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You’d be forgiven if you thought Rob Riggle was merely a funny guy with a penchant for playing men who are, in his words, “large and in charge and going in absolutely the wrong direction.” But the big-screen scene-stealer and Daily Show vet is also a veteran of a different kind: He is a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve who saw action in Liberia, Kosovo and Afghanistan. Since serving overseas, he’s blazed a trail in Hollywood, making indelible comedic turns in The Hangover, Step Brothers and The Other Guys. This year, the 41-year-old wiseacre has three new films to put on his already robust résumé: this month’s Big Miracle, as well as Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax and 21 Jump Street, which both hit theaters next month. With such a surprising backstory, we asked Riggle to tell us what else we might not know about him.

“I swing for the fences every time. If it works, great. If it doesn’t, I try harder. It’s that simple. I’m inspiring, man.”

Big Miracle: Yes, it’s the name of my new movie. But it’s also my new nickname.”

“I studied film and theater in college, and I also had my pilot’s license back then. The Marine Corps offered me a guaranteed flight contract after I graduated. Acting offered me a job waiting tables.

I decided to fly for a while.”

“A lot of comedians are really miserable people. Some of that’s external stuff, but I truly believe our happiness is a choice. I’m the happiest man in the world.”

“I always bring the beer.”