6:00pm PT by Natalie Jarvey
Triumph to Take On Roger Ailes in Hulu Election Special
Triumph the Insult Comic Dog will pull no punches in his upcoming election special on Hulu.
Comedian Robert Smigel, who created and voices Triumph, teased during the Television Critics Association's summer press tour what his puppet alter-ego was up to when he crashed the Republican National Convention in July for the filming of his upcoming Summer Election Special 2016, and it included a Roger Ailes look-alike.
The idea was born out of a New Yorker article that Smigel read about self-defense training programs for journalists ahead of the RNC, which simulated potential violence from Donald Trump supporters. "We brought a nerdy crew of reporters to one of these sessions," Smigel explained, adding that during the taping Triumph then warned of other potential dangers and brought in an impersonator of Roger Ailes, the former Fox News CEO who recently resigned following widespread sexual harassment allegations. "He looked so much like Ailes that I brought him to the convention," Smigel added with a laugh. "I actually gained more access by walking through areas where I wasn't supposed to go."
Smigel also teased that he brought a fake Telemundo reporter to the convention, but he wouldn't give away any other details, saying that he didn't "want to spoil the the joke."
One joke that didn't make the cut: During a carnival that Triumph hosted for Trump supporters, Smigel wanted to fill an arcade claw machine with a pile of guns. "We couldn't get the look right in time," he said. "Somewhere else we'll do that one, as well."
Triumph's Summer Election Special 2016 hits Hulu on Aug. 11, but Smigel revealed that it might not be the last that viewers see of the foul-mouthed dog before Election Day. He said he is in talks with Hulu to bring the character back this fall, whether through another special or a different format show. Triumph could even come back after the election is over. "One of the reasons I chose Hulu is because that they felt like people who were really interested in doing something long-term, not just a special," he added.
Smigel's first special for Hulu, which was released in February, was nominated for an Emmy in the variety special writing category. And Smigel says that Triumph will likely make an appearance at the Emmy Awards in September. "They have to invite Triumph. All nominees have to be invited," he said. "I'm a member of the Academy, and there's no stipulation that you can't put your hand up anything's ass and still go to the Emmys, no matter what you shove your hand up. So, yeah, I'll probably bring Triumph just to be an asshole. I'll probably make a remote out of it. That's what I did when Triumph was nominated for a Grammy. It was like, 'Oh, this is an opportunity to make fun of the Grammys.'"
Smigel's time in the hot seat wouldn't have been complete without an appearance from Triumph, who made a surprise cameo at the start of the panel to take a few shots at Hulu and the TCA audience. "The last time I was here, I referred to the TCA as the Triple Chin Association," he said to laughs.
Triumph then took aim at Hulu. "You know everybody loves Hulu," he said. "Time Warner just announced that it now owns a piece of Hulu. Fox owns Hulu. NBC owns Hulu. Even Disney. Yes, Hulu has so many fingers inside of it that it could easily be a member of the Duggar family."