Tuesday night June 28th – It was a night we’ve been talking about at NEOZAZ for a few months now. It was the long awaited RiffTrax live event “The MST3K Reunion Show”. The major players of MST3K all back together on one stage: Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy, Bill Corbett, Bridget Nelson, Mary Jo Pehl, Trace Beaulieu, Frank Conniff, the new blood of the upcoming return of MST3K Jonah Ray, and the creator of the iconic series himself, Joel Hodgson.
It was the celebration and party movie riffing fans dreamt of, and though I was 1500 miles away from the live show, I could still feel the energy and the excitement of what was about to happen.
The party started with the RiffTrax core, Mike, Kevin and Bill, as they lent their brand of humor to one of the most visually bizarre shorts to date “The Talking Car”. A young boy is banned from a fishing trip for running out in front of traffic. With the help of some roughly animated faces drawn over 3 cars, the boy learns the true spirit of safety in his delirium dream state. At this point of the show I developed a legitimate fear – I wasn’t sure I have the physical stamina to continue laughing as hard through out the whole event as I did in this open short.
Next it was time for the crown queens of movie riffing to take the stage. Bridget Nelson and Mary Jo Pehl turned the heavy handed, passive aggressive appliance pitch short “A Word to the Wives” into possibly my favorite performance of the night. The 15 minute long sales pitch for the American Gas Company played as the joke flew across the screen at the absurdness of the short making this segment a hysterical and incredibly entertaining performance.
“The Mads” themselves took over at this point. Trace Beaulieu and Frank Conniff brought us the dating advice, nay-instructional video, “More Dates for Kay”. As the story of the young woman trying to land 98 percent of the boys in her school unfolded, we laughed hysterically with and at the riffs as we cautiously waited to see what possible borderline inappropriate joke may spawn from the jaw dropping story on the screen.
The trio of RiffTrax returned to the stage to perform their highly popular “Shake Hands with Danger”, a roughly produced safety film form Caterpillar with even rougher “special effects”. This is a performance I’ve not seen before but have heard of and knew of its popularity. I was excited to hear this title announced and was set in for the ride. The performance did not disappoint, it lived up to its reputation and then some.
At this point in the show it was time for the Creator to bring his new protégé to the stage. Joel Hodgeson and Johan Ray presented us with “Barbers and Beauticians”. A fun, if not sexiest short that answered the age old question “how many cigarettes does it take a woman to get her hair done?” The answer is “three” if you were wondering. This pairing of the original Satellite of Love test subject with the new soon to be seen test subject was a great introduction and precursor to the new age of MST3K. Joel was right on form. Jonah seemed a touch nervous and a lot excited, but to me that confirmed he was a great choice for the new show – he’s obviously a fan and has the humor to bring show back to the fans.
There’s a short moment given to catch our breath but then the entire gang – Mike, Kevin, Bill, Bridget, Mary Jo, Trace, Frank, Jonah and Joel – take the stage and hit us with “Riff-a-Palooza”. Starting with “Stamp Day for Superman”, there’s barely a second of silence in the theater as the jokes come fast and furious.
And just when the party is almost about to wind down, it picks back up one more time for the encore-esgue riff of “Grasses”. This ends the party on a high note that doesn’t seem likely to be touched anytime soon. The energy was high, the laughs were loud, and everyone watching all over the country just got everything they were hoping for.
The RiffTrax MST3K Reunion was the perfect fire starter for the next age of Mystery Science Theater 3000. The fans have already proven they want it, now after getting a huge taste of what to expect we almost need it.
Thank you everyone from the Mystery Science Theater 3000 and RiffTrax family for an amazing event. As a fan of all involved my expectations sometimes felt unattainably high, but they were met and even exceeded. It was the biggest and greatest RiffTrax/MST3K Party ever thrown, and I was there!
Fathom Events will be presenting the encore screen of Rifftrax Live: MST3K Reunion on Tuesday July 12th. Click here for tickets and more information.