RiffTrax Live Night of the Shorts – RiffTrax Trip Report

[adrotate banner=”1″]So Thursday January 20th at 9:30 pm was the latest RiffTrax live performance in conjunction with SFSketchfest. Despite suffering from a cold I wasn’t about to miss this (not to mention the non-refundable tickets!) Live event more loose than the theater shows, which also meant the language was a bit looser and f-bombs were dropped. Please don’t bring your infant children to RiffTrax Live. This was my third time seeing them live, because I’m awesome like that. This particular show featured only Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett, Mike Nelson being away for reasons unknown. There were several special guests, who will be mentioned when they pop up below.

The show consisted of 6 shorts, most of which have been made available previously as digital downloads on RiffTrax.com. I had seen three of them previously, but seeing things in a crowded theater done live is far superior to watching them on a laptop at 1:30 am because insomnia is striking again.

We started off with a RiffTrax Highlight Reel that was awesome but also made me wish they had done a feature film. Oh, well, there is always next year!

How to Buy Food – Do you know how to buy food? Well, now you will! Just remember not to by impulse items like 3 packs of fresh oysters, or lima beans, lima beans, lima beans. Someone likes lima beans.

Mr. Bungle – You might remember the Mr. Bungle short on Pee-Wee’s Playhouse. Basically, an awful-looking puppet teaches young children what not to do, then a very blonde young boy obsesses on not being a Mr. Bungle for the next 15 minutes. Almost every character has blonde hair, which is sort of disturbing. Bill and Kevin were joined by special guest Maria Bamford, who I had never heard of. She’s a comedienne and popular from the audience applause, but I could barely hear anything she said and she left no impression on me.

Drugs are Like That – This awful 1970’s anti-drug short (narrated by Anita Bryant, vocal anti-gay rights crusader whose career was destroyed by backlash to her hate-filled views) features two kids who must have been on drugs putting together a fucked up Lego creation while explaining all the things that drugs are like. They include: babies, the don’t-step-on-a-crack game, swinging on a rope, a lake, playing baseball, and getting into the cookie jar. Kevin and Bill were joined by Cole Stratton and Janet Varney – 2/3rd of the SFSketchfest co-founders (the other guy was the host), who also are featured RiffTrax Presents performers.

Drawing for Beginners: The Rectangle – Kevin and Bill did another solo joint for this film that teaches you how to draw a rectangle. I guess this was before Kennedy told the schools to shape up so we can get people on the moon. Amazingly, you can use rectangles to draw rectangle-like objects. Who knew?

Shake Hands With Danger – Mythbuster’s Adam Savage joined Kevin and Bill for this industrial safety short that was rather gruesome at times. If you see one industrial short where people lose arms, get fingers grinded off, and fall to their deaths this year, then it may be this one.

At Your Fingertips: Grass – The final short was the fabled Grass short that was used on the Reefer Madness theater special. The always funny Paul F. Tompkins was there to help learn all sorts of wonderful, creepy, horrid things you can make with grass.

And we never find out if corn is grass!

Overall, it was fun times, and it is good to see people live again. Cinematic Titanic is coming back in May for a double show, so I’ll be there as well since I won’t be broke like I was the last time they came to town.

Most of these shorts are on RiffTrax.com already, so see them if you want, don’t if you don’t, yada yada yada.

Rifftrax Live – Trip Report

[adrotate banner=”1″]And now my report on seeing RiffTrax Live

Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy, and Bill Corbett, now known as the Film Crew, were set for two appearances in the SF Sketchfest, performing riffing live of an actual movie. I eagerly bought my ticket and prepared for a two hour drive up to San Rafael to catch the first performance on january 16th. The movie was TBA, and could be anything, from the black and white B-movies the Film Crew are preparing to release with commentary on DVD, to the movies trashed by Mike and the gang at rifftrax.com, to an entirely new movie. Arriving in time to get a good seat (and catch a glimpse of the trio before the show started, I was all set for hilarity.

And Hilarity came! After a brief skit in the beginning (where Kevin and Bill pretended to not know they were watching a film and had prepared other performances) the movie was revealed: Daredevil!!! Ben Affleck’s disasterpiece about the blind superhero. Unfortunately, the first attempt at starting the DVD resulted in it beginning in the middle of the film, but the boys recovered as the DVD guy restarted. Much hilarity ensued as Affleck became a favorite target of the riffers’ jokes. The movie, if you have seen it (and I unfortunately had) is a complete mess; with editing problems, terrible dialog, worse overacting, and total disregard for the laws of physics. Some of the best lines involved mentioning “little Ben” and speaking in a deep voice whenever the Kingpin was on screen. Also, there was a mention of Bettendorf, Iowa, and as a former Quad Citian (Rock Island) I enjoyed it very much. The best part was during a fight near some laundry lines outside, and Mike started doing a whole commercial in an announcer voice for Daredevil Brand Laundry Detergent, that kept going and going, putting the audience and the other two riffers in stitches.

After the show, there was a question and answer portion, which was informative. The audience was surprisingly more normal than one would expect for an event like this, with only two notable exceptions. They revealed that the DVD the fans have voted for the most at filmcrewonline.com was Hollywood After Dark, with Rue McClanahan stripping. Also, Kevin said one of the upcoming Rifftrax films almost killed him with how bad it was, and I can’t wait. The group said Battlefield Earth was overexposed, and wouldn’t get riffed on anytime soon, something I agree with, as it is hit as a target far too often to make it interesting at the moment. In addition, they will not be riffing Blood Hook, despite an annoying fan not being quiet about it (MST3Kers Kevin Murphy and Jim Mallon worked on it.)

After the show, the group signed autographs, so I got to meet the trio, albeit briefly, and got all their autographs (Mike and Kevin in the MST3K book, and Bill on the Volume 7 DVD set) which I will treasure always. In all, the experience was very enjoyable, and well worth the $25 ticket price, plus gas and driving time. A stop off in San Francisco to see my girlfriend was also an added bonus. The group performed again the next day in San Francisco proper, and as Mike has expressed that he is working on a tour of Rifftrax, they may soon be coming to an area near you, maybe with another movie or Daredevil itself.

Pictures will be added if I can get the cable for my cell phone to connect to the computer.

RiffTrax Live!

[adrotate banner=”1″]I’m going to see RiffTrax Live on Jan 16th, barring any car trouble (it is a two hour drive to San Francisco) They are performing at the SF Sketchfest.

Also, on the RiffTrax site, all three of the MST3K guys are finally together again, in the newly announce Daredevil Riff. I can’t wait!

Plus, the first DVD in RiffTrax Delux is up, a Three Stooges episode. Autographed as well. Maybe I’ll be able to afford a copy after dropping the dough on the tickets and my car.