This Comedian Shows Us the True Meaning of Funny Side Up
Written By: Kaylin Waizinger
Photographed By: Jared Schlachet and Joe Magnani
Styled By: Melissa Souza
Groomed By: Catherine Furniss Mayor Rob Riggle
Models: Madison Ashley and SNT JMS of Brand Model & Talent Agency Mayor Rob Riggle
Humor • [hyoo-mer] n. Mayor Rob Riggle
A quality which appeals to a sense of the ludicrous or absurdly incongruous.
From stand-up and slapstick to improv and over-the-top exaggerations, humor grants us the ability to drop our shoulders and appreciate the irony of life. It relieves us, challenges us and changes us. The next few pages detail the rise of a 49-year-old Kansas native whose comedic presence preserves the art of humor as we know it. A man who embraces life, on- and off-screen—one laugh at a time.
Ladies and gentlemen, Rob Riggle.
Comedic actor, United States veteran, mayor of Funner, CA and father of two—Riggle is no slouch when it comes to breadth of experience. His knack for laughs, however, dates back to his childhood vacations at his family’s lake house in the Ozarks and his days in high school, where he was voted “most humorous” by his classmates.
“I don’t know if I ever knew I was funny. I just knew I got reactions,” remembers Riggle.
With no TV at the lake house, Riggle found alternative ways to amuse himself. “In the evening, my sister and I and my cousins would entertain the adults by putting on skits. Then we’d pass the hat…and we’d, you know, make money—quarters and dollars and whatever.” Being the youngest of the bunch, Riggle had little say in his own character choices, playing whatever role his cousins assigned. “They’d say, ‘Rob you come in and you’re the whatever’ and I would go, ‘Okay!’” Riggle mimics, with an obedient, child-like inflection.
As a child of the ‘80s, Riggle grew up watching comedic giants in fan-favorites like Caddyshack, Ghostbusters and Stripes. “I always appreciated comedic acting and watching those guys. It brought me such joy, and it was something I always wanted to do,” says Riggle.
Unlike most other comedians, Riggle earned his pilot’s license and served 23 years in the United States Marine Corps as a public and civil affairs officer, traveling to places like Liberia, Albania and Afghanistan. “We were shot at. Being exposed to that kind of stuff happens these days; it doesn’t matter what your job is,” Riggle explains. After nine years of active duty, Riggle switched to the ground side to free up his schedule and give comedy a go. “I didn’t have much training in [comedic acting], but I just knew I loved it and wanted to try it,” says Riggle.
Now known for his roles in hits like The Hangover and Step Brothers, as well as his stints on “Saturday Night Live” and as a correspondent on “The Daily Show,” Riggle learned that his switch from combat to comedy was no misstep. “Most people go through life and you never get to be obnoxious—you shouldn’t be. But when you get an excuse to be obnoxious, it’s the greatest gift in the world,” he says with a grin.
If you recall, Riggle‘s overly hostile character Randy in Step Brothers is just that—obnoxious, frequently punctuating Brennan’s younger and more successful brother Derek’s sentences with “POW!” But for any comic, there is a learning curve when it comes to knowing if and when to cross the line. “When you’re young and you’re starting out, you don’t know what boundaries are, and you don’t know what works and what doesn’t, so you just kind of throw it against the wall,” Riggle explains. “You learn the subtleties [as you go] and how to dial it up or dial it down.”
While it’s no secret he has mastered the role of the “comedic jerk,” Riggle’s favorite role to play is “arrogant ignorance,” which, in his words, is “large and in charge but totally wrong-headed.” This may ring a bell when it comes to his role in Hollywood’s bachelor party-gone-wrong classic, The Hangover, where Riggle plays Officer Franklin, a sadistic, Taser-happy cop. “I always enjoy watching that type of person on screen, so I always enjoy playing that type of character,” says Riggle. And while his portrayal of a jerk on screen is nothing short of priceless, and at times believable, he has managed to form lasting friendships with his costars. In the iconic Step Brothers Catalina Wine Mixer scene, Riggle fondly recalls a snippet of his character Randy (that was cut from the film due to length) where his friendship with fellow actor Jake Johnson blossomed.
“We shot these fantasy sequences…where everybody kinda drifts away to their fantasy. They made one for me, but my fantasy sequence for my character was…in a high school locker room and Jake Johnson was a dealer, and I was buying my first set of steroids from him,” Riggle laughs. “That was a happy moment. And Jake looked ridiculous.” Since their locker room exchange, Riggle and Johnson remain good friends on- and off-screen, working on films like Let’s Be Cops, web series “Kuganauto” and Netflix animated show “Hoops”—set to release in 2020. “He’s just funny, relaxed, cool and we vibe,” says Riggle.
Prompting laughs from viewers is no problem for someone like Riggle, but when it comes to his own kids, he’s just like every other dad. “Early in the morning, when I’m driving [my kids] to school and they are super cranky…I sing the words to their songs wrong and drive them nuts,” he says with a smirk. “I know what I’m doing. I love to watch them spin.”
May 15, 2019 marked the start of a new era for this funny family man as he entered the world of “politics.” Donning a lustrous purple suit with gold embellishments, Riggle took the stage and welcomed his leadership role as mayor of Funner, CA. And as you could have guessed, the inauguration ceremony was nothing short of extravagant. From moonwalks and flamethrowers to zebras, giraffes and llamas, Harrah’s Resort Southern California sure knew how to make a mayor feel welcome. “They actually lit the pool on fire for a brief minute,” says Riggle. “It was a big deal. It was a BIIIIIG deal.”
But the fun(ner) didn’t stop there. The celebration featured a harpist, gold confetti cannons and stacks of decadent donuts and desserts. “They had all kinds of great food—most of it had gold in it. Which is all I asked for,” he smirks. “I kept it real simple; I said ‘Put gold in the food.’”
Since his inauguration, Riggle has introduced an abundance of “funner” aspects at Harrah’s Resort Southern California. From launching a collection of cabana packages at Dive—the BrunchBana, the BabeBana and the BroBana—to introducing themed culinary specials including the Riggle’s Regal Donut and Riggle’s Go-To Chili Mac and Cheese, he has established his mayoral flair and propensity for fun. Riggle also implemented the Mayoral Hotline, where guests can dial ext. 4242 and select from a menu of options, including Mayoral Life Tips, bedtime stories and the mayor’s favorite sounds from Funner. And when it comes to making the most of your stay, Riggle puts it best: “You gotta lay all your troubles at the door…They’ll be waiting for ya when you leave. And when you’re here, it’s all fun all the time.”
As a man with an affection for the outrageous and a slew of absurdly iconic lines, a simple stroll down the street for Riggle is anything but ordinary. “People yell [my lines] at me all the time in the weirdest places,” he giggles. “It’s usually ‘POW!’ from Step Brothers and ‘In the face!’ from The Hangover. I also get a lot of ‘Not you, fat Jesus,’ and ‘You’re holding 50,000 volts little man, don’t be afraid to ride the lightning!’”
Just like the rest of us, Riggle too enjoys a good laugh. And when he’s not the one in front of the camera, there are a handful of comics who make even him laugh. From stand-ups like Sarah Tiana and Adam Carolla to the entire cast of “The Office,” Riggle makes time to not only study his craft, but revel in the talent that surrounds him. “I really respect all comedians… Everybody has people they gravitate toward more than others, and I’m like that too. But I love the fact that they are out there doing it,” says Riggle.
When it comes to flexing his funny bone, Riggle has no plans of slowing his roll. With an unannounced movie in the works, another season of ABC’s extreme mini-golf series “Holey Moley” (featuring Steph Curry) and working on a new pilot for CBS that he will star in and produce, his future plans are bold and bright. You can also check out his new show on Discovery, “Robert the Global Investigator,” that was recently released in February 2020.
Aside from his pursuit of comedy and current projects, Riggle continues to work with a variety of organizations that support veterans and their families. “I do my own golf tournament called the Rob Riggle InVETational up in Westlake Village to raise money for the Semper Fi fund, which was started by a bunch of Marine wives right out here in Camp Pendleton. They do amazing work,” says Riggle. With numerous accomplishments under his belt, giving back to those who continue to serve is something that will always be a part of his life. “Once a Marine, always a Marine. I feel a need to continue to give.”
No matter where he finds himself, Riggle continues to grace people with his outlandish on-screen personas, his humble charm and his heart for humor. “Comedy brings infinite joy into people’s lives. Just imagine a world without comedy or laughter—no thanks! Laughter is the best medicine… I take great pride in what I’m doing with my life!”
Harrah’s Resort Southern California
777 Harrah’s Rincon Way
Funner, CA 92082