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Frank and Trace to Appear at Atheist Convention

This item broke over the weekend…

American Atheists announced Saturday that comedians Frank Conniff and Trace Beaulieu will reprise their roles from the Emmy-nominated series Mystery Science Theater 3000 at the American Atheists 2015 National Convention in Memphis in April in front of a live audience. For now, the movie that has been chosen for the performance is not being announced.

The announcement was made by the group’s president, David Silverman, during his appearance on the Dogma Debate podcast on Saturday. … Beaulieu and Conniff will speak at the convention in addition to hosting their comedy show.

83 Replies to “Frank and Trace to Appear at Atheist Convention”

  1. Mega Weapon says:

    JeremyR:
    So I guess they are aiming to bring the MST3K reboot to MSNBC?

    I really don’t think it’s a good idea to alienate even a fraction of your potential audience with political activism.

    Atheism as an idea isn’t explicitly political, though I could see where someone could mistakenly get that impression. As for alienating your old audience, I’m sure Dennis Miller could illuminate us all on the concept.

    Also, on the “Pod People” podcast that was mentioned here recently, Joel talked extensively about his religious upbringing and the huge role that church entertainers and variety nights played in shaping his interest in performing. He didn’t say anything about his current beliefs, but it was an intresting side of his personality I hadn’t heard before.

    So, different strokes and all.

       2 likes

  2. trickymutha says:

    I’m not an Atheist, but I play one on TV.

       3 likes

  3. Joseph Nebus says:

    Trace: I’m not NOT saying I’m a furry scientist.The episode of MST where Dr. Forrester had ever progressively hairy ears was based on unauthenticated fact.Just saying’.

    Plus, Trace makes for an adorable capybara.

       1 likes

  4. WeatherServo9 says:

    Happy Feast of Cthulhu, everyone!

       9 likes

  5. MikeK says:

    Wait a minute . . . the atheists are gathering in a building to discuss and reaffirm their beliefs.

       4 likes

  6. Cornjob says:

    You make a good point MikeK. One reason I’ve never bothered to join an atheist group is that I don’t feel much need to discuss the nature of the God(s) I don’t believe in, but there is something to be said for meeting people with similar outlooks on important matters.

    I think if there is anything that could be called an atheist philosophy (for those who would bother to think about it) it would have to do with Heideggerian Authenticity. Which holds that accepting death as nonexistence and the absolute limit of life and consciousness is the basis living and being with authenticity. Which is diametricly opposite theistic faith which hinges on the belief that death is not nonexistence. This has to do with the idea that accepting death in the fullest sense is necessary to living life in the fullest sense.

    It’s a mouthful, and I don’t think most atheists bother to think deeply about the implications of belief and unbelief. I’m sure many like myself don’t particularly refer to themselves as atheists because they don’t want to define themselves according to something they are not or don’t like. But atheists that want to get together and talk about it are probably into some kind of Heideggerian Authenticity. Which by the way, is a standard I hold myself to, but not others. Everyone else has to figure out how to come to grips with their life on their own. If I manage to live my life well enough to inspire others to live better lives, that’s great, and the most I can really do. But also beside the point. I’m only responsible for myself (I have no children other than cats).

    BTW: Heidegger was a jerk and a Nazi. So not all of his ideas were good, and I’m not trying to make him out as a secular saint. Happy Feast of Cthulhu everyone.

       10 likes

  7. Mike "ex-genius" Kelley says:

    #55 — LOL.

    Hey, if those of us who don’t believe in anything want to get together to worship, I don’t see the harm in it. Not the logic, either, but…

    Now, I AM a devout coward.

       3 likes

  8. Herandar says:

    Atorgo:
    @23 – Don’t you ever feel you’re doing a huge disservice to the MST3k fan community with your constant poisonous comments?

    Atorgo, you don’t feed the trolls.

       5 likes

  9. Johnny's nonchalance says:

    Thomas:
    My understanding is Mike is a Christian too, but not sure Joel!s beliefs, but they are usually respectful to a point. As a Christian they never went as far as Seth McFarland in making fun if my beliefs. Making fun of Christians and their actions is different as all people do dumb things. Still like MST3K no matter what they believe.

    Joel spoke a LOT (surprisingly) about how important the church was in his discovery of puppetry and ventriloquism and magic… there was a podcast linked on this site shortly before Thanksgiving. Although it doesn’t state what his own beliefs are, he certainly spoke very respectfully of the church and is influence on his formative years.

       4 likes

  10. Dr. Frankenkeister says:

    I just hope that these two do not pass up the opportunity to do fake sneezes wherever they go in order to get as many reflexive “God Bless You”s that they can and say right back “Gotcha!”

       5 likes

  11. Atheists appreciate deep hurting as much as anyone.

    I’m viewing Trace and Frank as comedic missionaries sans Jack Chick pamphlets but instead carrying and selling Wham-O products out of the trunks of their cars.

    Got cult? Wham-O cults the best.

       2 likes

  12. MSTie says:

    Trace:
    Hey to be clear Frank and I are not appearing as Dr. Forrester and TV’s Frank. We will be appearing as us.Frank and Trace.

    We don’t even own the old costumes.Although I do know who does.A fan who shall remain un-named, (that’s his business) bought them from BBI.We got to see them at one of our CT shows. They are very nice people and they actually look pretty good in our evil hand-me-downs.

    I won’t speak for Frank but for THE TWO OF US to wear the old costumes and dress as those characters at a convention or a personal appearance at this stage in our lives would be sad, pathetic and just a little bit weird.Mostly sad.

    Just because we wear the stuff in our private lives is our own bees wax.

    Trace

    Thanks. I only asked because the original post here said “reprising the roles of TV’s Frank and Dr. Forrester,” so surely you understand the confusion. Hope it’s a great gig!

    p.s. I too am a Christian, one of those crazy liberal Lutherans. I LOVE that MST3K has consistently made fun of Lutherans and Lutheranism, along with Catholicism, Pagans, and everyone else. It’s all funny.
    p.p.s. I think TV’s Frank should walk on stage to the repetitive dance music from “The Creeping Terror.”

       4 likes

  13. Richard the Lion Footed says:

    Hey, I don’t care if they believe in God or not,
    as long as they are not gay.
    Can you imagine what would happen to the entertainment industry if we allowed homo-sex-u-als into it?

    Now, if you will excuse me, I have tickets to a Noel Coward revival.
    I really like that man. Great artist.

       6 likes

  14. touches no one's life, then leaves says:

    Maybe they could riff Blood Feast (Ishtar), Blood Sabbath (Yyalah), Craze (1974) (Chuku), Mardi Gras Massacre (Coatla), Meatcleaver Massacre (Morak), make it a regular God-a-Thon. ;-)

    Unless those are too gory for their tastes. I don’t think MST3K ever riffed any particularly gory films, but that may have just been due to TV restrictions.

       1 likes

  15. Cornjob says:

    The Texas state constitution forbids atheists from holding public office. The last survey on the subject I read about indicated that there is less distrust/dislike of black people, homosexuals, and Muslims, in America than there is of atheists. Which means that Mr. and Mrs. conservative white bread USA would be more comfortable with their daughter dating a Muslim Negress with a huge Afro than an otherwise appealing white atheist boy.

    Halfway through my sophomore year in high school (1986-7) about half of my classmates who already thought that Satanists were holding Satanic rituals near a local hospital (there weren’t any) became convinced by a Geraldo special on Devil Worship that I was a cannibal high priest of Satan that I used black magic and evil dreams to kill people, and many were afraid to look me in the eye. It was usually more amusing than irritating. Fortunately my heavy metal t-shirts didn’t get me convicted of a murder I didn’t commit like those 3 kids in the Midwest.

    Things like this, combined with the fact that in relatively recent western history and in large parts of the modern world “Free Thinking” is not only an insult worse than “Yo Mama so fat…”, but a capital crime, can make some atheists regard theists as not only fundamentally irrational, but oppressive and threatening as well. This is part of why some atheists get “an attitude” about it or want to find others to circle the wagons with.

    In the course of my life and volunteer work I’ve met lots of nice theists. I’m just trying to point out why atheist organizations exist, despite the fact that by definition we have only a negetive in common. Happy Feast of Cthulhu if that’s alright with you you.

       10 likes

  16. Bruce Boxliker says:

    Thank goodness we have separation of church & state. …..right?

       1 likes

  17. EricJ says:

    @62- Making fun of Lutherans is legal in Minnesota. :)
    Otherwise, we in the “crazy Liberal” church like to frustrate Athies, being relatively dogma-free, being a sect with little to no hellfire, a loose to non-existent acceptance of Old Testament blood-and-thunder, and being open to minorities that more red-state sects consider naughty…Thus we make it very hard for Athies to straw-man us as symbolic of All Religion Everywhere, as it’s so easy to do with the looney Southern Baptists.
    Also, atheism did rather take a public handicap after Bush Jr. was no longer president, and Athies couldn’t wrap themselves in the sympathy-blanket of dire Southern-book-burning and crazy-Iranian-terrorist headlines, saying that religion was sending the entire country to Heck in a hand basket…Obama seems to frustrate them as much as content, easygoing Lutherans do.

    As to Trace and Frank, we know it’s just a gig, and godspeed to you (to coin a phrase). Keep carrying the now-tattered banner of real movie riffing.

       2 likes

  18. EricJ says:

    <blockquote cite="comment-485415">
    Trace:
    Frank,I was invited to a FURRY convention. No one ever said, “Oh, he’s a FURRY.I was invited to a science convention. No one ever said, “Oh, he’s a scientist.”But go to ONE Atheist convention…

    Cornjob: Things like this, combined with the fact that in relatively recent western history and in large parts of the modern world “Free Thinking” is not only an insult worse than “Yo Mama so fat…”, but a capital crime, can make some atheists regard theists as not only fundamentally irrational, but oppressive and threatening as well. This is part of why some atheists get “an attitude” about it or want to find others to circle the wagons with.

    Also: I remember hanging out with Roger Ebert’s blog, back near the end, when Ebert was a lapsed Catholic trying to justify his own Catholic-school upbringing. And while he described himself as an “agnostic”–ie., someone who, well, isn’t sure–in between movie columns, he would more frequently float a few columns asking the usual question-authority questions that Catholics asks when they don’t realize there’s any other religion out there, because they were never allowed to explore Protestantism.
    In a word, the columns brought the Atheist community out, no pun intended, like LOCUSTS. There are few other social groups (a few spring to mind…) so desperate for implied “membership” that they will readily chant “Gooba-gabba, one of us!” if any public figure even remotely implies sympathy to their cause. It got to the point that Athies believed RogerEbert.com was a dedicated atheist site, and visibly got annoyed or impatient when he would talk about the Cannes Flim Festival, for instance–The more fringey and Internet-K00kish would keep trying to steer the subject BACK to how Preacher Bush was sending us down the primrose path to destruction with his Holy War, or how such-and-such a movie was “indoctrinating” our culture with its beliefs, working overtime to get thread-drift started whenever everyone else happened to be talking about boring old regular topics.

    Us crazy ol’ NE Lutherans see through all the smoke and mirrors, and I confess I had fun trying to poke through the psychological facade–I brought up the idea that an atheist believes what he does out of fear: Because he doesn’t get out much among other people and lets the media be his window of the world, he sees terrible news stories about Middle-east car bombings, and looney red-state intolerance, and believes that such terrible stories will creep up onto his doorstep, and the double-bolted door on his nice comfortable middle-class apartment won’t be able to keep them out. And since he self-centeredly objectifies the people around him as “part” of all those scary news stories about craziness rampant, he doesn’t quite know whether to accept his friends and co-workers without trying to fix Society by taking his frustrations out on them.
    And one point I liked to kid is that you happen to know an atheist, pretty soon, you’ll get asked what I called the Bi-Curious Question: “How do you do it?…I mean, you’re always so happy all the time, don’t you read the papers or anything? :( ” Basically, misery loves company, and what the atheist doesn’t get is company, because very few people DO devote themselves to being unhappy and suspicious all the time. They want the rebellious freedom of being the one smartypants to start the argument, but find that the novelty of Public Martyrdom wears off quickly. (A point Woody Allen explored in pretty much all his films–Yes, he says he was the ten-year-old who believed that the universe was expanding so what’s the point?)
    In the end, all they have are their own wagons to circle against the Big Scary World, even if its their one own wagon running around in a circle like in Blazing Saddles.

    So, yes, much as we’d like to see a richly deserved riffing of Bill Maher in “Religulous”, good luck, T&F, with whatever Kirk Cameron, Old Testament epic, or Nic Cage Left Behind movie they throw at you, since they don’t know how to just laugh like the rest of us Right People Who Get It, who do know how to laugh at a cheesy movie scene once in a while.. :)

       1 likes

  19. The Bolem says:

    whatever Kirk Cameron, Old Testament epic, or Nic Cage Left Behind movie they throw at you

    Though to be fair, there always will be more biblical films to choose from, what with so many movies adapting well-known public domain stories to avoid pesky I.P. lawsuits; same reason for the current glut of fairy tale movies and television.

    My religion doesn’t get as much of that, because I pray to a god that was created by a still-living comic book writer, and is therefore still covered by copyright. And no, I’m not saying that to be a jerk to theists; I genuinely do pray to Primus. Right now, I’m praying that Rifftrax gives us a fourth round as funny as the last 3.

    Oh, and ‘Red Planet Mars’ would be right up Frank and Trace’s alley, yes?

       0 likes

  20. Cornjob says:

    I prefer associating with theists that are more in to love and forgiveness than judgement and damnation. The latter group are the ones that will tell you that the all kind, all loving, all merciful God will make you rot in Hell forever if you don’t believe he exists or fail to join the right church (mosque, temple, sect, cult, fan club, whatever). Cheerful bunch that lot.

    Happiness and fearfulness and quality of character seem to be more matters of temperment than belief or disbelief. One of my favorite books, Catch-22, features a very nice and nervous chaplain, as well as an atheist who is a dickweed and an informer. With that in mind may the Flying Spaghetti Monster bless us all. If that’s OK with you.

       4 likes

  21. Cornjob says:

    Of course all atheist organizations are non-prophet.

       6 likes

  22. Dirk Squarejaw says:

    @68 EricJ says…

    “How do you do it?…I mean, you’re always so happy all the time, don’t you read the papers or anything?

    Yes, we should all aspire to be as obviously happy as EricJ is all the time.

       13 likes

  23. Inkyatari says:

    Trace:
    “As I said in my Facebook post announcing this gig, I’m not an atheist, but I am a devout blasphemer.”

    Frank,I was invited to a FURRY convention. No one ever said, “Oh, he’s a FURRY.I was invited to a science convention. No one ever said, “Oh, he’s a scientist.”But go to ONE Atheist convention…

    Weird Al once had a great take on this…

    “You’re a vegetarian, how can you justify playing places that serve meat?”
    “The same way I justify playing high schools, even though I’m not a student.”

    (Not exact quote)

       2 likes

  24. Johnny's nonchalance says:

    Funny jab at Eric’s level of joy. If judged by his bitterness in comments at this site it cannot really be considered overjoyed.

    Back in the CC days, Kids in the Hall weighed in with this anagrammatic sketch.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OGjx–qRj_E

       4 likes

  25. EricJ says:

    Cornjob:
    I prefer associating with theists that are more in to love and forgiveness than judgement and damnation. The latter group are the ones that will tell you that the all kind, all loving, all merciful God will make you rot in Hell forever if you don’t believe he exists or fail to join the right church (mosque, temple, sect, cult, fan club, whatever). Cheerful bunch that lot.

    No one quite so suddenly and hypocritically purports to believe in “Do unto others…” as an atheist once his personal character is publicly picked on for being a dickweed. ;)
    After that, of course, he’s the misunderstood nice guy who just wanted to start a coffee-table discussion and doesn’t understand why all the other “hypocrites” don’t have his own responsible discipline to practice the forgiveness they preach…They’re quite okay with the Doing, they just have that little functional stumbling block when the eventual As You Would Be Done By hits.

    (One time, there was a news article about an atheist who, as a snotty stunt, sold himself on eBay for the day–The winner insisted, as part of the payback deal, that he accompany him to the local church that Sunday. In an interview on the story, the smarmyist in question was reportedly surprised to find out that the local corner Protestant church WASN’T some looney big-haired 80’s-televangelist Southern Baptist church speaking in tongues and burning Harry Potter books, but was pretty much just your average suburban WASP-community church of Sunday green-bean-casserole dinners and charity drives, and that the sermons did mention things like forgiveness and helping the poor and minorities.
    It’s pretty much down to a lack of information, and a personally skewed lack of factual research on any subject particularly tends to be a problem with standup comics, among others.)

       1 likes

  26. radioman970 says:

    Well dangit! Then they can’t be evil overLORDS anymore! :p

       0 likes

  27. Cornjob says:

    I just found myself thinking of the old Monty Python sketch where instead of debating the existence of God a Cardinal and a scientist have a wrestling match. The results come later: God exists-2 pins to a submission.

    I also find the term New Atheism to be amusing. It makes me think I should be sitting in a chair on a porch wearing worn overalls and stroking a long white beard while musing about, “How kids these days are going off and not believing in God in ways that we never didn’t believe in God when we were young.” Then I’d turn away to spit tobacco juice while my similarly garbed and aged companion would profoundly reply, “Yep.”

       5 likes

  28. Herandar says:

    So stereotyping atheists is still okay? Noted.

       7 likes

  29. asdf says:

    lol this thread

       0 likes

  30. Cornjob says:

    It’s been noted that Japanese atheists don’t believe in Godzilla.

       5 likes

  31. mobileunit says:

    MST3K Reboot? REALLY !?!?!?!. Is this true? :-D

       0 likes

  32. touches no one's life, then leaves says:

    IMHO it takes courage to be an atheist. Not only because you’ve made a conscious effort to go through life without the comfort of prayer (whether or not prayer is comforting in the first place is something else again) but because you’ve dramatically increased your likelihood of being beaten up by people who identify themselves as Christians (I don’t say “Christians,” I say “people who identify themselves as Christians,” which isn’t necessarily the same thing).

    *I*IRC, some televangelists claimed that atheists (and gays, and feminists, and…) “helped” 9/11 happen because their existence contributed to God’s decision to drop the invisible force field that would have otherwise protected the USA from such attacks (at least, that’s the only interpretation to such remarks that *I* can come up with). I’m sure that some of the adherents of such televangelists went looking for atheists to deliver “payback”…

       2 likes

  33. Christmas says:

    This is absolutely Religulous! This is Penn-and-Teller-presents Bulls**t! I don’t know about Frank and Trace’s Godless Delusion, but I wouldn’t be caught dead at an atheist convention. I mean, do they know it’s Christmastime at all? Feeeeed the wooooorrlldddd…..

       0 likes

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