Wednesday, Feb. 18 at 2 ET
Ask Rob Riggle
Wednesday, February 18, 2009; 2:00 PM
Former "Daily Show" correspondent Rob Riggle was online Wednesday, Feb. 18 at 2 ET to take your questions about the show, his life and his career.
The transcript follows.
Riggle spent two seasons on "The Daily Show," where he reported from Iraq and from the Beijing Olympics. He's also appeared on "Saturday Night Live" and MTV's "Human Giant." A former marine, Riggle served in Kosovo, Liberia and Afghanistan.
Riggle will perform in Washington, D.C., 8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 19 at the Sixth & I Historic Synagogue.
Vienna, Va.: Rob, most of the major U.S. TV news journalists today are life-long civilians; they have never served in a military service. You, OTOH, are a Marine. In your "Daily Show" incarnation, you went to Iraq. Two questions: (1) How has your military experience shaped your fake journalism and comedy and (2) What do you think of U.S. TV news coverage of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan? Thank you.
Rob Riggle: Well, my military service definitely helped me understand what the military was up against in Iraq and what they were trying to accomplish. Having served in Afghanistan, I understand how difficult the mission can be. With regard to my military experience and comedy... I learned how much fun it is to play "arrogant ignorance." Meaning I love to play an authority figure who is total wrong or missing the point, but is absolutely convinced that he's right on track! I think the news could always do better, however they're doing okay.
Washington, D.C.: In all your appearances I've never heard you say specifically what division you served in. What is your general responsibility/MOS and what unit(s) were you with?
Rob Riggle: This sounds like a member of our armed forces...I'm a Marine. I'm a Major in the USMCR. I served nine years on active duty and 10 years in the reserves. I started out flying for the Marines, but then left flight school because I wanted to pursue comedy. First, I had to fulfill my ground contract and that's what I did as a Public Affairs officer. I usually get attached to Command Elements as a PAO, so I've served with several different units throughout my career. 2/2, 3/8, 24th MEU SOC, 2nd MAW, CENTCOM, MTU-17, HQPA, 3rd Bat., 5th Special Forces Group.
Annapolis, Md.: True or False -- the only good Marine is a submarine? Please discuss.
Rob Riggle: False! No discussion necessary... Semper Fidelis!
Raleigh, N.C.: Rob, you are so missed on "The Daily Show." Any chance of one-time appearances? Please?
Rob Riggle: Thank you. I appreciate that. Absolutely, before I left I spoke with Jon quite a bit and he said that anytime I'm back in town to let him know and we would work a bit to do on the show. I just have no idea when I'll be back in NYC.
Fairfax, Va.: This isn't to ask a question, but just to thank you for bringing a different (i.e., "hulking") tone/energy to "The Daily Show" than most of the correspondents, and that I think far and away your best moment was when you interviewed Code Pink in Berkeley when there was a movement to get rid of the Marine recruitment station, and in response to Code Pink members going on and on about free speech, you said, "If only there was an organization that was sworn to defend that free speech." Brilliant.
Rob Riggle: Thanks!
Mamba Point: Which of your military experiences was most influential in your decision to go into comedy? Having lived in Liberia, I would think that would have to be a strong contender.
Rob Riggle: Well, I always loved comedy. I have been a fan of comedy my whole life. So, I'm not sure I would say it was anything the military had an influence over. The military however did help me gain the independence and fortitude that it takes to try show business. Liberia, Kosovo and Afghanistan all taught me amazing lessons about myself and life in general.
Fairfax, Va.: I love the segments where you and other Daily Show minions do the interviews on the street. You're a pretty big guy though -- how do you chase/harass these people without scaring the crap out of them?
Rob Riggle: I usually just scare the crap of them.... Kidding.... Sorta.....
Washington, D.C.: Hi there-
I am sure you get this question all the time, but is there a particular interview or segment from your brilliant run on "TDS" that stands out to you? The behind the scenes must be hilarious...
Rob Riggle: Thank you very much. I really enjoyed doing the "Cloned Meat" field piece. We had great people to interview and we just had fun doing it. No heavy theme or strong political message, just a semi-ridiculous topic that we explored.
Chambersburg, Pa.: Big Rig! I really enjoyed your segments on "The Daily Show," and I always wondered what happens after the interview is over. Did you ever have one of those turn real ugly? What was the worst reaction you ever earned?
Rob Riggle: Thank you. I was lucky, I never had anyone walk out on me or yell at me really... Well, there was one guy in the "Andy Griffith" piece who upon my repeating the same question in many different forms asked, "What the hell is wrong with you?"
Arlington, Va.: I saw your stand up performance at the Arlington Drafthouse last April and my fiancee and I are still saying "I wanna double down!" to each other, followed by hysterical laughter. We miss seeing you on "The Daily Show." What projects do you have coming up?
Rob Riggle: Thanks for coming to my show last April! I just finished writing a pilot for CBS and have turned it in to the network and they are deciding on it as I type this. I have no idea if they will go for it, but I think it's pretty funny. I'm currently shooting a couple episodes of "Gary Unmarried" right now and then I start hitting the road to do some stand-up dates around the country. I'm like every other actor/comedy/writer, I'm auditioning, taking meetings and trying to work.
Kansas City: Rob, as you are a Marine Reserve officer, does the government ever ask (or tell) you to temper your on-stage remarks so they do not directly criticize the country or the Commander-in-Chief?
Rob Riggle: Never. Not once have I been told to tone it down or knock it off. Nor would I... The USO tour had some simple rules about talking about religion, sex and the president, but I was fine with that because I was there to entertain the troops not make some statement.
Tacoma, Wash.: Hi Rob Riggle! I am submitting early because I have a meeting. Okay, I am not going to be subtle. I think you are one of the wittiest, sexiest and most attractive men on TV. As a DoD employee myself, I also want you to know I truly admire your military service. I always enjoy your performances whether on "The Office" or "The Daily Show." Please tell me you are coming to the Seattle/Tacoma area for a performance. Seeing your show would leave me positively tingling. Additionally, if you perform in Tacoma, I can treat you to some of the world's finest seafood.
Rob Riggle: You are incredibly kind, thank you. As of now I don't have any plans to perform in the Washington/Pacific Northwest area, but that could change.
DC via KC: Rob,
You're a fellow native Kansas Citian if I remember correctly (or somewhere nearby). If the horrid Kansas City Royals were a politician, who would they be? (Feel free to concoct a fake politician in case the Royals' wretchedness has no equal in today's Congress.)
Rob Riggle: They'd have to be Rod Blagojevich.... total denial.
Raleigh, N.C.: You clearly could beat up Jon Stewart. In fact, you clearly could beat up Jon Stewart and John Oliver. Could you beat up a team of Jon, John and Jason Jones? (Don't make a cheap Samantha Bee joke. You're a pro, you're better than that.)
Rob Riggle: There are probably 100 people who work at "The Daily Show" and I feel pretty confident in saying that I could beat them all up.
London: I'm curious -- "The Daily Show" is primarily a comedy show, but there are many people who use it as a news source. Does that concern you? Did you ever worry that the jokes were being lost in the message of what you were saying? And did you have a preference for the segments that could have been more serious - the ones that poked fun at actual serious events -- if you were an actual news organization, or the ones that were just based on ridiculous events/people and deserved nothing but mockery?
Rob Riggle: "The Daily Show" is a comedy show. People who want to make it more than that, I don't know what to tell you? If you are using "The Daily Show" as your primary news source, I think you're probably making a mistake. We served comedy. We spoke truth to power and tried to entertain while we did it.
Washington, D.C.: Who would you pay to go see perform?
Rob Riggle: John Oliver, Demitri Martin, Jon Stewart, Eddie Murphy, Lewis Black, Nick Swardson, Jerry Seinfeld and dozens of others I can't think of right now. Also, I would go to the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater in either NYC or LA, there's always good shows there.
Washington, D.C.: Are you interested in doing movies and would you do scenes in the nude?
Rob Riggle: Sorry everyone, but this is my last question. I've got to set.... Yes, I actually have two movies that I'll be in that are coming out this summer. One is untitled or they just haven't decided on a title which is coming out in August with Jeremy Piven and the other is called "The Hangover" with Ed Helms, Bradley Cooper and Zach Galafinakis (I pretty sure I misspelled Zach's name, sorry). I don't think I would do any nude scenes because I wouldn't want to make people sick.
washingtonpost.com: Rob had to go. We wanted to thank him for coming on and to thank you all for your questions.
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