Although probably best known as the voice of Triumph the Insult Comic Dog on Late Night With Conan O'Brien, New York native Robert Smigel's legacy is really more that of a writer. Writing for Saturday Night Live since 1985, he is one of the longest running writers in the show's history, though he's only been producing and acting on it since the '90s. Some of his parodies and sketches include "Superfans" and "The McLaughlin Group." Smigel has also written for Lookwell, The Dana Carvey Show, and Late Night. As an actor, he's had bit parts in such comedies as Wayne's World 2 (1993) and, since then, nearly all of Adam Sandler's movies, including Billy Madison, Happy Gilmore, The Wedding Singer, Little Nicky, and Punch-Drunk Love. His puppet character of Triumph the Insult Comic Dog has transcended O'Brien for wider pastures such as Christmas specials and award shows. Some of Smigel's best work has been in animation. Appearing in tiny bursts on cable and late-night programming, his short cartoon bits include "The Ambiguously Gay Duo," co-created with comedian Stephen Colbert, and "Fun With Real Audio," cartoons which re-imagine popular figures of the day. Smigel eventually had enough bits to launch a whole show as creator, executive producer, and voice actor of TV Funhouse on Comedy Central. Aired in eight episodes from 2000-2001, the show was a hilarious blend of live-action, puppetry, and animation. Smigel is also a voice on Crank Yankers and a writer of many television specials.
Biography by Andrea LeVasseur
- Collected TV Guides as a youngster.
- His dentist-father developed the cosmetic tooth-bonding technique.
- Studied improv at Chicago's The Players Workshop, and was a member of the Chicago comedy troupe All You Can Eat.
- First head writer for Late Night With Conan O'Brien.
- His Saturday Night Live animated segment "TV Funhouse" was made into a 2000-01 series on Comedy Central.
- Was in a legal dogfight with Pets.com in 2000 when the company sued for defamation, claiming his Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog character made unfavorable comments about the sock-puppet dog they used in commercials.
- In 2004, Warner Bros. commissioned him to do a comedic movie script featuring Jack Black as Green Lantern, but the studio instead opted for a more dramatic take.
- Has a child with autism and is very involved in autism fundraising.