Colbert Producers, Puppet Arrested by Capitol Cops

Robert Smigel, voice of Triumph the Insult Comic Dog puppet, said to be among the 7 detained
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 18, 2022 8:30 AM CDT
Capitol Police Arrest 7 From Colbert Show, Plus This Dog
Triumph the Insult Comedy Dog appears at a news conference during the Bonnaroo Arts and Music Festival in Manchester, Tenn., on June 13, 2009.   (AP Photo/Dave Martin)

It's been some time since Triumph the Insult Comic Dog has made headlines, but he's now back in the spotlight. The AP reports that seven staffers from Stephen Colbert's Late Show were arrested on Capitol Hill Thursday night, and among those detained, per a list seen by the news outlet, was Robert Smigel, the comedian who voices the acerbic canine puppet. The Hollywood Reporter confirms the arrest of Smigel, who became known for the characters he played on Saturday Night Live and Conan O'Brien's late-night show. Capitol Police tell the AP that around 8:30pm on Thursday they received a call about a disturbance in the Longworth House Office Building, a building south of the Capitol proper that's used by the House of Representatives.

When responding officers arrived on the scene, they say they found "seven individuals, unescorted and without congressional ID, in a sixth-floor hallway." Although it's not clear which offices the production crew was near when they were arrested, reports indicate they'd at one point been filming around the offices of two congressional Republicans, Rep. Lauren Boebert and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, per Deadline. The police note at the time of the arrests, the building was closed, and that those arrested had been asked to leave the building earlier in the day. CBS News shows one of the photos taken Thursday of Smigel and Triumph in the hallways outside the hearings being held by the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.

A statement from CBS, which airs Colbert's program, notes that on Wednesday and Thursday, "Triumph the Insult Comic Dog was on-site at the Capitol with a production team to record interviews for a comedy segment on behalf of The Late Show. Their interviews at the Capitol were authorized and prearranged through Congressional aides of the members interviewed." The statement goes on to say that, "after leaving the members' offices on their last interview of the day, the production team stayed to film standups and other final comedy elements in the halls," which is apparently when they were arrested. The staffers were charged with unlawful entry, and police say more charges could be forthcoming. (More Stephen Colbert stories.)

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