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Robert Smigel

Sometimes I find it hard to believe a person like Robert Smigel actually exists.
Rocco Castoro
Κείμενο Rocco Castoro
1.10.10

Saturday Night Live

The Dana Carvey Show

The Ambiguously Gay Duo

Carvey

SNL

TV Funhouse

TV Funhouse

Late Night With Conan O’Brien

Vice: Most of your work relies on subverting childhood entertainment like cartoons and puppets and kid shows to poke fun at adult topics. Do you think your style of comedy taps into greater truths than a typical stand-up routine or sitcom?

Robert Smigel:

Did you grow up watching a lot of cartoons and reading comic books?

Magilla Gorilla

Superman

Lassie

Lassie

Peanuts

Batman

Batman

Batman

Gilligan’s Island

I’ve read that you initially went to college to become a dentist, which is perhaps the most humorless profession in the world besides terrorism. What happened?

laughs

Yeah, that’s what I studied at college and look where it got me. It was a tragic mistake.

Chumash

From there you ended up in Chicago with Conan and Bob Odenkirk, where you took part in an improv revue called Happy Happy Good Show. It seems kind of weird that you wanted to be in the comedy business but moved from New York to Chicago.

SNL

Are you involved with SNL whatsoever these days? I’ve noticed that there haven’t been any TV Funhouse segments for a bit.

TV Funhouse

TV Funhouse

Was there ever a time when NBC executives or the standards-and-practices board intervened to the point where an entire concept had to be axed?

SNL

so

Do you feel like you’ve ever gone over the line?

Come Poop With Me

Star Wars

During your tenure as the initial head writer for Late Night you set some pretty strict parameters for the other writers, which makes sense because the show was so cohesive. Yet I feel like that approach is unique in the world of late-night talk shows. Would you turn down ideas that might’ve been funny but didn’t fit into your idea of what the show should be?

Late Night

Do you think his new cable show will be a refreshing new beginning and allow him to do some things that might not have worked on network television?

The Tonight Show

Conan

laughs

Triumph originated on Late Night, and I’ve always wondered where you found the original puppet?

laughs

Late Night

know

laughs

Are you a dog lover?

TV Funhouse

Has doing the Triumph routine all these years had any physical or mental repercussions? You’re sitting there bent over all the time, your hand raised, with a sheet of paper taped to your face so people don’t make eye contact. It’s got to be hell on your knees and dignity.

You’ve had a history of creating shows and writing screenplays that are uncompromising but last for a short period of time or never see the light of day at all. It’s one of the things I admire most about you—there’s no intention of pandering to an audience. After being in the business this long, do you have a better idea of why certain things get off the ground and others don’t?

Anchorman

Old School

Anchorman

SNL

Then Last Action Hero

When we were setting up a time for this interview you mentioned that you were very busy planning your semi-annual autism benefit, which will air in late October on Comedy Central and feature pretty much every funny person on the planet. What can we expect this year?

laughs

What else do you have brewing?

Jack and Jill

The Ambiguously Gay Duo

Are you looking to get Colbert and Carell back together for it?

Maybe they can just dub over the voices of Tobey Maguire and Michael Cera, or whatever pair of actors you can find who are capable of reaching such extreme levels of homosexuality.