Rob Riggle Ski Master Academy
Photo by Sony Crackle

If you tell comedian Rob Riggle that his new original series, Rob Riggle’s Ski Master Academy, is “crazy,” he will sincerely thank you.

As the official logline for the new Sony Crackle show describes it, “celebrity patriot Rob Riggle, who is mostly known for his legendary ski master movies, has invested all of his money and reputation into an Academy celebrating America's truest art form… personal watercraft riding.”

This is, of course, an exaggeration, because the real Riggle has never starred in a series of “legendary ski master movies,” though it would be awesome if he ever did. But this kind of ridiculous and absurd comedy styling is precisely what the Daily Show alum does best. It’s also what he was going for with Ski Master Academy, which he claims began as a throwaway joke.

Rob Riggle talks Ski Master Academy

Rob Riggle Ski Master Academy Crackle


“The way it originated was a bit to to screw around with people who would always ask me what I was working on. I just got tired of telling people what I was working on, so I started telling people I was thinking about opening a jet ski academy,” says Riggle.  “I would say it with a very serious face, and I wouldn't wink and nod. People would always leave very confused, like they didn't know if I was really going to do that or if I was kidding. I used to get a kick out of it, but then I started wondering if I could build a show around it.”

To repeat Riggle’s own words about the show concept, “it seems so absurd and obnoxious.” And yet because of this, as well as the creative team’s emphasis on improvisation, Ski Master Academy managed to attract a wide array of comedy and acting talent. Fellow improviser Paul Scheer stars, but so does Dermot Mulroney, Eliza Coupe, David Arquette, Cheech Marin and a host of others from all sides of the entertainment spectrum.

“We picked people who we like because life's too short to do it any other way,” Riggle explains. “We picked people that we thought were talented, and that would be enjoyable and fun, and who got what we were going for. We found those people and they got on board. A lot of them are personal friends from projects I've worked on before, or people who had worked with friends of mine.”

“We didn't have a whole lot of money,” he adds, “so we had to call in favors and that's what I did. I called in a lot of favors. I know these people personally and I know they're funny. That's kind of how we went about selecting everyone.”

Like any other television show, Ski Master Academy is more than what it appears to be. For along with Riggle and his fellow actors, there are writers, directors, producers, editors, camera operators, stage hands and countless others whose work is necessary to put something like this together -- no matter how ridiculous it all looks.

Even so, Riggle stresses that the chief goal of the project was to have fun.

“I just want to have some fun. I want to do comedy, I want to laugh, I want to hang out with funny people, and I want to have an enjoyable day of us trying to crack each other up. That's all we did, and I think it came out all right. I'm pretty proud of it.”

Rob Riggle’s Ski Master Academy premieres Thursday on Sony Crackle.

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