If you haven’t seen actor/comedian Rob Riggle on TV or in a movie recently, you’re doing it wrong. His very busy 2014 has included work on TV shows Modern Family, The League and weekly appearances on Fox’s NFL Sunday pre-game show, plus roles in 22 Jump Street, Let’s Be Cops, and this week’s long-awaited sequel, Dumb and Dumber To — in which he plays not one, but two different characters out to get lovable dummies Harry (Jeff Daniels) and Lloyd (Jim Carrey).
Playboy recently sat down with the Marine Corps Veteran to talk about how his character’s fetish-y love scene makes for a quintessential “Dumb and Dumber experience,” what it’s like to meet Harry and Lloyd, and his take on our Lucky 7 questions.
I heard you say that you’d do anything with Dumber To directors Peter and Bob Farrelly, but what was the conversation with them initially?
They called me and asked me to do it. I said “Yeah, what’s involved?” They said, “Well, you’re going to play twins.” I said, “That sounds amazing.” And they said, “It’s going to be a lot of fun” and I said,“I anticipate that.” and then I said, “I’m in.” It really was that simple.
One memorable scene involves your character having his toes sucked on — how did that read on the page?
I remember reading it and thinking, “Oh I’m sure they’ll have a prosthetic. They’ll probably change this on the actual day. I’m not too worried about this happening.” But then it did. I put myself in Laurie [Holden]’s shoes and thought to myself, “If I was the other actor in this scene I would really need to make sure that the other actor did everything in their power to clean that foot,” so I did. I gave it a thorough pedicure and cleaned it, I even soaked it in mouthwash. Because I empathize. Eeeaghh. I think my reaction [in the finished scene] is about as honest as it could be.
What was it like watching, as the Farrellys put it, “the intelligence melt off Jim and Jeff’s faces” as they went in and out of character?
[Laughs] That’s a great way to put it. It’s pretty special to watch both those guys because they’re such talented actors with such deep skill sets comedically and dramatically. I look at them and I see unbridled talent on every level so to watch them morph and become dumb is pretty cool. They’re so talented that they can pretty much do whatever they want.
Was there one defining moment for you that was a quote-unquote Dumb and Dumber experience?
My first day of shooting. I’d met Jim once before at the New York Comedy awards — we were both presenting — and it was nice but I didn’t know these guys well. So I showed up on set nine days into [filming] and they’re all back into it, feeling the groove. My first day we’re in a hearse driving down the highway, just the three of us. Jeff is driving, Jim is shotgun, and then me in the back. I’m sitting there looking at them doing a scene with them, and its funny and they’re Harry and Lloyd and I’m having a surreal moment. I’ve spent the better half of my life quoting these guys and watching these guys and now it’s just the three of us. I’ll probably never forget that.
Playboy’s Lucky 7 questions
What was your first exposure to Playboy?
I think I was at a friend’s house and his dad had Playboys. He did a really terrible job of hiding them and somehow they just fell open. I was probably nine or ten.
But nine and ten year olds aren’t excited about that yet, are they?
Naked women are always exciting to anybody! You don’t know what it is at that age; it’s titillating. “What’s going on? She doesn’t have a shirt on!” No one got in trouble. I just remember being very quiet that night. “Rob, you okay?” “I’m fine. Got a lot on my mind.”
What movie that scared you the most as a kid?
The Exorcist. I was probably too young; 12. Any of that devil possession stuff, I don’t like it.
What’s your pop culture blind spot?
My pop culture blind spot is getting bigger and bigger and here’s how I know: I still do improv every now and again at the Upright Citizens Brigade. I do a show called Face Book on Wednesday nights if I’m in NYC with all the guys I did improv with there —Paul Scheer, Jack Macbrayer, Rob Huebel, Seth Morris. Great guys. Paul Scheer, he’s a culture vulture, he’s dialed into pop culture. So I’ll get up and make a reference to Journey in a scene and a couple people get it. He’ll come up and drop the name of some rapper I’ve never heard of in my life and the place comes apart at the seams and I think, “I’ve got to read more, I’ve got to watch more TV” because I don’t get half the references.
Heaven forbid you’re on death row, what would you want your last meal to be?
Wow. Mashed potatoes and fried chicken and corn on the cob OR Kansas City barbecue. I’m loyal to Jack Stack for many reasons. One, I love their barbecue. Two, they’re big supporters of the Big Slick [charity] so when they got on board that solidified it, they’re now number one in my book.
What was your first car?
My first car was a 1976 Chrysler Newport, which was huge. It had more metal than a tank, but that one didn’t last very long. It was old and on its last leg and they didn’t make American cars very well in the ‘70s, I don’t know if you knew that. [Laughs] And then I got a Sun Bird that took me through high school into college.
What’s the first song you knew all the words to?
Probably the National Anthem or Happy Birthday. A pop song? It was probably Joan Jett and the Black Hearts’ “I Love Rock and Roll.”
What’s your favorite mistake?
Hmm…these are good questions, I wish I had more time to think about it… I like that question I just can’t think of a good answer but I’m sure there’s one out there.