Seven arrested while making Triumph the Insult Comic Dog segment at U.S. Capitol

The people working for ‘Late Show With Stephen Colbert’ were charged with unlawful entry.

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Robert Smigel operates the Triumph the Insult Comic Dog puppet in the hallways outside the Jan. 6 committee hearings Thursday at the U.S. Capitol.

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

WASHINGTON — Seven people working in a comedy segment starring Triumph the Insult Comic Dog were arrested Thursday night at a congressional office building on the U.S. Capitol grounds and charged with unlawful entry.

The people identified themselves as being affiliated with CBS’ “Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” a person familiar with the matter told The Associated Press.

Another person familiar with the matter provided the AP with a list of nine people who had been stopped by Capitol Police. They included several producers, along with Robert Smigel, the former Chicago comedian who operates and voices Triumph the Insult Comic Dog.

The two people who spoke with the AP could not discuss details of the investigation publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

The incident Thursday night followed the third public hearing by the House panel investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol insurrection.

U.S. Capitol Police said Friday they received a call about a disturbance in the Longworth House Office Building around 8:30 p.m. “Responding officers observed seven individuals, unescorted and without Congressional ID, in a sixth-floor hallway,” the agency said in a statement. “The building was closed to visitors, and these individuals were determined to be a part of a group that had been directed by the USCP to leave the building earlier in the day.”

In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, CBS said the production team was at the Capitol Wednesday and Thursday to record a comedy segment featuring Triumph.

“Their interviews at the Capitol were authorized and pre-arranged through Congressional aides of the members interviewed,” the network said. “After leaving the members’ offices on their last interview of the day, the production team stayed to film stand-ups and other final comedy elements in the halls when they were detained by Capitol Police.”

The USCP statement said the case remains “an active criminal investigation, and may result in additional criminal charges.” Capitol Police, departing from standard practice, refused to provide the names of the people who were arrested.

Smigel, a New York native, studied at Chicago’s Players Workshop and performed with the local sketch group All You Can Eat in the early ’80s. He went on to write for “Saturday Night Live” and “Late Night With Conan O’Brien,” and continues to be a frequent Chicago visitor.

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