Ten years of RiffTrax and twenty live shows have led up to a major anniversary celebration, as the RiffTrax crew reunited with their friends and colleagues from “Mystery Science Theater 3000” for the latest RiffTrax: Live event. Following a successful Kickstarter, and on the tails of the MST3K revival Kickstarter, the live show was broadcast to theaters around the country.
While RiffTrax itself features MST3K alumni Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy, and Bill Corbett, they pulled out all the stops to bring back all their old friends. Joel Hodgson, the original host, returned with Jonah Ray, who will be the new test subject in the revived “Mystery Science Theater.” Trace Beaulieu and Frank Conniff, who played the Mads (Dr. Clayton Forrester and TV’s Frank) reunited, along with Mary Jo Pehl, who took over the mad scientist position as Dr. Forrester’s mother, Pearl. Last but certainly not least, there was Bridget Nelson, who played several characters in MST3K, and has contributed several RiffTrax of her own to the site.
It was a night full of shorts, typically the cheesy educational shorts from decades past. During a previous interview, Trace, Kevin, and Bill all expressed their love of the cheesy old PSA movies where everyday objects would be anthropomorphized, and that’s what they began with, kicking things off with “The Talking Car,” in which cars with superimposed animated eyes and mouths berated a child about safely crossing the street.
Suffice to say, it was a great start to the night.
One by one, the riffers took to the stage, taking on all sorts of shorts. There were shorts about construction safety, buying a house for a new kitchen, barbers and beauticians, and so much more, and each riffer was on the top of his or her game. Trace and Frank maintained the same comedic chemistry they had all those years ago as mad scientist and assistant, Mary Jo and Bridget were quick and witty with every riff, and when Joel and Jonah took the stage, Joel showed that his comedic wit has remained as sharp as ever, while Jonah proved that the future of “Mystery Science Theater 3000” is safe in his hands.
Of course, the pre-show entertainment was as good as always, with several humorous bits of “trivia.” A new addition were “Ten Years of RiffTrax” screens, providing important information such as Disembaudio (the voice that helps viewers sync their riffs and movies) being nude the entire time.
The cast also took some time to acknowledge all the cosplayers in the crowd, and even in the audiences watching the stream from theaters. In my theater, Baker Street Cosplay was watching in his Satellite of Love jumpsuit, accompanied by his homemade Tom Servo. RiffTrax held a cosplay contest before the show, taking submissions from fans over the internet, and the prize went to a fan in an impressive Tom Servo dress.
The night concluded with all the riffers taking stage to take on an old Superman PSA about buying stamps, and a classic “At Your Fingertips” video (the ever-thrilling subject this time was… grass). With the night concluding, audiences left already marking their calendars for the next RiffTrax Live event, coming in August when they take on “Mothra.”
RiffTrax Live events are always a thrill to watch, and this one was a must-see for any fans of RiffTrax and MST3K. Seeing the cast members, old and new, reuniting on stage (or uniting for the first time in Jonah’s case) was a joy, and now that it’s over, I’m already looking forward to more from RiffTrax and the revived “Mystery Science Theater.”
If you missed it, the show will be broadcast again on Tuesday, July 12.