Oct 23, 2012, 3:20 PM EDT
You may know comedian Rob Riggle from such hits as The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (for which he covered the 2008 Beijing Olympics), Saturday Night Live and Fox Sports (he does predictions for Fox NFL Sunday). But a look beneath the surface of this jolly comedian reveals a troubled, tortured soul.
Riggle grew up in Overland Park, Kansas, and is still a rabid Royals and Chiefs fan. As if that wasn’t bad enough, in high school a hand injury prevented him from playing his favorite sport, basketball, and so forced him into wrestling, where he compiled a painful 3-15 record. Also he was tricked into becoming a soccer fan by The Daily Show‘s John Oliver. No, Riggle’s is not an easy story to tell.
OFF THE BENCH: You took over for Frank Caliendo on Fox NFL Sunday, making football predictions. What’s your record so far?
ROB RIGGLE: I’m not doing too well. It’s harder than it looks.
OTB: You don’t keep track?
ROB RIGGLE: It’s pretty bad. Although last week I was 3-1. But the week before I went 0-4, creating a bit of a fuss. I’m a huge NFL fan, I grew up liking the Kansas City Chiefs and all of the NFL, really. I used to watch guys making predictions and I would yell at the TV, ‘I can do better than that!’ Turns out I can’t.
OTB: But that’s not why you’re there, obviously.
ROB RIGGLE: No. It’s to make people laugh. (Weeps).
OTB: You liked the Chiefs?
ROB RIGGLE: Yes, I grew up in Kansas City. I liked the Chiefs, the Royals, even Sporting Kansas City.
OTB: You like soccer?
ROB RIGGLE: When I was with The Daily Show I shared an office with John Oliver, who is a very talented, funny guy, and British. So he’s a big soccer fan, and he educated me on the game of futball. I went to some Premier League games with him and really enjoyed it.
Then when I started with Fox NFL, one of the first people I worked with was David Beckham. I told him I was going to go see an LA Galaxy game, and he said ‘Come down after the game and say hi.’ So I brought my kids down to meet David Beckham. How lucky am I?
OTB: How old are your kids?
ROB RIGGLE: Four and eight. My daughter plays soccer.
OTB: Did you play sports in high school?
ROB RIGGLE: Football. At Shawnee Mission South. In one game I broke my thumb during a kickoff, and was out for the season, and then couldn’t play my favorite sport, basketball, in the winter. But at our school they had a rule that if you didn’t play three sports, you couldn’t go out for football the following year. So I did wrestling, where I took many a beating. My record was 3-15. I also did golf in the spring.
OTB: You then attended Webster University. Their mascot is the Gorlock … what is a Gorlock?
ROB RIGGLE: That’s a great question. Um, the gatekeeper to hell?
OTB: You didn’t know your school mascot, did you?
ROB RIGGLE: Honestly, no.
OTB: You covered the Olympics for The Daily Show. What was your favorite memory?
ROB RIGGLE: What a great question, specific and to the point. I’m just going to say, Michael Phelps. He’s been in every Olympics since 2000 so that’s my blanket answer.
You see the thing is, The Daily Show doesn’t have much of a budget. So I went over there early and pre-taped everything, and we used a green screen. But I was lucky enough to meet a lot of people and see some great things. Tienanmen Square, the Great Wall of China …
OTB: What was your overall impression of Beijing?
ROB RIGGLE: Very hot, very smoggy. Geographically it’s in a big bowl, and the weather just sits.
OTB: Backing up a bit, you were close about the Gorlock. It’s a mythical beast.
ROB RIGGLE: I feel much better now.
Riggle has done a series of commercials for Head & Shoulders for the 2012 NFL season, in which he teams with Troy Polamalu and Brett Keisel to promote the virtual Troy Polamalu School of Deeper Learning. Riggle introduces a series of online courses to “help men everywhere achieve deeper thinking through healthy scalps and great looking hair.” Video here.
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