Triumph the Insult Comic Dog has been a staple of late night television since he made his debut on Late Night with Conan O’Brien in 1997. The creation of brilliant comedy writer Robert Smigel, Triumph was conceived to be a purposely bad insult comic, but caught on quickly and became one of Conan’s most popular bits (things are going pretty well when bands like Bon Jovi ask you to come to their concert and insult them). So in preparation for his forthcoming Adult Swim program with 30 Rock’s Jack McBrayer, let’s take a look at some of Triumph’s most memorable late night moments.
His First Appearance
Triumph’s first appearance on Late Night with Conan O’Brien came during a parody of the Westminster Dog Show, where an absurd dog talent show takes place. During the show, Triumph unveiled his bad joke-telling talent, ending each of his insults with the immortal punchline “for me to poop on.”
The Attack of the Clones Premiere
Just when Conan and his writers thought the Triumph bit had run its course, he delivered perhaps his most memorable takedown. One of Conan’s writers saw a line of adults dressed in full cosplay outside of the Star Wars: Attack Of The Clones premiere and sent Smigel — with Triumph in hand — to give them a good lampooning. “Which one of these buttons calls your parents to pick you up?”
At the height of Triumph’s popularity, Conan was receiving requests from celebrities to have the dog come and insult them. And after seeing the end result, it’s virtually impossible to get the image of Triumph humping Heather Locklear’s arm out of your head.
The Quebec Retreat
The Quebec retreat has come to be remembered as one of the only times Triumph took it too far, after he suggested that the largely French-speaking community learn English and replace their street signs with English-language signs. The end result was a political uproar, because unbeknownst to Smigel and Conan, the community had long been fighting to reclaim its French identity. In the end, Conan issued an apology, and Smigel felt guilty about taking it too far.
When He Attended The Tony Awards
Triumph’s trip to the Tony Awards can be summed up by this statement he made to Jeff Daniels while on the red carpet: “This show is a who’s who of who cares.” Why? Because when Conan opens the bit stating that the Tonys are the least viewed award ceremony, he brazenly comes in and adds insult to injury. Just like a real insult comic should!