As a lifelong MSTie, I’ve been waiting for this day for what feels like an eternity and seemed like a pipe dream—a (basically) full cast reunion and all-hands-on-deck riffapallooza. And man did it deliver.
Last night, at Minneapolis’s State Theater, all three hosts (Joel Hodgson, Mike Nelson and new MST3K host Jonah Ray), both Crow T. Robots (Trace Beaulieu, who was also Dr. Forrester, and Bill Corbett), the second but eternal Tom Servo (Kevin Murphy) as well as Frank Conniff (TV’s Frank) Mary Jo Pehl (Pearl Forrester) and Bridget Nelson (many characters but most notably the generally confusing Mr. B Natural) came together to take on several short films. This Rifftrax Live event was broadcast nationwide through Fathom Events, but those who missed out will get another chance on July 12.
And you should take that chance. You really should.
I could talk about how funny it was, how hilariously awkward the shorts were, how the Satellite of Love is safe in Jonah Ray’s bejumpsuited hands. But mostly, for me, it was the beauty of these people, my comedy heroes since I was a kid, never stopping. They’ve kept circulating the tapes, the riffs and each other. There may be factions, there may be other projects, hell, there may even be bad blood at times. But the cowtown puppet show lives on—they’ve kept it alive. And for this one event, they all sat down, watched terrible-wonderful educational short films over and over again, pausing and rewinding with tedious repetition, and created something new. Just for us. Just for the fans for whom this show never had to end, because we’ve had Rifftrax and Cinematic Titanic and Twitter and now a whole new series. How many other shows can say that?
Nerdy, culty shows like this one, they mean everything to their fandoms. We’ve made friends and created whole subcultures and tiny worlds dedicated to the love of this specific art. Good artists know that, they understand the very strange and wonderful connection the fans experience. The MST3K crew? They get it. And they keep on giving us more. This was a really special gift and moment. And I’m glad I got to be there.
Thank you. “And thank Joe Don Baker.”