Rifftrax Presents Night of the Shorts 4: Riffizens on Patrol


From We Heart Music

Rifftrax Presents Night of the Shorts 4: Riffizens on Patrol
Monday, January 28, 2013

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What happened after Mystery Science Theater 3000 disappeared from television? In geek communities it never quite went away, but the men behind the robots peanut gallery, Michael Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett went on to found RiffTrax. Expanding the commentary, error shaming and dialog improvements MST3K used on B movies, RiffTrax opened the SF Sketchfest at the Castro Theater with a night of seven short “films” they improved on with various comedy guests.

First up was “Welcome Back Norman”, a short about a man who is just having a horrible time trying to leave an airport. If his day couldn’t get any worse that it appeared on film, he’s lucky he didn’t hear the RiffTrax crew’s comments on his luggage return etiquette and what he might potentially be carrying in his baggage.

Next, Nelson, Murphy and Corbett were joined by Cole Stratton (Pop My Culture Podcast) and Janet Varney (The Legend of Korra) to verbally abuse one of the strangest exercise videos for children ever made, “Perk! Pop! Sprinkle!” When children are encouraged to exercise by imitating various household objects, there is a also fair amount of humor carried in our nostalgia watching obsolete housewares paired with seventies phys-ed philosophy.

Third, we were joined by Kevin McDonald of Kids in the Hall for a 1976 Encyclopedia Britannica video “Choaking: To Save a Life.” Mustached men giving lessons on the Heimlich maneuver while you’re sitting the Castro Theater..well, it doesn’t get much more gay. 1949’s “Cooking Terms”, a PSA for young housewives that brought back memories of Amelia Bedelia.

Adam Savage (Mythbusters) joining the commentary on “More Dangerous than Dynamite” a PSA warning women to use professional dry cleaners and not, oh, wash their clothes in gasoline at home and Kristin Schaal (30 Rock, Flight of the Conchords) came out for an analysis of a scary self-esteem film “If Mirrors Could Speak” that she rightfully identified as “I’m a jugglo and I’m proud of it”.

Closing the set was a strange educational craft film for kids “At Your Fingertips: Cylnders”. THe RiffTrax team was joined by Paul F Tompkins (Best Week Ever) to skewer the crappy proto-upcycling film showing the various ways you can decorate with, well, cylindrical shaped household objects.

Now, part of the fun of MST3K and RIffTrax is the audience is hearing the witty things they wish they could have said to make their friends laugh. Luckily the audience was absent of such hecklers, so if you’d like to recreate this night at home I now present you with a few links to the original shorts to practice your own commentary.


Night of the Shorts IV at The Castro Theater, San Francisco (01/24/13)

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