Behind The ScenesESPYs

Comedy takes center stage as
Rob Riggle prepares to be ESPYS host

Comedian/actor Rob Riggle will be host the 2012 ESPY Awards.

Actor/comedian Rob Riggle is about to live a sports fan’s dream: He will host The 2012 ESPYS on July 11 at 9 p.m. ET.

Many will recognize Riggle from his correspondent work alongside Jon Stewart on The Daily Show. He has also flexed his comic muscles in film roles including The Hangover (who can forget the taser scene?), Step Brothers and The Other Guys.

Nokia Arena, home of the 2012 ESPY Awards show

What many may not know is that Riggle is also an active Marine. He is currently a Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve and has served overseas in Liberia, Kosovo and Afghanistan.

“The ESPYS are proud to support Disney’s ‘Heroes Work Here’ program and we’re honored to have a Marine Corps officer serve as this year’s host,” said ESPN’s EVP of Programming and Acquisitions, Norby Williamson. “Rob’s diverse background and comic style will bring new elements to the show and we’re looking forward to an entertaining show that will speak to the core sports fan.”

Riggle has been keeping busy recently with his role in the action-comedy 21 Jump Street and voicing the character of Mr. O’Hare in Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax.

In March, Riggle visited the ESPN campus to promote 21 Jump Street as part of the Bristol “Car Wash” and it gave the Kansas native a chance to discuss his beloved teams: the Kansas City Royals, the Kansas City Chiefs and the Kansas Jayhawks.

Front Row caught up with Riggle to ask about his upcoming role as the host of ESPN’s 20th ESPYs telecast:

What do you think will be the most interesting/exciting thing about hosting the ESPYS?
A couple of things: meeting all my sports heroes, people I sincerely admire and respect and the 50-foot robot that breathes fire and can eat cars! It’s gonna be amazing! (Editor’s Note: We can neither confirm nor deny existence of such a machine.)

Is there a current sports storyline or possible sports storyline that you hope continues through until ESPYS joke-writing time approaches?
Just the same stories I expect every year: The Chiefs TRADE UP FOR THE NUMBER ONE PICK, allowing them to go undefeated and win the Superbowl (Take that, ’72 Dolphins!).
Also, the Royals go into the All-Star break with a 12-game lead on the division and the best record in baseball and proceed to, of course, win the World Series in a sweep.
But my first course of action will be getting the 2012 NCAA men’s basketball championship awarded to the proper winner, the Kansas Jayhawks. I may have been born in Kentucky, but I was raised in Kansas. ROCK CHALK!

Are there any possible collaborators you are considering?
I’ve had the chance to work with some amazing actors, comedians and writers; some of Hollywood’s best and I’m calling ALL of them!

Do you feel like there have been things you have done in your diverse background that prepare you for hosting a live entertainment show?
Going to war a couple times helps. Doing live television on Saturday Night Live will have helped. Hosting several killer “Hollywood” parties is a big plus. Basically, we’re gonna have a blast and you’re all invited!

(To celebrate the 20th ESPYS, program highlights will include special guest appearances from several former hosts such as Samuel Jackson (1999, 2001, 2002, and 2009) Lance Armstrong (2006), Seth Meyers (2010/2011) and others. The 2012 ESPYS will be televised live Wednesday, July 11, at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN/ESPNHD from the Nokia Theatre at L.A. LIVE in Los Angeles.

Sports fans can stay on top of announcements about The 2012 ESPYS on Twitter @ESPYs and get more info by visiting ESPN Media Zone.)

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