Hello Reddit! Bloody Mary? Some breakfast? Mike Nelson here, along with my fellow RiffTrax and MST3K performers Bill Corbett & Kevin Murphy. We are also joined by RiffTrax writers Sean Thomason & Conor Lastowka.

We are here to answer any and all of your questions about RiffTrax, MST3K, our Total Riff-Off special airing tonight on National Geographic, our upcoming RiffTrax Live: Sharknado show, as well as detectives who moved out of Harlem because there were too many detectives, slrpnls, Rowsdower, Moosebaby, Torgo, Vanilla Ice, sigh onions, how to properly set up a room, playing football in an alley in tuxedos, whether corn is grass, what in the name of hell was going on in Super Mario Bros, and anything else you may want to ask.

More info about Total Riff Off: http://rifftrax.com/tv

More info about RiffTrax Live: Sharknado: http://rifftrax.com/live

For Movie Requests: http://rifftrax.com/requests

Proof: https://twitter.com/RiffTrax/status/451009474413621248

UPDATE: It's 12:42 here in Minnesota so we're wrapping it up. Thanks to everyone for the great questions and the kind words, from all of us, Mike, Kevin, Bill, Conor and Sean.

Comments: 1564 • Responses: 24  • Date: 

Pots_And_Pans331 karma

Do you see Netflix as a new way to release Riffs for new movies?

MikeNelson406 karma

We're always trying to find new ways to get the RiffTrax out there, so our vast network of experts (there's a guy with a laptop on a card table) is looking into it.

I know that RiffTrax writer Sean Thomason wants a collaboration because his favorite film, Cool Dog, is available on Netflix. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_CXZ7C_QxVI

ErroneousEric192 karma

Hi Mike, Bill, and Kevin! I have been a fan of MST3K since I was a kid and riffing movies has been a past time of mine ever since.

I've always been curious how rehearsing goes. How do you make it sound so organic when riffing, I imagine it's all about comedic timing. Could you briefly explain the riffing process?

EDIT: too many words

MikeNelson272 karma

Thanks, kind of you to say.

We divide up the movie into sections and each of we writer types comes up with the riffs. Then it's edited and massaged, then we rehearse and change so that we have it to the point that we can relax at the time of recording.

It's all powered by Kevin's home-roasted coffee.

SalmirAeon138 karma

Have you gentlemen ever riffed a movie just to make 1 particular joke?

conor_lastowka178 karma

There is a really terrible movie called Piranha, Piranha that in the style of Cyborg Cop 2 goes the entire movie without...there being a single piranha. There's some bubbles in the water in the last thirty seconds that MAY be piranhas, but this is in doubt. I would love to do this movie just to build anticipation as the clock ticks down and down and there are still no piranhas, but as I recall, it didn't offer much else up besides that notable omission.

MikeNelson244 karma

Conor keeps insisting that we do the completely piranha-free film "Piranha, Piranha". We crunched the numbers, told him, "Conor, if we do this film we will literally have to close down the business and shutter RiffTrax forever."

Conor's reply: "There are no piranhas in the movie -- we HAVE to do it."

ObiWanKarlNobi132 karma

According to the Star Wars Expanded Universe, Chewbacca has a wife and a son, yet he spends all of his time gallivanting around the galaxy with Han Solo, and later the Rebellion. Does your opinion of Chewbacca change knowing that he is an absentee husband and father?

MikeNelson109 karma

I've always hated him so it only confirms my opinion.

But you know who I hate more is his self-pleasuring father.

RadioActiveLobster93 karma

Do you guys still get the chance to just enjoy a movie anymore? What I mean by that is has watching some movies so many times while writing a riff for it or constantly being in that mindset limited your ability to just set back, grab some popcorn and enjoy a good movie.

P.S. Who would win in a fight to the death, Rowsdower or Joe Don Baker?

MikeNelson158 karma

You would think it would kind of ruin one's taste, but oddly, no. Even with movies we riffed like Casablanca and Lord of the Rings, and many other movies that I like, I can still see them and enjoy them.

But I will never, under any imaginable circumstances, be able to enjoy Super Mario Bros.

Whoops, forgot to answer your other question: it's impossible because both of them are immortal.

profanusmaximus92 karma

Firstly, you fine gentlemen are my heroes. I cannot wait for the Sharknado live event and am sure you will be countering that cinematic genius with a Cat-5 Snarknado of your own.

My question for you is this: Have any movies ever beaten you? Have you ever tried to riff a film only to end up fleeing with your tail between your legs?


MikeNelson151 karma

Yes, back in the MST days there was some "lost dinosaur world" movie that we picked, and as I recall was somewhat costly to acquire, that was simply so dull, so talky, so monumentally uninteresting that we agreed to go to the network with our tail between our legs and admit we'd been whipped. Miraculously, they called shortly thereafter and told us they'd lost the rights.

Wish I could remember the title, but saying "lost dinosaur world" movie narrows it down to like 300 films, right?

Greedeater91 karma

What was the easiest movie to do?

kwmurphy310 karma

TWILIGHT. It was like eating candy and washing it down with beer.

MikeNelson226 karma

Yes. Those lines, followed by those juicy pauses...

MikeNelson157 karma

Good question: I'd say the "Twilight" films. Those ridiculous lines followed by those big, juicy pauses.

FragrantBleach72 karma

With Cinematic Titanic coming to a close, any plans to collaborate, even as a one-off?

MikeNelson122 karma

No plans, but you never know.

It might be tough this year as we have four -- yes, FOUR -- live shows planned, starting with Sharknado in July!

mm168862 karma

Kind of a rhetorical question here, but why isn't Pod People a more popular MST3K? How did the masses not love Trumpy more? Everyone just wants to talk about Manos... but really, it's all about the Pod People.


Also - thank you all for being such funny guys and improving so many Saturday mornings during my awkward teenage years. It's very much appreciated.

MikeNelson73 karma

Trumpy IS magic. That's FACT!

It's hard for me to get a grip on which are the most popular, but I do think that one is up there. More so than, say, Red Zone Cuba (which I personally loathe with the heat of a thousand suns.)

everythingisforants59 karma

So, are you guys contractually obligated to reference Nick Nolte in every. single. video or did Mr. Nolte key Mike's car at some point?

Also, I just want to say that I'm an enormous fan, my husband and I reference No Springs (and others) all the time and MST3k has been such a huge influence on my sense of humor. You guys are awesome.

MikeNelson47 karma

Hey, we get through the occasional short without a Nolte! (I think, don't hold me to that.)

Thanks for the kind words.

SonOfTomServo44 karma

You get a lot of questions about your favorite movie you've riffed, but what about your favorite short? And why is it A Date with Your Family?

Also: Steve?

MikeNelson53 karma

It's perverse on my part, but my favorite short (which is a pretty long short) is Setting up a Room. It's two kindergarten teachers doing exactly what the title implies. http://www.rifftrax.com/shorts/setting-up-room

Close 2nd, David and Hazel. http://www.rifftrax.com/shorts/david-and-hazel-story-communication

captainmagictrousers43 karma

Have any actors or directors gotten upset with you guys for mocking their films?

MikeNelson62 karma

Not that we've heard. We've actually discovered a lot of good sports who enjoyed the treatment. Notably, Rod and Natalie (Nathalie? Nattalee?) from Birdemic, and some of the cast of Starship Troopers.

linconpunch41 karma

Do you have plans to do any more TV spots like the upcoming Nat-Geo riffs?

MikeNelson67 karma

Nothing solid, but we'd love to do more.

Though I finally have to accept that my variety show on ice with marionettes is never going to happen.

MGV936 karma

Bloody Mary? breakfast? John boy? chief? McCloud!?

MikeNelson26 karma


Mrthereverend33 karma


MikeNelson54 karma


Braden073229 karma

Hey RiffTrax guys and especially Mike. Just wanted to thank you guys for all the years of laughs and for entertaining me and my best friend Darren since we were kids. Unfortunately he passed away tragically this last year, but I know he is still watching from the other side. You guys made us laugh harder and longer than anything else in the world and you have no idea how much that time meant to me now that I've lost my friend. Thank you guys so much and keep up the fantastic work.

MikeNelson30 karma

Sincere condolences. I'm very touched by your words, thanks.

mctacoflurry29 karma

Just want to say thanks for all you've guys have done in making me laugh.

What was the absolute worst/dullest movie that you guys have riffed for Rifftrax?

MikeNelson74 karma

Because it's freshest in my mind I'd say Super Mario Bros. is the worst. But if you sat me down and made me watch that second Transformers movie I'm pretty sure I'd gladly leap out the 10th story window.

turkeylol26 karma

Do you guys actually like the Harry Potter films?

Thanks for all the laughs, I love your commentaries :)

MikeNelson44 karma

I never got into Harry Potter, so I wouldn't say I'm a fan, but I certainly get their appeal and they're probably among the better films we've done.

Though they're no Transformers movies ;)

ecb326 karma

I hate to be presumptuous, but will we ever see a Dark Knight rises Riff?

I ask because I immediately thought of you guys when I first heard "WHERE'S THE TRIGGER?!"

MikeNelson33 karma

No immediate plans but I suspect we'll eventually get around to it.

revengeofthesmith21 karma

Do you approach writing a Riff for a horrible movie like 'Manos Hands of Fate' differently from a decent film like 'The Avengers?' Is one quality of film easier/harder?

MikeNelson34 karma

Yeah, I think we naturally fit the tone of the riffs to the quality. Though even with terrible movies we try to keep things pretty light -- it's probably not that entertaining to listen to bitter people grouse about a movie.

That said, there are times where we've lost it. (Transformers, Super Mario Bros.)

Pots_And_Pans17 karma

Have you guys ever considered riffing something besides movies? The Lost Pilot was fantastic, are there more TV shows waiting to be riffed? Or even something like sports events or infomercials?

ixijimixi41 karma

"And here comes President Kennedy's motorcade..."

MikeNelson33 karma

Aha! Ask, receive. http://rifftrax.com/tv

fisticuffsmanship3 karma

As a big fan of the show ever since I was a kid i want to say thanks for doing this and for all the laughs over the years. I think the first joke i heard was asking Jan in the pan if she makes her own gravy and I knew your brand of humor was for me. My question is about the writing you do outside of rifftrax. Where do you guys come up with the inspiration to do books about giant death rats, taking a year to watch movies everyday, or even about Eddie Murphy as a spaceship full of little people? Also Kevin, how strange was it to lug around all that projection stuff and film everywhere?

MikeNelson5 karma

Thanks, nice of you to say.

Regarding outside projects, it is really tough to do because the writing for RiffTrax is very, very time consuming and my tiny brain has so little room for much else.