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Weekend Discussion Thread: Favorite Narrartor-Insipired Riffs

Alert reader Ken notes:

I was thinking about how the narrators in the movies tend to inspire great riffing (“The Creeping Terror: and “The Dead Talk Back” immediately spring to mind), so how about favorite narrator-inspired riffs? One of my favorites occurs when the narrator of “The Dead Talk Back” performs a running commentary on how many minutes the murder victim has to live (“she had 23 minutes to live”), and at one point Crow responds, “I wonder if I could get a pizza in that much time?” I love it!

I think a lot of these are going to be from shorts. Such as mine, from “A Day at the Fair,”
Narrator: First prize goes to a girl!
Crow: The cows are furious!

Your pick?

95 Replies to “Weekend Discussion Thread: Favorite Narrartor-Insipired Riffs”

  1. Jay says:

    Junior Rodeo Daredevils –

    “Old Timer Billy Slater”. The guy is maybe fifty. Do they euthanize the elderly in this town? Is the little button in his hand about to turn red?

       9 likes

  2. Charlie says:

    From The Home Economics Story:

    As our four heroines are sitting around talking about the football game or whatever event happened that day, the narrator talks of how Kay’s mind turns to that all-important question…

    Joel: “How do Pop-Tats work?”

       8 likes

  3. John Hanna says:

    From ‘Monster A GO-Go’

    Narrator: “There is one terrifying word in the world of nuclear physics.”

    Tom: “Oops!”

       47 likes

  4. Murdock Hauser says:

    From Monster A Go-Go.

    The scientist leaves his lab for a moment, then returns to see the place wrecked.

    Crow: “It might has been nice to show that scene with the monster, but use your imagination it was complete horror.”

       15 likes

  5. Garza says:

    From Santa Claus:

    Narrator: Don’t listen to him, Lupita! It’s bad to steal, and you’ll be sorry!

    Crow: Ah, the classic battle between evil and the narrator.

    Narrator: That’s right, Lupita, put it back.

    Crow: Way to defeat Satan, honey.

       20 likes

  6. DarkGrandmaofDeath says:

    Wow, that’s a surprisingly tough question; there are so many more than I realized. However, this one is from the opening of the movie: “…Professor Howard Early, nuclear physicist, probes relentlessly into the future, only to unleash upon the world [dramatic pause] Terror from the Year 5000!” Mike: “Are you ready for TERRROOOOORRRR?!!!!!!” His delivery makes it one of my favorites.

       13 likes

  7. Satoris McGreggor says:

    From keeping clean and neat;

    …….and those shoes!

    Crow: uh-oh, dad’s vomit.

       9 likes

  8. Eduardo says:

    From “Home Economics” the women are gathering for a Five Pound Party and Joel comments, “A five pound potty! She must have had a big breakfast!”

       16 likes

  9. Keith Palmer says:

    My own choice isn’t too complicated. From “The Chicken of Tomorrow”:

    “But wait a minute.”

    “Why am watching this?”

    (I once more or less cadged it into a MSTing…)

       4 likes

  10. HauntedHill says:

    I think my favorite is from The Atomic Brain where the narrator comes on to Magic Voice, with hilarious results.

       8 likes

  11. David Mello says:

    “Beast of Yucca Flats” has a TON of examples:

    Joseph Javorsky, noted scientist
    “Melted Scientist?”

    Vacation Time
    “So Goodbye”

    and don’t forget “A Date With Your Family”

    This boy and girl coming home from school look quite content with life, and why not?
    “They’re high.”

       12 likes

  12. bartcow says:

    Body Care and Grooming: Narrator: “Spring, when a young man’s fancy lightly turns to…” Crow: “Underpants.”

       9 likes

  13. Charlie says:

    From Speech: Platform Posture and Appearance

    As the narrator talks about how shining your shoes improves your appearance…

    Tom: “Plus, the polish gets you high!”

    And while making sure your hair is perfectly combed…

    Crow: “Make sure your part is gouged into your skull!”

       9 likes

  14. Green Switch says:

    Terror from the Year 5000 was full of great narrator-inspired riffs.

    The one that sticks out in my mind the most was Tom Servo’s “I realize I may have oversold the terror at the beginning, and for that, I apologize!”

    Like DarkGrandmaofDeath said about Mike’s narrator riff in TFTY5000, it’s all about that over-the-top delivery.

       11 likes

  15. Truck Farmer says:

    From Keeping Clean and Neat

    Narrator: Never go to bed with wet hair . .

    Crow: . . or a first date.

       12 likes

  16. Green Switch says:

    All things considered, though, I would have to say that the short Progress Island U.S.A. has the best narrator-inspired riffs of the series.

    It’s the perfect combination of delivery and timing. The narrator always offers up these little sentence fragments, and the gang capitalizes on that beautifully.

    One example:

    Narrator: Modern hospitals…
    Servo: … are not here.
    Narrator: Luxury hotels…
    Crow: … are desperately needed.

    Narrator: Championship golf courses, the finest to be found anywhere…
    Crow: … are in Florida.

       21 likes

  17. ctc says:

    “Johnny at the Fair”:

    Crow: “Jiminey thinks Johhny. If only I could get a ride in one of those.”

    Don C.

       10 likes

  18. Bacon truck driver says:

    Flag on the moon. How did it get there? Mike: “These are just random sentences, folks.”

       19 likes

  19. Stargazer says:

    The Beast of Yucca Flats,

    Flag on the moon,
    Caught in the wheels of progress,
    Shoot first, ask questions later. (Shoot first and ask Christian Slater?)

       6 likes

  20. Dr. Erickson says:

    The entire opening 2 minutes of “Why Study Industrial Arts” is a treasure trove as the nasally, nerdy, future-serial-killer teen narrates about his passion for wood shop:

    Kid – “To see it take shape in leather, or plastic…”
    Tom – Or skin if you can get it.

    Kid – “The bright glare of a welder; the sharp whine of a power tool…”
    Mike – The piercing scream of a freshman.

    Kid – “I don’t know if I’d ever tell my buddies all this, cause sometimes they laugh…”
    Crow – Then they pants you and drag you around the track.

    On it goes!

       18 likes

  21. Sitting Duck says:

    Another one from A Day at the Fair:

    Narrator: Judging cakes ought to be fun.
    Servo: But this woman sucks the joy out of it.

       11 likes

  22. thequietman says:

    From “A Date with your Family”

    This boy and girl coming home from school look quite content with life, and why not?
    Crow: They’re high!

       1 likes

  23. Kenotic says:

    From the Robot Rumpus short:

    But on this day, something unexpected happened —

    “Gumby was nude!”

    And for MST-alum projects, nothing can match the bizarro narrator who seems drunk and/or high for most of “Fun in Balloonland.” After the narrator slurs through a reading of “Hickory Dickory Dock” and stumbles over her incoherent lines afterwards, Kevin just belches and replies “Well, it’s Dickory Dock o’Clock somewhere, get me another Big Gulp cup with Smirnoff will ya?”

       8 likes

  24. GodzillaVsMegalon says:

    Posture Pals, when the kids are rewarded with crowns and capes:

    Crow: “Their chances of being cool are ruined for life!”

       7 likes

  25. robot rump! says:

    ‘the chicken of tomorrow.’
    a trifecta
    the narrator: ‘the shelter protects them from the sun and provides them safe place to roost away from rodents…’
    the chickens fly out of the roost in a panic
    M&tB: ‘Rodents!! AAHHHHHH!’

       6 likes

  26. Charlie says:

    GodzillaVsMegalon:
    Posture Pals, when the kids are rewarded with crowns and capes:

    Crow: “Their chances of being cool are ruined for life!”

    Another from Posture Pals, as the teacher announces that there’d be a contest to determine the “Posture King and Queen”…

    Joel: “Yeah, they’ll go to Burger King and get crappy hats!”

       5 likes

  27. RedZoneTuba says:

    From The Creeping Terror:
    Narrator: “He was a much younger man than you might have imagined.”
    Tom: “I had no preconceived notions.”

    Narrator: …describes what the sheriff and deputy are talking about…
    Trace (as stilted Narrator): “It was…a very interesting…conversation.”

       11 likes

  28. Son of Peanut says:

    Absolutely love the “renegade narrator on the loose” from “The Creeping Terror”.

    “He doesn’t play by anybody’s rules.”
    “But he gets results.”

       6 likes

  29. The short “Circus on Ice” has quite a few narrator snap-backs.

    Narrator: “Beauty, style, and grace…”
    Servo: “You won’t find them here!”

    Narrator: “Every circus has it’s acrobats.”
    Servo: “But, not this one!”

    (during the deer-hunting portion)
    Narrator: “They shoot!”
    Servo: “They score!”

       10 likes

  30. Bacon truck driver says:

    Alphabet Antics is full of them:

    B is boat. A boat that can float. Crow: “A boat full of guys dressed up like goats!”

    D is for dancing. See the children dancing. Tom: “D is for damned as in “Village of”.

    F is for fun. Fun in the sun. Joel: “Fun on the hot slide and burn your buns!”

    J is for jumping a fence. J is for jumping a wall. Joel: ” And you break your back, neck, pelvis and all!”

    And so on…
    Love this short :-D

       11 likes

  31. MSTie says:

    I’ve got to go with the short “Snow Thrills”:

    Narrator: “Thrills galore in this winter sport…”
    Joel: “Are darn hard to come by.”

    Narrator: “Look at him go!”
    Crow: “… to hell.”

    Narrator: “Man overboard! Well, we can’t wait.” (man falls off bobsled)
    Servo: “He’ll get run over by the next sled!”

       8 likes

  32. Sitting Duck says:

    Another one from Snow Thrills:

    Narrator: It is pronounced shi-ing
    Joel: Well you’re full of skit.

       25 likes

  33. A Flat Minor, Mr. B'smith cousin says:

    For me A Day at the Fair has a great one.

    Narrator: What’s this?
    Crow: Evil!!

       2 likes

  34. GizmonicTemp says:

    Pretty much anything from “Days of Our Years”. The distance between the direness of the topic and humor of the riffs makes it all hilarious, but in particular…

    Narrator: “He watched Lenny…”
    Tom: “… and Squiggy”

    and the immortal

    Narrator: “A new father is one of the most excitable people in the world.”
    Crow: “… other than the father at the time of conception.”

       15 likes

  35. Bacon truck driver says:

    From Catching Trouble:

    Ted Husing: Hey Mr. Cat you can’t do that. Don’t you know you’re wanted in Chicago? Tom: “For voting twice.”

    Husing: Well, he’s in the bag. Tom: ” and so am I , Ted Husing!”

    Husing: Is that a bear or a monkey? Tom: ” Who are you talking about?”

    Husing: But my boyfriend knows when… Joel: “Hey, he likes you as a friend, not your boyfriend, OK?”

    Husing: I’ll be dreaming of those cute coy, lovable little playmates all night. Crow: “and the snakes, too!

       6 likes

  36. Sitting Duck says:

    From Cave Dwellers, when Dull Old Guy is narrating the flashbacks from the prior movie:

    Dull Old Guy: As Ator nursed his wounds…
    Servo: I nursed a Scotch.

       8 likes

  37. EricJ says:

    Murdock Hauser:
    From Monster A Go-Go.

    The scientist leaves his lab for a moment, then returns to see the place wrecked.
    Crow: “It might has been nice to show that scene with the monster, but use your imagination it was complete horror.”

    (two solid minutes of scientist out standing in his field
    Servo: “‘Okay, I must be mistaken, the Horror must be in a later scene…'”
    (monster attacks)
    “‘There, your narrator feels vindicated, this is extremely horrible!'”

    (The more narration, the more narrator gags.) :)

       7 likes

  38. NHCrypto says:

    From Posture Pals

    Narrator: “A young plant shouldn’t be bent like that.”

    Joel: “Then stop doing it!”

       8 likes

  39. Charlie says:

    One more from Posture Pals

    Narrator: “An airplane shouldn’t stand crooked…”
    Crow: “Like Daddy on Friday Night!”

       5 likes

  40. Wes says:

    “Terror appears to be on back-order…”

       5 likes

  41. Grandma Blob says:

    Two from Keeping Clean and Neat, both about toenails. The narrator is describing how the girl should cut her toenails. Just the way Mike says “yeah, he knows a lot about women’s toenails” and the way Crow says “cut ’em pointy, get a pinking shear” never fails to tickle my funny bone.

       5 likes

  42. PrivateIron says:

    Atomic Brain, just a perfect back and forth with Magic Voice and the narrator creep.

       3 likes

  43. Atorgo says:

    From The Dead Talk Back (paraphrasing):
    Narrator, after like 10 minutes of narrating nothing much happening: “I’m a police lieutenant in charge of reconstructing the events of that evening and finding the murderer.”
    Crow: “I probably should have told you that sooner, I admit it. I had something to do…”

    I also love “Nyo One”

       5 likes

  44. “I’m sorry, I was distracted by the rocket!”
    -Tom Servo, Terror From The Year 5000

    –not to mention a whole other raft of riffs off the opening narration in Terror From The Year 5000

    “You know — is he a loser?”
    -Mike Nelson, The Phantom Planet

    –along with a whole bunch of other zingers during the opening narration in The Phantom Planet

    …and while I can’t recall any right offhand at the moment (as usual), there’s a bunch of good ones during the opening narration in the RiffTrax presentation of Mesa Of Lost Women.

       5 likes

  45. DarkGrandmaofDeath:
    Wow, that’s a surprisingly tough question; there are so many more than I realized.However, this one is from the opening of the movie:“…Professor Howard Early, nuclear physicist, probes relentlessly into the future, only to unleash upon the world [dramatic pause] Terror from the Year 5000!”Mike: “Are you ready for TERRROOOOORRRR?!!!!!!”His delivery makes it one of my favorites.

    Oh, jeezus, yeah… Terror From The Year 5000 is full of great narration riffs, continuing throughout the movie, as a running gag:

    “There seems to be some delay with the terror… I’ll just go in back and see what the problem is!”
    –Tom Servo

    “There! That was terrifying! Thanks for waiting; here’s a coupon for more Terror From The Year 5000…”
    –Mike Nelson

       4 likes

  46. “Actual dialogue startled everyone!”
    –Crow T. Robot, The Creeping Terror

       8 likes

  47. Ray Dunakin says:

    From “Keeping Neat and Clean”, after the sloppy girls cleans up, and the camera is panning down…

    Narrator: “That hair! That sweater!”

    Tom: “Those…uh… nose!”

       5 likes

  48. Atorgo:
    From The Dead Talk Back (paraphrasing):
    Narrator, after like 10 minutes of narrating nothing much happening: “I’m a police lieutenant in charge of reconstructing the events of that evening and finding the murderer.”
    Crow: “I probably should have told you that sooner, I admit it. I had something to do…”

    “Renee now had 39 minutes to live. She now had 38 minutes to live. She now had 37.5 minutes to live. Renee now had — ohh, somewhere between 35 and 37 minutes left to live…”
    –Crow T. Robot, The Dead Talk Back

       5 likes

  49. eegah says:

    GizmonicTemp:
    Narrator: “A new father is one of the most excitable people in the world.”
    Crow: “… other than the father at the time of conception.”

    I always thought that was “… other than the father of atomic conception.”

       1 likes

  50. thequietman says:

    From “The Home Economics Story”

    [picture of 1940s domestic bliss]
    Narrator: This would be Kay’s home…
    Crow: A dungeon!

       4 likes

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