‘Hangover’ actor Rob Riggle joins American Legion podcast

Marine Corps veteran, “The Hangover” actor and comedian Rob Riggle talks about his service, work as an entertainer and more on this week’s episode of The American Legion Tango Alpha Lima podcast. And you don’t want to miss the “involuntary balloon raise.”

Riggle, a retired lieutenant colonel, served for 23 years and earned more than 20 medals and ribbons. His deployments include Albania, Kosovo, Liberia and Afghanistan. 

“I wouldn’t trade a thing. I would take all the pain, all the mistakes, all the blunders, all the foolish things I may or may not have done,” said Riggle, a member of American Legion Post 43 in Hollywood, Calif. “I wouldn’t trade it because that is how you grow. I don’t know anyone who was born perfect.”

In addition to “The Hangover,” his movie credits include “Dumb and Dumber To,” “The Other Guys,” “Let's Be Cops,” and “Step Brothers.” He has served as a correspondent on Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” (2006-08) and as a key player on “Saturday Night Live” (2004-05).  

Riggle recalls a time when he was about to depart for a “Daily Show” gig as part of a USO tour to the Forward Operating Bases around Iraq and Kuwait. “We were out there in the tip of the spear, which I think was kind of fun because those soldiers and Marines don’t generally get USO shows,” he said.

Before they departed, Jon Stewart pulled Riggle aside to ask what his plans were. Riggle explained that he planned to do his stand-up act and some comedy sketches, to which Stewart offered some advice.

“Talk to them about their life. That’s what they want to hear about.”

Riggle set the advice aside and stuck to his original plan for the first show in Kuwait. “It wasn’t like a bomb but I don’t think it rocked,” he remembered. “So I went back and sat down and wrote out 15 things about their life. I did it the next night and it just killed. You just have to talk to them about what matters to them. It made a huge difference. That’s the best advice I ever got.”

In addition to restarting his own podcast, Riggle recently completed shooting two movies.  He is also a co-commentator on ABC’s extreme mini-golf series “Holey Moley.”

“We all need a purpose and mine is acting and comedy,” he said. “I feel like I contribute that way.”

Additionally, co-hosts Ashley Gutermuth and Stacy Pearsall also:

• Correct a misconception about younger veterans and whether they are a fit with The American Legion.

• Discuss what common foods were invented by the military.

• Riff on why ants don’t have lungs.

• Reveal which branch was the most common among the 31 presidents with military service.

Check out this week’s episode, which is among more than 220 Tango Alpha Lima podcasts available in both audio and video formats here. You can also download episodes on Apple Podcasts, Google Play or other major podcast-hosting sites. The video version is available at the Legion’s YouTube channel.