on The Daily Show: Ears Edition podcast.

Smigel recalled traveling to Boston for the Democratic National Convention in 2004. (Until that point, the Triumph character hadn’t quite ventured into politics.)

“I was shooting a Triumph movie for Columbia, I think,” Smigel said. Peter and Bobby Farrelly, the duo behind comedy films like There’s Something About Mary and Dumb and Dumber, were producing.

“We shot a bunch of footage,” Smigel continued, noting that he crashed Bill O’Reilly’s show at the DNC. That was one of two times he was thrown out of the event. Smigel said that filmmaker Michael Moore helped him get into the event, but then snitched when cops showed up asking for credentials. “He literally said, ‘He followed me in here,'” Smigel recalled of the Oscar-winning documentarian.

Despite the ejection, Smigel did leave with some content for the Triumph movie. “I thought we had great footage,” he told the TDS podcast. “But we showed a compilation to the studio, and they just killed the project.”

According to Smigel, the studio’s criticism was that the footage had “no story,” but that was all by design. “I had a whole treatment that was gonna be a story that we were gonna shoot later,” Smigel explained. “The first thing we shot was the convention. There, you’re just grabbing moments.”

Triumph returned to late night on The Daily Show last week. With TDS set to cover the conventions onsite this summer, perhaps Triumph has a chance to take care of some unfinished business.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *