The Weekly Geek: RiffTrax turns five


Raise your hand if you’re a fan of Mystery Science Theater 3000, the goofiest, greatest series about making fun of crappy movies ever made. Raise your other hand if you liked it so much that you’ve also been following RiffTrax, the web and mp3 enabled version starring the three guys who made the “later years” of MST3K so amazing – Mike Nelson, Bill Corbett and Kevin Murphy. It’s hard to believe, but RiffTrax is now celebrating 5 years of riffing – and the guys have done so with a compilation of some of their most hilarious lines:


No hands up? Watch the video for the basic gist, but here’s the back-story. MST3k was a cult TV series where several dudes (and a couple of dudettes, most prominently writer/performer Mary Jo Pehl) took an awful movie (one per episode) and made fun of every stupid element. In between riffing sessions, they’d do hilarious, Z-grade sketches based on the film of the day. Also – two of the cast were doing all of the above with small robot puppets on their heads. If this doesn’t sound like a riotously good time, you’re clearly not geeky enough to be reading this column.

In its modern iteration – on RiffTrax, most of the cast is back – only now, they record audio shows that sync up along with a DVD or Blu-Ray, so you can choose whichever movies you’d like to trash. They also do live events – which again, tend to be uproariously funny. The video above is hawking the latest – which is a nationwide screening of Jack The Giant Killer on August 17, with riffer commentary included.

I’m going to be a good, honest nerd and let you know that alongside Farscape and (ahem) Xena reruns, Mystery Science Theater episodes were my filmed entertainment of choice in college, to the point where I could (and likely still can) quote many of the riffs by memory.

I’m an avid RiffTrax fan as well – and there is one very special moment that I’m quite sad to see omitted from this little video (a hint – it involves the final scene of Star Wars: Episode 3, a dramatic literal turning of a table, and a mention of banana cream pie), but alas, that’s only a nitpick.

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