When Craig Kilborn left The Daily Show, the one bit of shtick he took with him was “Five Questions.” So when we interviewed former Daily Show correspondent Rob Riggle – now appearing in 21 Jump Street – we knew we had to go one better. Literally…one better. Here are our six questions, and his answers.
1. As a former military guy, when you’re in a movie like 21 Jump Street do you ever have to tell the guys how to hold the guns and kick ass properly?
I try not to be that guy, walking around going “All right, guys, this is how it’s done.” I never wanna be that douche. But at the same time, I do keep my eyes on them to make sure they’re not being careless with their weapons.
2. As a guy who’s well-trained at all that stuff, how hard is it to play a guy who’s all bluster and doesn’t know what he’s doing in an action situation?
I think it helps, because I work against everything I know to be right. I’ve also, in my years, had football coaches, teachers, fellow Marines that I’ve served with, certain alpha-type characters in my journey, and a lot of times it’s very easy to draw from some of those guys and channel them.
3. Do marines generally have a good sense of humor about being made fun of in a movie?
What I find is that Marines, or service-people in general, are very hip. They get comedy, and have a great appreciation for comedy. I think they get it better than most. But it’s like anything: any subgroup that isn’t portrayed exactly as they wanna be portrayed is not going to be happy about it.
4. What was it that made you transition from the military to comedy?
Comedy came first. I was always a comedy fan; I was voted most humorous in high school. I had my pilot’s license when I was an undergrad, so when I graduated, I got a guaranteed flight contract with the Marine Corps. And if you’re a theater or film major, you’re going to be a waiter or a bartender if you’re lucky – so I thought I’d be Top Gun instead. As I got along in the Marines, I realized I was getting further and further away from my dream to be a comedian and an actor, so I fulfilled my contract and went to New York to pursue comedy and acting full-time.
5. When you hear that most young people get their news from The Daily Show, are you flattered, or do you fear for the future?
I fear for the future. I definitely fear for the future. It’s not a news program; it’s a comedy show, and Jon Stewart has said that repeatedly and repeatedly. I think that’s a reflection on the news. If you want to know what’s being talked about in the world, sure. It’s very funny.
6. There’s a scene in the movie involving you and a severed piece of male anatomy. What was it made of?
That was not in the script. We were just playing, trying to make each other laugh and we kept hyping and hyping. So, they didn’t have anything (to show), so the director, I think it was Phil, ran over to craft services and they cut a banana in half; then they got the prop guy to pour some blood on it. That’s why when you see me come up with it in my mouth, it falls back out – it was a banana.