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Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett reflect on MST3K's final broadcast.

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How Were the Shows?

An open thread for reports from last night’s show in Portland (Frank, Trace, Josh and Dana Gould riffing “Plan 9) and Seattle (Joel’s “Riffing Myself”).

11 comments to How Were the Shows?

  • 1

    Report from Portland: The show last night was a good time, the event (held at the historic Bagdad Theater) had sold over 500 tickets and they said that they were well on their way to raising over $20,000 for the Vital Life Foundation and the Alzheimer’s Association. Host Ron Lynch was very funny, odd at times, but I enjoyed his “magic” act very much. He was a good host. Frank was the first comedian up and he did a solid set, but I was up in the balcony (woooo!) and at times had a hard time hearing Frank clearly, although when the people around me would shut the f*** up I could hear just fine. J. Elvis Weinstein came out second. Man, he is a funny guy, delivered a great set (did you know he’s Jewish?) and I was sad that it ended so quickly. Trace came out after that, but he didn’t do a stand-up set, not really. He came out and did a few jokes about Cinematic Titanic ending and how that’s our faults for not buying the DVDs and their faults for naming a comedy act after a well known tragedy. He then went on to list some alternate names for CT, like Ho-ho-Holocaust or Ha-ha-hiroshima. After that he did a short intro for Plan 9, but we wouldn’t get around to that for about another hour..

    Dana Gould came out and did a full set, I didn’t check the time, but it was at least 45 minutes. Hilarious guy. One of my favorite bits was his set-up and succession of a gay joke, a rape joke, and a 9/11 joke (the third 9/11 of the night, after Frank and Trace both each did one), and while that might seem tasteless, it is all in the delivery (“you know….any whistle….could be a rape whistle…..except….a slide whistle.”). The stand-up portion of the night was so good, I would’ve paid the $20 just to see that. After Gould, there was a brief intermission, but after that was the dreaded RAFFLE DRAWING! Why is it, no matter where you are or what event you’re at, whenever there is a raffle, things grind down to a near halt?? The raffle was agonizing, but Gould got to fire off a couple good ones (“I could watch that raffle all night….and for a minute, I though I was going to.”), one of which was a callback during Plan 9 from Outer Space. Gould introduced the movie and told a story about meeting Maila Nurmi (aka: Vampiria) and her recounting the story where Orson Welles gave her the clap on a USO tour. I’ve heard that story before, but it’s always a good one.

    As for the movie riffing, it was a DVD projection, and the guys all stood offstage on the floor to the side of the screen, meaning I couldn’t see them at all while they riffed. The sound of the movie was really soft when they started, and later when it was turned up, I had a hard time hearing some of the riffs during the louder scenes in the movie. Luckily, there aren’t that many scenes in Plan 9 with much of a sound design. The riffs came quick and were plentiful (although they slowed a bit in the back half of the show), and they were going “blue” in this one (i.e. dirty words and whatnot). I can’t remember specifics (full disclosure, i was drinking) but I loved the jokes on wicker furniture, the cop with his gun that he points at everything with (“BAM!”), the lonely wife and her vibrator, the space station as a dog toy, and the constant references to Lugosi and heroin. One of my favorites was toward the end, where Gould (I think) slams Morrissey out of nowhere, singing this horrible Smiths song (which one? they’re all horrible) in the voice of one of the aliens. Also, he did this joke about the alien’s boots belonging to the Byrds…..but then he went into this overlong explanation of the joke….”the band…the Byrds…from the ’60s….they wore boots like that…” Overall, it was a solid show, I had a great time.

    Some of the crowd though…I don’t know. Up in the balcony it started clearing out about halfway through Plan 9. It seems some of the people there (older people, there for the fundraiser) didn’t know about the movie riffing and/or even know what it was. The people sitting directly behind me were kind of jerks. They heckled a little bit, complained about the sound and about Frank not being funny (blasphemy!), but after the movie started, they took off after about 30 minutes, so that was fine with me.

    After the show, I went downstairs to meet the guys. I saw Josh, but he ducked behind the curtain at one point and I don’t think he came back out. Ron Lynch and Dana Gould were both busy talking to people (chicks, I believe), but I did get to meet Frank and thank him for the great night and all that. He said thanks and that he appreciated it, and then we took a picture together (check it out on my instagram page @ theycallhim_west). Honestly, Frank looked tired as hell, they all did actually. I did not get to meet Trace, which I do regret a bit, but he had a small crowd around him and like I said, they all seemed totally beat (the show ended after 11 sometime) so I didn’t want to be a bother or whatever. I’ll hit him up next time.

    Overall, like I said, it was a great show. Fun was had by all. Oh, and somebody was recording the movie riffing portion of the show with a video camera from up in the balcony (not illegally, it seemed like they had a proper set up and all that) but I don’t know if it was for an official release or what it was for exactly. More word on that as the story develops. Grin

       7 likes

  • 2
    Cheapskate Crow says:

    Report from Seattle: The show looked pretty full to me, I also did the riff camp the night before so I got to be in the front row just like Bob Uecker always said. There was a Q&A VIP session before the show and Joel took a few questions during the show as well. The show started with three shorts (all 50s educational films – Bacteria, Sleep For Health and Dos and Don’ts of Dating riffed by some of the students from the riff camp which were pretty good for the most part although I might be a bit biased. I think Bacteria was the weakest but in fairness to that group, I think it was by far the most difficult of the three to riff. The idiot who wrote and read the backstory for the second group didn’t get close enough to the mic for anyone to hear and got heckled for it but then recovered (Alas, it was me). After the shorts, there was about an hour and a half with Joel telling you the story of his life and everything relating to the development of MST. I will sound like a jerk here but I don’t want to give away too much of the show but there were some funny and embarrassing photos and the show was great with many things I had never heard. You shouldn’t have any questions left about the formation of MST after seeing it.

    The Q&As were very interesting, Joel gave the most in depth answers I had ever heard about why he left MST (conflict with Mallon everybody knows about, but I didn’t know he saw the future of the series as being yearly movies). He made a great analogy about MST being the baby in the Biblical story of King Solomon and that he was the real mother who stepped aside to save it. He also said when he came back for his guest starring appearance on Soultaker that Mallon didn’t even show up on the set or anywhere in the building the day or two he was there so he couldn’t rebuild any bridges. I think the split still bothers him to this day.

    And here’s the latest CT news: I thought CT was just stopping live performing after 2013 but Joel says it will completely stop after this year. He doesn’t know yet if any of the unreleased shows will be released.

    All in all, Joel was great in taking as many questions as he could from everyone and I could tell it was a tiring couple of days for him. I feel like a jerk today because during the riff camp and before/after the show, I badgered him with lots of questions and forgot to tell him just how awesome he is but there were lots of other gushing fanboys and girls so I’m sure he is feeling OK. He was definitely tired by the end of the night but announced that there will be more riff camps in the future. Doing the riff camp was a fascinating experience as it was limited to 30 people that were divided into three groups of 10. I personally think 10 is too many as it was hard for some people to get lines in at all (I noticed this with other people, I did succeed in getting some of my lines in the final product). I mentioned this to Joel after the show but he wants as many people as possible to have the chance to do it and I certainly understand he’s got bills to pay and time constraints to deal with so we’ll just have to agree to disagree Smile Joel arbitrarily picked a few people from each group to do the live riffing and at first I was bitterly disappointed to not be picked. I learned as the show went on that writing can be just as rewarding and that I should stop being a prima donna so maybe, just maybe Davee, I learned a little something about myself during this experience too. I got to write a few lines that got laughs in a big MST crowd and I wheedled my way on stage to do the group introduction, albeit poorly so I can have no complaints. Definitely 2 nights I will never forget.

       9 likes

  • 3
    mst3ktemple says:

    Nice reports. Thanks!

       3 likes

  • 4
    Bdtrppr6 says:

    Show was great, stand up was more than funny Ron Lynch as a host was very good. Especially since it seemed very nonprofessional in a lot of ways. Odd mix crowd mainly since it was an Alzheimer’s fundraiser. Misties to some extent but a lot were there for the cause and didn’t get it. All of the stand up was on verge of nappropriate for the crowd but all pushed the edge and relieved it back just like you would hope. Even Dana pushed like only he can put pulled up to positive spin it(well, a little). Frank was low key hilarious and josh was really funny too. Sorry to say this will be my only live experience of the show I love so much. I’m pretty sure the whole thing is over for this side of the team. Hopefully riff trax can keep it up. The actual movie riff was fine but seemed tired. Plan 9 is too old hat. It’s like watching jimmy page pull out the bow, it’s cool but…

    Thanks to trace, frank, and josh for doing the show. It was awesome regardless of previous comment. Plus raising 20000 for a good cause is good on its own!

       3 likes

  • 5
    Bdtrppr6 says:

    Hate to say it but the crowd was kind of a drag. I was expecting nerds and it was old ladies with sequins and other totally non MST persons. Instead of group hug more of a group shrug

       3 likes

  • 6
    Fingal says:

    The portland show was a great time.

    I didn’t think the crowd was as much of a downer as some folks. The guys seemed to encourage some audience participation which was fun
    (all done with love of course)

    Raffle = Deep Hurting = Stand Storm

    Old racist spoons guy was not funny. But young racist dana gould was hilarious =).

    Big downer about CT stopping touring / going away.
    I still say they should have visited portland more. I think i would single handedly fund their drinking habits.

    Some folks were passing out flyers to a Live Manos Event: http://capitaliproductions.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/manos-postcard.jpg
    I think this is the same group that did it a few years ago, and it was a blast that time and i’ll be attending this time!

       2 likes

  • 7
    David L. White says:

    I was at the ‘Riffing Myself’ show on Friday in Seattle. I was accompanied by my wife and my nephew and we all enjoyed the evening very much.

    All 3 of the riff camp riffs were terrific. I wish I could have attended the camp, but couldn’t afford it.

    Joel’s show was very fun. There was a lot of cool stuff that even the most hardcore MST3K fan probably didn’t know about their favorite Cowtown puppet show. It was nice to see something light, funny, and relaxing after having my taxes done earlier in the day.

    After the theater emptied, I paused just before exiting the building and asked my wife and nephew to wait at the door. I wandered back into the theater.

    There were a few people at the front of the theater and I saw Joel standing next to the SIFF programmer guy. He offered his hand before I had a chance to offer mine. He seemed like a really cool, regular guy. I asked him, in earshot of the SIFF guy, if there was any chance of a Cinematic Titanic show in Seattle. He replied that Cinematic Titanic was winding down and the group was booked for the rest of the year. I think Joel saw the disappointment in my face and added “But thanks for asking, man.” I thanked Joel for coming and expressed the hope that he would return to Seattle. Joel smiled, shook my hand again and thanked me for coming. Joel seemed tired, but happy to exchange a few words with lingering fans. I should have asked my nephew to come back to get a picture of me and Joel with his camera phone, but it’s cool to have that memory.

       4 likes

  • 8

    @#6 Fingal: I don’t want to make it seem like the crowd was a downer, to the contrary, I believe everyone had a great time. The audience participation was okay and respectful (Frank and Ron Lynch asked for the crowd to heckle them and some hipster yelled out, “HECKLE!,” the meta-ness of which tickled Frank) and I don’t think anyone was out of line. BUT, where I was sitting, I noticed some folks who weren’t into the movie riffing (audibly so), but that’s just they’re loss, so whatevs.

    Your equation of the Raffle to Deep Hurting and Sand Storm is spot on.

    And I didn’t want to bring up old racist spoons guy, but you did, so I will chime in and fill everyone else in. This 80+ year old guy, named Wild Bill Something-something, came out post-raffle and pre-movie riffing and told a couple jokes and played the spoons on his knee, which would’ve been cute in an “awwww, look at that adorable old man” kind of way, but holy crap everybody, this one joke he told was TOTALLY racist, and not in a well articulated and thoughtful way like Dana Gould told his racist jokes (it might sound like I’m splitting hairs, but there IS a difference), but in an “old man from a different era probably didn’t realize what he said was totally offensive” kind of way. I’m not going to repeat the joke, which is really lame by the way, but he did use the N word, the one that rhymes with “we grow.” It got some laughs in the crowd, but I could tell there was a mix of nervous laughter in there. Ugh…man, it was enough to make my pale skin crawl. After that, I really couldn’t get into him playing the spoons on his knee at all.

    And yes,
    I forgot about the stage production of MANOS that is coming up here in Portland. And here’s some BIG NEWS: Jackey Raye Neyman Jones, aka Debbie from the original MANOS, will be a part of the cast!! She will be providing the voice of Debbie (on stage her character is a puppet. no, seriously), something she was denied doing all those years ago, as her voice was dubbed by an older actress in the final film. There will also be a Q&A with Jackey after each show! For more info, tickets, and stufffff: http://capitaliproductions.com

       3 likes

  • 9
    JeremyR says:

    Well, that’s the thing, it’s apparently hilarious to be racist when you are hip and cool and the in thing. But then once you stop being that, well, you’re just sad.

    Which is how racism should always be viewed, IMHO, but that’s now how it works. And sometimes when you go from being cool to not cool, you end up in trouble. Ask Michael Richards. Or Ted Danson.

       4 likes

  • 10
    Brandon says:

    That sucks that CT is stopping for good….

    But you know what, Nostalgia Critic was originally going to end last year, and Doug Walker eventually brought it back, so…. who knows what’ll happen in the future.

       2 likes

  • 11
    Fingal says:

    @Watch-out-for-Snakes
    Oh yeah that would suck, I lucked out on the people around me and or I was drunk enough not to notice.

    @JeremyR
    Definitely a difficult subject that few fear to tread.
    I think when you can feel the hate behind it (aka Michael Richards / Wild Bill) that makes it more obviously “bad”

       3 likes