A film crew for The Late Show With Stephen Colbert was detained by Capitol Police late on June 16 after filming comedy segments for the late-night show all day, Variety reports. The segments included the iconic Triumph The Insult Comic Dog, a vulgar puppet who has made appearances on the CBS show for 25 years. Nine crew members, including comedian Robert Smigel, 62, the writer behind Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, were detained in the Longworth House Office Building, one of three buildings constructed for the United States House of Representatives, at 8:30 p.m., per Capitol Police.
“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,” the Capitol Police said in a statement to Variety. “They were charged with Unlawful Entry. This is an active criminal investigation, and may result in additional criminal charges after consultation with the U.S. Attorney.”
According to Fox News’ Congress reporter Chad Pergram, 52, the group was brought into Capitol Police custody after they were found without identification or an escort outside the offices of Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Rep. Lauren Boebert. Other crew members detained alongside Robert include Jake Plunkett, Allison Martinez, Tyrone Dean, Stephen Romond, Nicoletta Green, Brendan Hurley, Josh Comers, and David Feldman, according to Chad. He also noted the group had been “shooed” away by Capitol Police “in the Cannon House Office Building earlier in the day.” It is believed everyone has since been released.
5) They were unescorted and arrested and charged with illegal entry. They were arrested near Boebert’s office. They were released overnight.
— Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram) June 17, 2022
CBS confirmed the incident but pressed that their field production crew was on the premises legally and with authorization. “On Wednesday, June 15 and Thursday, June 16, Triumph the Insult Comic Dog was on-site at the Capitol with a production team to record interviews for a comedy segment on behalf of The Late Show,” CBS told Variety in a statement. “Their interviews at the Capitol were authorized and pre-arranged through Congressional aides of the members interviewed. 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 arrests came at a time of heightened security in Congress as hearings about the Jan. 6, 2021 riot ensue. According to Chad, the CBS crew was looking to get interviews around the time a hearing was taking place earlier in the day on June 16. Stephen Colbert, 58, has used the public hearings as a platform for jokes about those involved, per the Daily Mail. For instance, after Proud Boy leader Joseph Biggs requested to have his trial outside of Washington, D.C., Stephen quipped, “They want to move the trial to some place where The Proud Boys have a better reputation. Like 1930s Berlin.”
HollywoodLife did not immediately receive a response after reaching out to Stephen’s representative and the Capitol Police.