Last night at the State Theater in Minneapolis, Minnesota the guys at Rifftrax (Michael J Nelson, Bill Corbett and Kevin Murphy) held their 20th live broadcast across theaters nationwide. This wasn’t just any live event: it was their 20th live event and they made it a celebration. To mark the milestone, they reunited with their former co-stars from the cult classic series Mystery Science Theater 3000 (MST3K creator Joel Hodgson, Frank Conniff, Trace Beaulieu, Mary Jo Pehl and Bridget Nelson) as well as host of the new iteration of the series Jonah Ray and riffed a bunch of shorts to the delight of all their fans.
The celebration kicked off with Mike, Bill and Kevin riffing the short The Talking Car, about a little boy who like Ebenezer Scrooge before him, gets visited by three sentient talking cars in his sleep who lecture him about pedestrian traffic safety after almost getting hit by a car while telling his friends he was going fishing with his father. While the short itself was bizarre and filled with nightmare fuel, Corbett, Nelson and Murphy brought their A game riffing it to shreds.
Next up in the batting order were Bridget Nelson and Pehl riffing a A Word To the Wives where two friends compare their kitchens and all their appliances, like a gas powered clothes dryer! Bridget Nelson and Pehl did a great job pointing out how passive aggressive the well-to-do friend was to her husband and friend, who was basically a peasant in her well-off friend’s eyes.
The third short of the night, this time riffed by Conniff and Beaulieu was More Dates For Kay. In this short, a social shut-in gets dating advice from her sister when she talks about her similarly private friend who seemed to trick guys into dating her by making them take her books out of her locker, feigning trouble with her Latin homework assignment (this was made in 1952 after all) and becoming part of her high school’s Party Planning Committee. Seeing this made me glad sites like eHarmony and Match exist.
Things were kicked up a notch when Hodgson and newcomer Jonah Ray riffed Americans At Work: Barbers, which showcased the neighborhood barber in all his glory. It also showed the neighborhood beautician who suspicially looked like Lurch from Addams Family. Seeing the old and new guard for MST3K together was a sight to see.
Mike, Corbett and Murphy were at it again riffing Shake Hands With Danger, a 1980 construction site safety short that seemed to be narrated by Johnny Cash singing the most depressing song about work safety. Every time a work place accident occurred like someone falling off a tractor or their arm getting crushed while changing buckets, it was accentuated with a guitar riff. This was the best riff of the night.
After a montage of Rifftrax’s best moments of the past 10 years, things came to an end when everyone came on stage to riff two shorts. First up was Stamp Day For Superman, where the cast of the Adventures Of Superman told children the good merits of buying savings bonds. It was quite the sight to see everyone on stage at once.
After the Man Of Steel was done shilling for the US Treasury, things came to a close with a Rifftrax classically riffed short At Your Fingertips: Grasses that “asks the age old question: Is corn grass?” (See answer here at CornIsGrass.com) In this short, kids learn all the fun things they can do with grass, like making horrific face masks, grass rubbings or decorating boxes with blades of grass. This was like the grand finale at a Fourth Of July fireworks display. Joke after joke after joke just kept coming.
This was one of the better live events they’ve had since their 2015 live riff of The Room. It looked like Michael J Nelson, Corbett and Murphy really were having a blast on stage, interacting with their old co-stars of MST3K. There was a different energy to this live event. It didn’t feel just like another live Rifftrax event, it felt like a celebration of their whole careers.
If you missed this, there will be a rebroadcast in theaters on July 12th. Tickets available here at http://rifftrax.com/MST3Kreunion
The next live Rifftrax event in theaters will be on August 18th when Michael J Nelson, Murphy and Corbett riff the 1961 classic monster movie Mothra!
Tickets available at http://rifftrax.com/Mothra