[UPDATE IV: It's Friday June 4. I answered some questions yesterday but have more time today, at least a few hours. I'll have to keep my answers to questions asked on the original AMA day on Wednesday, but that's still most of 'em. If I don't answer it MIGHT be because your question - or one very similar - was answered elsewhere in this big thread? Maybe look it over if so.

If you have any interest in helping to keep our RINGHEADS podcast get through this year (but not beyond!), please see my carnival barker spiel directly below in Update III.

Page link:


Anyway, thanks so much to everyone for your interest, your kind words, and your great questions. I'm sincerely grateful for it all!

[UPDATE III: I am stopping for today (June 2). I'll try to catch up on questions over the next few days, though. There's a lot of them, which is awesome, thank you for the interest! But I think that high volume will make it necessary to stop with questions asked this day, Wed. 6/2/2021, and not beyond that.

In the meantime, please excuse the shameless pitch, but if you can support RINGHEADS on Patreon, I'd really appreciate it. Link right here:


To make the case for supporting us on Patreon:

1) It's only 4 bucks per month, and that will get you lots of exclusive Patreon content: blog posts, extra video episodes (also in podcast form if we get sufficient Patreon support), jokes, Q & A time, etc.

2) RINGHEADS will definitely not run past 2021. How long into 2021 we go depends on a lot of factors, including the financial support. But we have no intention of keeping this podcast going indefinitely! My point being: we'd only need your support for a limited time, not... y'know, forever.

3) It's never been our goal to make a big profit, or even ANY profit, from this niche podcast. But we can't operate from a continuing loss for long. Right now we're quite short of the money needed to pay the people who help us make this podcast (editors, etc.) anything even close to what they really should get paid. If we don't hit something like $500 / month soon, we'll have to end the podcast early.

4) Everyone is still very welcome to listen on other platforms -- right now it's Pocket Casts, Spotify, that ol' dinosaur Libsyn, and soon, hopefully, Apple. (They've been changing their whole system this month, so it's been a mess - but they say they'll be sorted out soon) But supporting us on Patreon is the only way to ensure that we can keep going.

Sorry for the sales job, I hate doing that stuff. But still thought it worth personally asking you. Thank you!

  • Bill ]

Hi Reddit pals, Bill Corbett here to talk about RINGHEADS, my new podcast. It’s a limited-run series (for his year only), where my RiffTrax colleague Sean Thomason and I delve too greedily and too deep into LORD OF THE RINGS and J.R.R. Tolkien in general. We’re approaching the 20th anniversary (!) of the first of the trilogy directed by Peter Jackson, FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING in 2001. Sean and I share a love of the movies, but no particular reverence, so this is not a super-serious explainer podcast. It’s two professional clowns who were trying to get through the pandemic lockdown and pretty much dared each other to read THE SILMARILLION. We’re not experts. They do exist out there and we’re not them! This podcast is about us trying to understand this dense, detailed universe created by Tolkien while keeping it light and full of dumb jokes. A combination of love and frustration and wisecracks. Anyway, ask away! I’ll be here for the next few hours, and will also come back later this afternoon to answer questions I missed.

RINGHEADS: https://www.patreon.com/ringheads



[UPDATE, SEVERAL HOURS LATER: I have to go attend to some others things for the next few hours, including record a new episode of RINGHEADS. I'll be back later to answer whatever questions are still unanswered. Thanks for your time, interest, and patience. I'm having a blast. See you in a bit! -- BC]

[UPDATE II: I am back, babies. Ready to dive into your questions again! FYI my RiffTrax colleague and Ringheads co-host Sean Thomason is also in the comments, talkin' Tolkien.]

Comments: 597 • Responses: 77  • Date: 

RockFourFour161 karma

Hi Bill. I'm a member of several MST3K and Rifftrax fan groups on Facebook. Everyone's dying to know: Is corn grass?

BillCorbett160 karma

I answered this for posterity approx. eight years ago. Enjoy!


RockFourFour69 karma

Thanks for the update. While I was unaware of your previous answer, it is good to know that the status of corn as grass has not changed.

BillCorbett78 karma

It may never change but if it somehow DOES, I will keep the world posted!

CrashMK146 karma

You guess are famous for riffing bad movies, but you’ve also riffed movies general considered to be good like Jaws and the Lord of the Rings trilogy. What is it that makes a movie good for riffing, outside of quality?

BillCorbett219 karma

Great question! Lots of factors but I'd say the main ones are:

- A sense that there is room for jokes? Like, not non-stop dialogue. We do steamroll over dialogue from time to time but if the chatter is too relentless it just feels wrong, like we're fighting it.

- Some subject matter / themes might be too genuinely painful. E.g. historical movies about actual horrors like SCHINDLER'S LIST or HOTEL RWANDA. Or super-gruesome torture porn stuff (though Kevin and I did the first SAW for RiffTrax, we weren't super inclined to go back for more.

- Movies that are SO technically horrible that it might become a trial for the audience. We have stretched and broken that rule at times, but we try to avoid it unless the movie seems like it will make for a genuinely funny riff despite that.

- Movies that are so boring that even with jokes, everyone will want to jump out a window.

stonerwithaspergers104 karma

My name is Blake. I am 34 years old. I am autistic. I also have ocd, adhd, anxiety, and severe ptsd. I was abused and tortured every day of my life growing up. I had no friends. I was always alone. However, MST3K was always on Comedy Central or the Sci Fi channel and I would watch every episode and forget my problems. To this day, I can’t leave my house without having a panic attack but I go to see almost every Rifftrax live showing at the theaters. When I feel depressed and alone, I put on an episode of MST3K or Rifftrax. Thank you and the rest of the team for saving my life. Do you think the Starship Troopers live Rifftrax will ever be available to stream?

BillCorbett83 karma

Hi Blake, I am so so sorry for the hard road you were put on. You've suffered way too much. But I'm very glad to hear that RiffTrax and MST3K has given you some fun and comfort. Hang in there, you are loved.

Re Starship Troopers, I'd say that unfortunately the odds are not great. We strike specific deals to get some popular films, and they're often a lot more restrictive than we'd like. But some movies are still worth it, like Starship Troopers. And who knows? Maybe someday events will make it possible to stream. Stranger stuff has happened.

dcm-moz98 karma

Hi Bill, is Sauron the worst strategic ruler in all of Middle Earth history? He created rings to rule with and someone came along and just cut his finger off. Then a freakin' hobbit threw that same ring in a volcano. Done and dusted. That's all it takes? How did he ever expect to rule the whole land with just jewelry?

BillCorbett131 karma

Yeah, very good points. But I feel like Melkor / Morgoth might have even been worse? He was a hot mess and basically a tantrum-throwing toddler, and he mostly got away with stuff for a long time because his fellow gods living on Arda just didn't have the interest in following through. Big ol' MEH from them.

You're right about Sauron though. Both he and Melkor were all-seeing, super-powerful embodiments of evil, and also absolute dopes.

smarmy_jerkface89 karma

With the recent "re-discovery" of you in the Sherlock Holmes game, are there any more CD-ROM games we can experience you in?

BillCorbett93 karma

Hahaha no, unless they were filmed when I was sleeping or in captivity / mind wiped later.

I do play three separate roles in the Sherlock games though, fwiw. And my various British accents were all over the road - at least that's what I hear now. I tried to step it up when we created Brian Guy for MST3K.

iamnotoriginal33 karma

You keep typing Brian Guy and I'm questioning everything I know. Maybe the brain is named Brian?

BillCorbett53 karma

uh... yeah. I like that explanation, not that I'm a dummy who keeps making the same typos.

RickRussellTX11 karma

Asking the important questions!

BillCorbett16 karma

Crucial stuff!!

brianlonano71 karma

Hi Bill. In the MST3K Episode "Prince of Space", was the "Dog and Bear" sketch referencing something by William Faulkner? I was wondering if you could let me know what the inspiration behind the Dog and Bear sketch was? Thank you.

BillCorbett72 karma

Yes it is! And IIRC it was written by Paul Schersten aka Paul Chaplin, "The man with two names."

savedbythehellfire22 karma

Your weapons have no effect on me

BillCorbett24 karma

You're probably right.

RickRussellTX10 karma

Maybe a reference to Jack London? If I remember, the dog in The Call of the Wild hunts a bear.

BillCorbett28 karma

Hmm, maybe? But I think I remember Paul saying it was based at least in part on Faulkner. We may be at the limits of my memory bank capacity.

Werezompire54 karma

If you could invite any character from LotR or the Silmarillion onto Rifftrax as a guest riffer, who would you pick?

BillCorbett92 karma

Gollum. The insane chaotic energy would be sublime.

weird_witha_beard47 karma

As everyone's favorite character in the trilogy, Samwise would probably be awful at Riff Trax. "Gee, Mr Corbett, why would you have to go and say a thing like that? You know they're only trying their best"

BillCorbett18 karma


EnzianMusic53 karma

Hi Bill, longtime MSTie like most others here. Two questions:

  1. Was the Observer based on any particular character or purely a Best Brains invention?
  2. (Sorry if this is an intrusive question) Given what I've heard about Mike's political leanings, is it ever difficult working together?

Thanks for all the laughs over the years!

BillCorbett130 karma

1) Observer was originally based on a mashup of Star Trek TOS characters that Kirk and co. encountered. And similar ones from ST: TNG. But early on, I was also basing Brian Guy on the phenomenon of dignified British stage actors who went into movies (like in a lot of the movies we riffed -- MST3K's The Mole People comes to mind) and found themselves cast as goofy aliens, often with makeup and prosthetics on their faces. (Also perfectly dealt with in GALAXY QUEST, with Alan Rickman's character.)

2) I won't get too into this toooo much out of respect for Mike and my personal friendship and professional (?) partnership, but I think he'd agree with this -- we have had some arguments and tense moments over the years re politics. But nothing that overwhelmed the partnership. It's a tricky thing to balance when beloved people in your life are way on another side of political issues, but I'm familiar with it from my very conservative family. Re Mike, he is a wonderful person and a ton of fun to hang around with, and I have limitless respect, even awe, for his many talents. And we've been friends / partners a long time. It's worth riding out the rocky parts, and there aren't that many. There ARE extreme political (and other) viewpoints that I'm guessing neither Mike or I could ride out, but neither of us feel the other is there.

mjh21541 karma

I think your differing views is probably what led to one of my favorite things with your riffing. When you guys are together, any political riffs feel lighthearted and humorous. I've noticed a lot of other riffers do more political commentary and it is often just cruel and preachy. They assume they are preaching to their choir and don't even try to make the riffs funny.

Edit: Just to hijack my own comment, since I'll probably never have the opportunity to say this to you elsewhere, thank you for all the years of entertainment. You've touched the world in more than just naughty ways, thanks!

BillCorbett26 karma

aww thanks

PapaNurgle46 karma

What's your favorite non-animated film that stars an animal?

BillCorbett63 karma

Hmmm, that's gotta be Moose Baby.

bmbreath46 karma

Do you have a "normal" job as well? Or are you able to support yourself through your entertainment career. I love what you do and would be happy if you were able to support yourself doing this but it's also just such a niche entertainment style. Thanks and good luck with your new venture.

BillCorbett65 karma

I've been lucky enough to support myself through my entertainment / arts work for the last few decades. But before that, oh brother. Constantly took on jobs, all kinds.

And thanks for the good wishes! Back at ya.

SnooDoubts145144 karma

Hey Bill, Huge fan. I gotta ask. What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?

BillCorbett83 karma


majorjoe2338 karma

Any chance you might be Joel’s Crow again for his season 13 MST3K episodes, ala the MIGIZI shorts you did with Joel and J Elvis?

BillCorbett134 karma

Joel opened the door to having all the various past and present Crows switch in and out at points, just generally speaking. We talked about it and while I appreciated the consideration, I respectfully passed. I had an amazingly privileged run on the original MST3k, where I was gifted with being a creative partner with all the vets there right from the get-go, got to write, got to be Crow, got a originate a silly Mad character, and just had a blast. I did some cameos in the rebooted Netflix show a few years ago and it was fun, and I love all the new cast, but kinda felt like I was a person out of time. Like a guy who graduated high school years ago hanging around. Doing the benefit for MIGIZI felt right for a good cause, and getting to work with Joel and J. Elvis (who's a buddy) was cool. But it also felt right to leave it there rather than doing more cameos in a show that has moved on.

davvvd36 karma

Recommendations for good places to eat in Minneapolis?

BillCorbett62 karma

Ohhh, so many! It's gotten to be a great food town. Awesome little Thai, Vietnamese, Mexican places tucked away in strip malls.

But I'd start with the restaurants created by my friend Ann Kim. Ann used to be an actor, she was great in a play of mine, but she decided one day to become a pizza expert. Amazing person, so talented, and has opened three other restaurants (all quite different!) since then.

Also follow whatever my pal Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl has to say about local food and restaurants. Brilliant writer, to boot. Magazine writing HERE. Twitter: deardara

matthiastrek35 karma

Hey Bill! Huge fan of MST3K and RiffTrax and I'm looking forward to your new podcast! Do you have a favorite riff that you wrote or one that one of the other MST3K/RT staff wrote?

BillCorbett143 karma

It's cheap and obvious comedy, but the favorite one I wrote was for MST3K Titanic excerpt, later re-used in the RiffTrax riff of the whole movie. The Captain of the Titanic is standing proudly on deck after the ship just launches, looking into the beautiful, promising horizon, and says: "I'm gonna sink this bitch."

Cool connection to the Ringheads podcast: the actor who played the Titanic captain was none other than Bernard Hill, who played King Théoden of Rohan in the LOTR movies.

Bec-C-Art34 karma

Hi Bill! I've always been curious - what was your favorite movie to riff on/which one was the most memorable for you?

BillCorbett102 karma

We have riffed some legit good or kinda-good movies that I enjoyed watching just for their own virtues. But as for not-great (?) movies -- I might answer this differently when asked some other time, but what pops up in my head right now is the MST3k movie JACK FROST. It was great goofy fun and I loved seeing early 60s Soviet filmmakers give us a taste of their own Russian folktales.

brocktoon200034 karma

James Nguyen, Neil Breen, or Tommy Wiseau. Who would you choose to direct the biopic of your life?

BillCorbett53 karma

Man, that's a tough choice. But I'd have to go with Tommy! They all have... interesting, ahem. worldviews. Tommy's is the one I'd most like to see applied to my life, though. Bonus: he shaves his ample mane of black hair and plays me himself. Swoon!

CorndogCollector29 karma

Any chance of a Neil Breen x Rifftrax crossover?

BillCorbett76 karma

Haha, we approached Mr. Breen and he explicitly told us hell no, I will sue you to smithereens. But - we hope to find some way in time, even if it's just an MP3 commentary.

mfgrady29 karma

Huge fan Bill.

This is more of a Kevin question hope you don't mind. Does Kevin make all of the awesome ballads he sings during riffs or is it a joint effort with the writing staff?

BillCorbett45 karma

Writing them is a joint effort, singing them often takes Kevin's incredible voice and talent.

Btu Kevin does do most of the work writing and producing extra songs for Rifftrax, e.g. for Kickstarter rewards and occasional live show songs based on the movies riffed.

joshflowers25 karma

Love the fun dive into Lord of the Rings on your podcast, Ringheads. If you could ask Tolkien one question, what would it be?

BillCorbett62 karma

I think I'd ask J.R.R. why the Ainur (the gods incarnated on his universe's earth) were such unhelpful slackers while Middle Earth was repeatedly tormented by their own fellow fallen gods. What a bunch of holy slugs!

r0achBCR24 karma

You’re my favorite Crow (an incredible feat) and one of the most tolerable accounts on Twitter (a near impossible accomplishment), one of my role models for comedians that still exhibit empathy. Simple question: what has been your favorite line to read on Tigtone?

To everyone else: watch Tigtone

savedbythehellfire20 karma

I’m different!!!!!

BillCorbett20 karma

Hey, me too!

BillCorbett16 karma

Aww thanks so much.

I love doing Tigtone, so much. Love the guys who make it. And I agree, watch it! We're not sure at present if there will be more reasons.

Not sure I can ID a favorite line but in general, I loved being a two-headed KingQueen along with Lucy Davis. Especially when the King died and came back as an hallucination, and announced it so proudly: link HERE.

weird_witha_beard5 karma

if there will be more reasons

Who needs more reasons to watch than the fact that you love the guys who made it!

BillCorbett7 karma

haha oops, typo. meant to say "seasons."

frostyfire_19 karma

Huge fan, Bill. Thanks for the AMA. Are there any Riffs you've done in the past that you DEFINITELY would not do today?

BillCorbett83 karma

Plenty. I don't have any specific examples in mind, but generally speaking -- any riff that got too close to mocking women, or gay people, and / or focusing too much on how an otherwise innocent actor looked physically.

All the original MST3k cast have been around a long time, so most of us had some viewpoints / bad habits that came with the times we grew up in. For most part, we have moved ahead with the times without (maybe just speaking personally) it being a burden at all. I am proud of all of us for not sticking with hacky, sorta rancid old jokes. It's easy but some comedians feel like they're being castrated or something if they can't spew the same stuff they did 40 years ago and be less than universally beloved for it. They're aging spoiled brats.

RobertSCatnamara19 karma

@BillCorbett I love how MST3K/rifftrax showcases the acting talents of Joe Estevez, preserving his onscreen presence and acting prowess for posterity. We need more discount Martin Sheen.

Was there any desire in the days of MST3K to riff any Steven Segal films? Are there riffs in progress for Steven Segal films?

A riffed version of the Steven Segal film “On Deadly Ground” would be a cinematic masterpiece. Please keep up the good work with Rifftrax!!!!!

BillCorbett24 karma

It's hard not to love Joe Estevez, he's provided us with such joy! We have another title with him coming up soon.

Re Steven Seagal movies: we were discussing one the other day and and will try to get rights. I hope it happens.

KingEuronIIIGreyjoy18 karma

Hi Bill, big fan. I remember Kevin got a huge banner that said "I Hate Tom Servo's New Voice" (or something like that) when he took over the part. Did you get any flak for taking over Crow, or were people more receptive? I've always thought that you and Trace both nailed the character.

BillCorbett28 karma

I was extremely lucky, and fans were very very kind in general. And since they already went though not only a Servo voice switch, but a Joel --> Mike switch plus various other changes, I think people learned to roll with it. Never got much (or any?) flak that I can recall.

Trace was - and still is - brilliant. I was stepping in the shows of an amazing performer who I admired greatly, so I was intimidated by that. And my puppeting skills really stunk at first. All that said, I found fans to be really understanding and pretty awesome about it all.

Oudeis1617 karma

What are you planning for your next every-seven-years voice change?

BillCorbett37 karma

Gonna go full Buddy Hackett!

4a4a16 karma

Bill, do you think that Tom Bombadil and Goldberry might actually be the Ainur Aulë and Yavanna?

BillCorbett24 karma

Man, there's something fun theories about what those guys are. Ultimately I think Tolkien was telling the truth when he said he didn't really know how they fit into the world, that it's a mystery to us AND him.

Sean and I are gonna do an upcoming Patreon-only video about Bombadil: What The Hell Is He?

ForeverTimely707015 karma

Hey Bill, what are your thoughts on the silmarillion? do you feel it deepened your appreciation of LOTR?

BillCorbett20 karma

Yeah, it definitely deepened my understanding of the LOTR universe. And probably appreciation too?

But it is not as fun a read as the LOTR books, in my opinion, for all sorts of reasons Sean and I get into on the podcasts. It adds a lot to understanding the lore and background of the LOTR trilogy, but it's not something I will personally keep revisiting in the same way.

Prudent_Narwhal47464 karma

I started this one in my teens and never picked it back up. Is it worth picking back up?

ForeverTimely70708 karma

It’s very dense, I always felt I needed to re-read LOTR several more times just to have sufficient knowledge base to really get the silmarillion, but honestly not sure if it’s worth the effort so looking forward to learning about Bill’s journey on his new podcast

BillCorbett12 karma

Agreed! I came to this as a definite non-expert. As we say on the podcast, there ARE actual Tolkien experts out there, scholars at universities in fact. But a lot of that is very reverent, in the manner of Biblical scholars. And Sean and I are constitutionally incapable of that!

BillCorbett7 karma

I think ForeverTimely's answer below says it perfectly!

fireypumpkin15 karma

Love your work, Bill. Your crow was always my fave character.

What is the most difficult movie you had trouble getting through in writing an episode? How many times did you have to watch a movie over when doing the episode writing?

BillCorbett29 karma

For MST3K, I was going through a deep dark depression when we were writing and recording THE DEADLY BEES. Unrelated to the movie completely, it was a good one for us. But I find it hard to see it again without remembering my dumb brain at the time.

At RiffTrax, I found no movies more painful than the Transformers series. Constant quick and incoherent shots, confuse-o-vision, pretty terrible attempts at humor, plus Shia LaB given license to babble whatever and whenever he wanted. Yikes.

jnorris44115 karma

Hi Bill, I have some very fond memories of watching MST3K in the early 90's with my late mother. MST3K has helped me through some rough times in my life, so from the bottom of my heart, thank you.

Hopefully this isn't too personal. Is there a method or structure to where you devote your time and attention during the day, or do you mostly wing it?

BillCorbett23 karma

Thanks for your nice remarks, sincerely appreciated.

If I understand your Q correctly, it's sort of about managing time day to day? If so --

I have good days and bad re efficient executive functioning, but one CRUCIAL thing that does work if to keep a calendar and list everything, work and personal, where some time will be needed. And / or a daily list of what needs to get done, trying to be realistic so you don't disappoint the you-the-taskmaster each day.

napp2214 karma

What's your joke-writing process for Rifftrax? Do a lot of the riffs come naturally as you watch the movies, or do you and the others plan everything out scene-by-scene?

BillCorbett24 karma

We do produce a written script, and these days that's done by divvying up movies into specific chunks, each writer taking a pass at a first draft OF that chunk, then putting it all together. Lots of edits, changes, cuts, etc. Then when we record we improvise when the impulse takes us, usually in less densely-written moments.

BufordMcClerkins14 karma

Hi Bill! How did you become friends with Kristen Hersh? Between your Twitter interactions and your recent interview with her, you seem like old friends.

BillCorbett20 karma

We've been friends for a couple years. Basically started chatting with each other on twitter, mutual admirers of each other's work etc. But then my wife and I went to a few of her concerts when she played locally, hung out with her, and it instantly felt like family. I've loved her music for decades and really enjoyed her new book! She asked me to interview her about it, and we did that just last night - replay will be available soon.

domvertorix13 karma

Hi Bill! Longtime fan.

You were one of the first I recall adopting Zoom as a platform for entertainment during the pandemic, with Rhea Seehorn and Paul F Tompkins performing your play HATE MAIL.

Any chance we will see more of your playwright work beamed into our homes?

BillCorbett11 karma

Yes, thanks for asking. If all goes well it will be later this summer, in August. A new play, streaming on Play-PerView. More info soon!

Hearderofnerf12 karma

What movie was the “holy grail” of movie riffing?

BillCorbett37 karma

Tough choosing just one answer for that, but pound for pound, personally? SPACE MUTINY.

SPacific11 karma

Where was Bill Corbett when the Westfold fell?

BillCorbett6 karma

Hangin' out with Hobbits, growing gigantic pumpkins and drinking beer.


Important Rowsdower question: Do you think SpaceX will finally confirm there is beer on the sun?

BillCorbett20 karma

I do not. I think Rowsdower, not Elon Musk, is fated to find out this answer. He will reincarnate in a powerful new Rowsdowerian form, go to the sun, and discover the truth. Which will be yes, there is beer on the sun, because Rowsdower is now there and that just happens wherever he is.

thegooddoktorjones11 karma

Hey Bill, Huge fan. The Crackers Soliloquy from Tenkiller is still one of my favorite riffs.

  • One thing I have noticed is it seems like Kevin gets the most dirty jokes, going back to MST3K days. Does he write the most dirty jokes, or just deliver them? Are you ever jealous?
  • Do you trust Gandalf?
  • Any chance of a re-riff of any LOTR movies or the Hobbit mess? I love those but they have aged a bit.

BillCorbett15 karma

- I hadn't noticed that about Kevin's material. It's not a conscious choice on our part, if so. Or maybe Kevin's voice just sounds more naturally lascivious??

- I do not trust Gandalf, esp. book version Gandalf. Very irritable dude! Also I don't trust Tolkien wizards in general, with excellent reason. 80% failure rate, being generous.

- I don't think we'd re-riff, it would be a huge undertaking and those movies are LONG. Re the Hobbit movies, just plain too long and none of us like 'em enough. But who knows, never say never.

King_Of_Portugal10 karma

Hey Bill, in college I had to read an essay about how Shelob the giant spider represents a big hairy vagina, tempting Frodo with poisonous heterosexuality, only for Samwise to defeat it with triumphant homosexuality. Would you say this is a valid reading of the text?

BillCorbett33 karma

I think, whatever feels true to you is true. Also, no.

ForeverMozart10 karma

Any notable movies that you tried to riff during the Sci-Fi MST3K years but couldn't get the rights to?

BillCorbett15 karma

I remember a few for the Comedy Central era, but at least night now don't recall any specific movies for the Sci-Fi years. We were fortunate to have a pretty deep supply of 50s universal sci-fi / horror movies that came with the new network's affiliation, but also had a pretty good system for finding other, arguably more obscure movies by then. No thanks to me! I just benefited from other's diligence.

TigerB659 karma

Hi Bill, huge fan... except for ONE THING. That horrible Ice Cream Bunny laugh? It puts me right on the floor in PAIN, I laugh so hard at it. My husband does a very good imitation of that hurr, hurr, hurr as well, so he'll occasionally spring it on me. My question is: how on earth do you all come up with these rightly-obscure films? Was Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny lurking in a "please destroy" bin somewhere?

sean_thomason11 karma

Chiming in on the Ice Cream Bunny discovery moment, because I was there - it was a dusty old VHS tape in our office, clearly old inventory from a video store that we wound up with. We finally popped the tape in one day, and as it moved along our jaws dropped, and we were laughing too much to breathe. I recall labeling it with a post-it "Man's Greatest Achievement."

And the laugh Bill does for ICB is always hysterical, gets me every time.

BillCorbett5 karma

"I was there, Gandalf. I was there when Isildur discovered the Ice Cream Bunny."

BillCorbett5 karma

It is a horrible sound, almost an act of violence I unleashed upon the world. I apologize to all those traumatized by it.

Re Ice Cream Bunny and other obscure films: it's volume volume volume! Meaning we look through a lot of stuff, sometimes just peruse or buy entire obscure collections that people are selling. A lot of it is an instant no, but then a rare horrible gem will come along, like S and the ICB.

sonofbeastie8 karma

Huge fan of RiffTrax and Ringheads. Any chance you might do an episode where you watch something Tolkien related (like maybe the hobbit animated film) and write riffs for it? I think it would be a great way to get RiffTrax fans to listen, I know I’d love that inside look at the writing process.

BillCorbett7 karma

I've been wary to cross the streams of RiffTrax and the podcast too much, but this might a great way to do it. Thanks for the suggestion!

RickRussellTX8 karma

Any chance you can get a celebrity Tolkien luminary like Colbert to make an appearance?

> /Users/williamcorbett/Desktop/IMG_2863.jpeg

You beautiful bastard.

BillCorbett14 karma

Waiting for Stephen to call, begging us to be on. I know it's just a matter of time.

OmenPodcast8 karma

Do wizards eat? For the life of me, I can't remember seeing or reading about a wizard enjoying a glass of wine or nibbling a scone.

BillCorbett12 karma

Here's the secret: they eat nothin' but bugs.

Actually just today I was watching the first Gandalf / Sauron confrontation in FOTR and I noticed that Gandalf was walking around with what looked like a glass of wine. So: bugs and wine!

crankypizza7 karma

Gregghead or Timhead?

BillCorbett8 karma

I love those guys and ON CINEMA but it needs both of them. Don't make me choose!.

Wec257 karma

So how did you feel about those Hobbit movies?

BillCorbett28 karma

All in all, pretty terrible imho. Some fun moments, but man, a real mess. Kinda shameless in trying to stretch out that material for three long movies. Trying to capture lighting in a bottle again.

FYI Sean and I are gonna do at least one RINGHEADS episode about those movies, once we cover the original trilogy.

aussieent4207 karma


BillCorbett16 karma

Tempted to say Crocodile Dundee, but then you'd throw your boomerang at me.

I don't really watch Disney Plus, but for Netflix I'd recommend UNCUT GEMS. Weird movie starring Adam Sandler, but he is great in it. Not for everyone but somehow it was for me.

Also Netflix: The Florida Project, Pan's Labyrinth, Dolemite is My Name.

jaschac7 karma

Another big fan here. You and the lads have been an important part of my life for…what? 30 years now? I can’t express how much your works have meant to me.

Question: while many of us primarily know you from riffing, you have a meaningful body of work outside that. What work(s) would you like more of us to have seen/to know about?

BillCorbett16 karma

I'm ok with people not knowing more about my other stuff if their taste isn't a match. Different strokes and all!

But you can google some of my plays if you're interested, a few have been published. But they're 20 years-ish old now, so grade on a curve. I'm proud of my recent cartoon voice work on TIGTONE and as a guest villain on INFINITY TRAIN, hope to do more of that now that the pandemic is clearing up.

And a new play will be premiering on Play-PerView sometime in August.

MEET DAVE made me some good $$ but man... with all respect to everyone involved, including me: not good. Kids might like it? But kind of a hot mess though.

HardcaseKid6 karma

Are you going to DragonCon this year or what?

BillCorbett12 karma

If the con is in full swing as per normal, I'll probably be there!

Robin09286 karma

Favorite Host Segment from your time at MST3K?

BillCorbett16 karma

I loved so many of them, really all of them in some way. My favorite might be The Neptune Men, when I returned as KRANKOR. Mike was hilarious welcoming me back warmly, out of desperation.

Billquisha6 karma

Who started the "Golden Corral's new slogan" jokes?

BillCorbett4 karma

Ooh, I wish I remembered who first came up with it. Definitely inspired by some news stories about some of their sanitary, um, failings.

But man do we love extending that bit into infinity.

OmenPodcast5 karma

Are you a Bombadil or a Bombadon't? Explain.

BillCorbett14 karma

I find Tommy B a fascinating, weird-as-hell character. Glad he's in the books just for the fun of discussing how odd a chapter it is, and speculating what the hell is going on here. And damn he's jolly!

I do think it was a good decision to leave him and Goldberry out of the movies, though. They have much less space and time to tell the story, and it would have really lost the necessary momentum hanging out with Mr. Ring-a-Dong Dillo.

BillCorbett10 karma

Bombadil: in the books. Yes.

Bombadon't: in the movies. Good choice.

He's a confusing character in the scheme of things, would have dragged the movie to a weird halt.

chanoodles5 karma

Hi Bill, I got to meet you at a comicon in Salt Lake many years ago.

I wanted to let everyone know about your awesome Christmas book that you released! Do you ever plan on working on more holiday themed graphic novels?

BillCorbett6 karma

Oh, thank you! Salt Lake Comic-Con was surprisingly gigantic to me. Really fun.

Appreciate your kind comments re Super-Powered Revenge Christmas. No plans for a followup at the moment (got a lot of other side projects on my plate in addition to RiffTrax work) but I will never say never.

crinklefoot5 karma

Hi Bill, excited to see your AMA.

If you had rights to any movie and any celebrity to help you riff, what movie and celebrity would you pick?

BillCorbett20 karma

BILLY JACK (1971). A movie I revered as a kid but later realized was pret-ty corny and didactic. Possible guest riffers: Patton Oswalt, Wanda Sykes, Maria Bamford, Paul F. Tompkins, Eddie Murphy, Tis Notaro, Open Mike Eagle.

iglou_bc4 karma

Love ya, Bill! So, with so much content out there which seems to be based on others viewing or responding to some other content (ie: youtube reaction videos, live-streamed watch parties, etc). What do you see as the future of riffing?

BillCorbett8 karma

I think as technology advanced and platforms increased geometrically, it wa inevitable we'd get more freelance / varied forms of "riffing."

As for the future of our type of comedy riffing - I don't really know? But the more the merrier. I think my only guess would be different subcultures / age groups doing a more targeted kind of riffing for their own peers. Maybe pure comedy, maybe a mix of comedy and commentary. Or just commentary, but not in the traditional "DVD extra" sense. All very exciting!

herennius4 karma

Why do you think Celebrimbor had Narvi carve the name "Moria" into the Doors of Durin a full Age before Khazad-dum ever came to be called that? Was he just playing the long elf-dwarf enmity con during an era of friendship or what?

BillCorbett6 karma

Ooh, I don't know. Seems like the author made this timeline confusing. Rare fumble by J.R.R.? Tolkien experts, weigh in!

Oudeis164 karma

Are elves flat middle-earthers?

BillCorbett8 karma

They are indeed flat middle-earthers and they are correct because it IS flat for much of their long-ass existence. [pushes glasses up on bridge of nose]

...Until it's suddenly NOT. Oopsie!

zelman4 karma

Will I need to have read the books to enjoy this podcast?

BillCorbett6 karma

I don't think so? Helps to see the movies though, or it'll just sound like we're spewing nonsense. Which we're already dangerously close to already!

Honestly, a casual acquaintance with the movies - but not having read the books - might be a great place to start from with our podcast.

ArtDSellers4 karma

Who do you feel MST3K savaged more completely, Mitchell or Rowsdower?

BillCorbett12 karma

Mitchell for sure! We teased Rowsdower but we also admired his fighting Canuck spirit, and his perfectly managed beer drunkeness.

SturmB4 karma

Hi, Bill, thanks for doing this AMA.
What was it like acting for the CD-ROM game Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective and did Peter Farley ever come back to see more of your attempts to raise mummies from the dead?

BillCorbett6 karma

It was really fun! The results definitely look like it was made in the 90s but I remember having a blast. Peter wisely did not come back to see me chant stupidly over a monkey paw prop.

open_perspective4 karma

Is corn grass? Also, thank you for the wonderful memories, I just watched overdrawn at memory bank, and have rekindled my justifiable hatred of ant eaters. I also hope you do your podcast funhouse again

BillCorbett10 karma

re grass, see answer ABOVE

Yeah, anteaters are the goddamned worst. Hey buddy, save some ants for the rest of us!


Love ya Bill. From being my first Crow (You never forget your first) to being an awesome human being, you're the greatest. No real question to be asked, other than asking if you guys will ever riff Phantom of the Mall: Eric's Revenge? I know licensing issues and all, but it would be great. It has proto Pauly Shore in it too!

BillCorbett5 karma

Thanks, very kind of you.

I have never seen this movie, will check it out!

hawatcha3 karma

Hi Bill! I'm a huge fan of MST3K and Rifftrax, thank you for all of the laughs over the years!

I'm sure you get asked this a lot, but is there any hope (now that some time has passed) that we'll get to see some live riffs of the Twilight movies? Those movies are made INFINITELY better hearing the three of you talk over them!

Thank you! :)

BillCorbett7 karma

We were specifically turned down several times by the studio to do Twilight as a Fathom show. But we're gonna keep trying from time to time! It would be great fun.

matthiastrek1 karma

If you could meet any one character from the LotR universe, who would it be?

BillCorbett5 karma

Tom Bombadil, to ask him: WTF are you and why aren't you in the Peter Jackson movies? Then maybe talk to him about getting a better agent.

instantwinner-6 karma

Haven't dropped by an AMA in a long time, do all of them have such obviously planted questions nowadays?

BillCorbett2 karma

I didn't plant any questions, you weirdo. Nobody did, AFAIK.