The actor-comedian took in two turtles that once belonged to his niece

By Reagan Alexander
Updated July 15, 2010 05:00 PM

Working in the film industry can sometimes be grueling work. Some actors research their roles for months before filming, honing their craft by immersing themselves in the lives of the characters they bring to the big screen. For actor-comedian Craig Robinson, who tackled the role of a dog groomer in the comedy Hot Tub Time Machine earlier this year, preparation was a lot less arduous.

“I just walked in, and shoved my hand up the dog’s ‘what,’ ” he joked with “I actually had to go in and play with the dog a little bit, but that’s all.”

And while his hosting duties on Last Comic Standing have proved that he can man a mic, don’t expect him to throw on a tux and emcee the Westminster Dog Show anytime soon. There are dog people, and there are cat people. Robinson just happens to belong to a smaller, more specific niche of animal lover: He’s a turtle guy, although he never set out to be.

“I have two, but they’re actually my nieces,” the actor explains. “She couldn’t take them on the plane because of the salmonella scare. I had to become their father, and this happened like, five years ago.”

And so a family was born, and Robinson opted to keep the names his niece had bestowed on his cold-blooded charges, Haag and Dazs, in honor of the ice cream. The way of the turtle suits the actor’s laid back attitude. “They are chill,” he said while attending the Playboy Sports Dream Poker Party earlier this week. “I can go away for a couple of weeks, and they’re fine.”

But turtle ownership isn’t always wanting for excitement, as Robinson found out one day after returning home from a trip. “They did escape one time, they found a way to climb out,” he said. “I found one of them three weeks later, and the other one four weeks later, but I actually thought at first that someone had broken in and stolen my turtles.”