Rob Riggle is an actor and comedian known for his time as a correspondent on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” and his supporting roles in films such as The Hangover and Step Brothers. Lt. Col. Riggle also continues to serve in the Marine Corps Reserve. Luckily for us, he had a break in his busy schedule to share some wisdom. Ooh-rah.
MARINES MAGAZINE: Why did you choose to serve in the Marines? Rob Riggle: I joined when I was in college, April 25, 1990. I had my pilot’s license when I was in college at the University of Kansas and was able to attain a guaranteed flight contract. Along with my flight contract,
I chose the Marine Corps because I believed they offered the greatest challenge. They had such a proud and amazing history… I wanted to see if I had what it took to become a Marine.
How was your experience during your earlier days as a lieutenant? I went to flight school and trained as a student pilot. I was getting close to getting my wings when I made one of the most difficult decisions of my life – I decided to quit flying so I could have a chance to pursue comedy. If I had continued flying I didn’t see how I would be able to take my shot at comedy. I left flight school and became a public affairs officer. I completed my ground contract and commitment and then began to pursue my dream of becoming a comedian and actor.
How has your experience in the Corps shaped your comedian and acting career? It made me mentally tough, which is what you have to be in show business. Show business is brutal. For seven years I worked every day and night to catch a break. I heard “no” at least 5,000 times – literally. That can be very difficult on your self-esteem. I watched as a lot of my peers quit the business.
Are there any similarities between being a comedian and being a Marine? You have to want both… really bad!
What are the biggest differences between the Marine Corps and the acting world? People in show business rarely say what they’re really thinking. Marines usually shoot straight with you.
Have there been any Marines that really didn’t connect well with your comedic personality? Nope. EVERYBODY loves my comedy. No exceptions… ever… EVER!
Do your peers in show business understand your Marine Corps lingo? You mean like when I tell them to “pound sand” and they just stare at me like I just asked them a math question?
What do you enjoy most about being a Marine? One – I earned the title Marine, no one gave it to me. I’ll be proud of that as long as I’m alive. Two – Marines are loyal to each other. I like loyalty. Three – Marine Corps history and tradition is something to be proud of, and I’ve been part of that history for the last 19 years. And four – honor, courage and commitment. Those words really do mean something.
What do you enjoy most about show business? I get to hang out with funny people and laugh almost every day! The pay is better too…
What’s your most rewarding experience as a Marine? Many rewarding experiences… Leading Marines, educating Marines, serving my country, working on the “Bucket Brigades” at ground zero immediately following the 9/11 attacks, helping evacuate and secure the embassy in Liberia, helping the refugees in Albania, restoring and enforcing peace in Kosovo and liberating Afghanistan from the Taliban rule.
Do you have any future goals as an actor? There’s no finish line in show business. I just want to keep working. I’m shooting a movie right now with Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg and then after that we’ll see.
Favorite movie? Caddy Shack … I grew up on it.
Who are your favorite comedians? George Carlin, Eddie Murphy, Bill Murray, Sam Kinison, Denis Leary…too many to mention here…
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