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Triumph the Insult Comic Dog returns just in time for Election Day

The caustic hand puppet returns to hound Ted Cruz and Beto O’Rourke

Matt Patches is an executive editor at Polygon. He has over 15 years of experience reporting on movies and TV, and reviewing pop culture.

Triumph the Insult Comic Dog is like The Man with No Name of late-night comedy bits — he comes and goes with the wind, arriving to town just when we need him most.

Triumph, by way of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, rode into Texas on Monday night to once again deliver caustic one-liners to Senate candidates Ted Cruz and Beto O’Rourke, plus a few of their constituents for good measure. No one from either political side is safe from comedian Robert Smigel’s caustic hand puppet and, after a whirlwind election season, the 10-minute bit is just what we needed to break the tension.

“[Beto O’Rourke] was a punk rocker,” Triumph reminds a crowd of devoted Beto fans at a early voting event, “but have you ever actually heard his music? If Beto wants to stop border crossing quicker than Ted Cruz, they could just play his album back there.”

Triumph also manages to corner O’Rourke for some one-on-one time. “Does it concern you that half your base thinks they can vote for you through Instagram?” Triumph asks. O’Rourke actually has an answer.

Later in the segment, Triumph stumbles into a group of Cruz supporters and manages to wring a little pathos from the circumstances. No, they don’t like seeing President Donald Trump ding their guy, but yes, they still support him.

“People call him the Zodiac Killer, but that’s unfair,” Triumph admits. “His plan to appeal Obamacare would kill way more people than the Zodiac Killer!”

In 2016, Smigel and Triumph skewered the election machine in a series of Hulu specials. If you don’t mind reliving the events of that election, they’re some of the best political satire of that moment, and I highly recommend them.

Triumph attempted to snag an interview with Cruz during his run on the trail. The closest he could come was shouting insults from the side of a bus, as the Senator did not give him the time of day.

The Late Show bit was more fortuitous. Cruz was ready to play ball. When Triumph crosses his path at a rally, Cruz comes in swinging, with a plan to deliver the final word.

“Remember, it wasn’t the Republicans, it was the Democrats, that took you into the vet to get fixed,” Cruz says with a smirk.

“I support spaying and neutering, just like Trump did to you!” Triumph responded.

This dog cannot be stopped.