When Hulu and Funny or Die dropped Triumph’s Election Special 2016 on viewers in February, people did and didn’t know what to expect of the latest steaming pile of comedy greatness from the former Late Night with Conan O’Brien character. Official and unofficial previews of Robert Smigel’s cigar-smoking, poop-threatening sock-puppet dog were all over the place, and they promised something truly special. But when the 85-minute escape finally arrived, what audiences found was more than just a collection of gotcha media coverage with a few jokes thrown in. Triumph’s Election Special, in turns out, was quite good. Maybe that’s why Hulu announced a second election special at its Wednesday upfront presentation.
According to Deadline, the streaming service revealed they were renewing The Mindy Project for a fifth season (its second with Hulu) and producing a second election special with Triumph. The two programs join the company’s increasing efforts to develop and distribute more original material, which CEO Mike Hopkins claims has ballooned “over 30 percent year over year, reaching 12 million this month.” If accurate, these numbers are great news for Hulu and — as evidenced by the news on Wednesday — fantastic news for the teams behind Mindy Project, Triumph’s Election Special 2016, and other successful shows unique to the company.
Yet the best part of this is Triumph’s return, for unlike scripted episodic series like Mindy Project, Triumph’s Election Special 2016 better resembles a comedy improv with real people and real situations that don’t always rely on pre-written material. It’s a completely different kind of television, and one that Smigel and his team are especially good at. They proved this time and time again with their many appearances on Late Night and other programs with O’Brien, and if you’ve watched the first election special, then you know the laughs haven’t abated that much.
Other than the announcement, however, Hulu didn’t reveal much about Triumph’s second at-bat with American politics. Since the first dealt with early primary politics in New Hampshire and the Midwest, it’s a safe bet that the second will tackle the lead-up to the general election in November. Who knows? Maybe Smigel and his crew will somehow manage to sneak themselves into one or both of the major party conventions in July.
Besides, without the first special in February, audiences would have never been treated to one of the best and most awkwardly hilarious segments ever recorded in recent memory: