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Sampo & Erhardt

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Long Overdue CT Reviews

After I went to the Cinematic Titanic show in Philadelphia a month or so ago, I promised a review. But then others in the thread posted great, comprehensive reviews, and I didn’t feel much of a need to add anything. Also, work has been crazy.

Then yesterday I saw that over on Deep Ape, Matt has posted a really thoughtful review (he was there on Saturday, I was there on Friday).

This has bucked me up a bit, and given me an excuse to post a few thoughts as well.

• First of all, in all future postings about live shows, we will be sure to tell you if the show is general admission, so you can get there early to get a good seat. I did not know this show was GA, and so I calmly picked up my daughter at about 6:30 and headed out to get a quick dinner, then headed over to the show, arriving at the Troc about a half hour before the show was going to start. What we encountered was a line a full city block long. I went to the front of the line to pick up my tickets, only to learn that, no, I had to go to the back of the line and wait until the line got there to get my tickets. By the time that happened, most of the seats were filled and my daughter and I had to sit in separate seats scattered around the theater. Had I known the show was GA (and it was my fault for not checking; I don’t go to live events much) I would have grabbed some fast food, headed to the venue and eaten while in line. But whatever. I ended up in the balcony in a good seat and my daughter ended up on the ground level in a seat she said was fine. So, in the end, no harm done.
• With me on my trip down from Northeastern Pa. was the one and only “Average Joe” Barlow who enjoyed his first ride in the Sampomobile and managed to keep me awake during the long drive back. Thanks, Joe.
• This is off-topic-ish, but the venue (not a large one, by the way–it officially holds 1,200, but I would guess with the downstairs seating it held 1,000 or less that night) is not at all what I was expecting. It is an ancient, venerable hall, but a bit run down.
• Before the pre-show stuff started, there was a very eclectic mix tape playing. I was later told it was compiled by Josh. Any mix that includes Alan Sherman’s “You Went the Wrong Way, Ol’ King Louie” is okay by me.
• The running gag of the pre-show is “Ten minutes? Ten minutes.” Kind of reminds me of what I call “airline time” — when you hear a flight attendant say “we’ll be on the ground in ten minutes” you can pretty much bet you will still be in the air in 20.
• The antics of Dave “Gruber” Allen were a lot of fun. He is a very funny guy. I too had a chance to hang with him and the always-witty-and-personable Ron DeGroot for a bit after the show and I was genuinely impressed as I watched them both interact with fans. They really LISTENED. I appreciated that.
• I have seen Frank’s “Convoluted Man” bit online previously, but nothing really prepares you for the impact of a live rendition. What a pro.
• I may have said this before, and if I did I apologize, but I just have to say how impressive Josh is as a performer. I mean, I already KNOW how great Joel, Trace, Frank and Mary Jo are. I’m no longer surprised by how amazingly talented they are. But my experience with Josh is much more limited, and it’s a real delight to discover that he holds his own, and then some, in this very talented group.
• Joel came out just before the show began to a long and warm reception. Everybody else was pretty casually dressed, but Joel was lookin’ sharp in a well-tailored suit and closely cropped hair. He answered some questions from the audience, and was never at a loss for a funny answer.
• At last the riffing began and soon the place was roaring with laughter. It’s always more fun to see any riff with a big group. The laughter is contagious. I ended the evening with a bad case of “laugh stomach.”
• The movie, “Alien Factor” had that shot-on-a-shoestring-with-your-friends-as-the-cast, Roger Corman-meets-the-local-community-drama-group feel. The acting (non-existent), the sets (clearly just people’s private homes), the TERRIBLE special effects (the cheapest of cheap process shots) and the interminable walking sequences were all fodder for riffs.
• You could tell the riffing script was very fresh. The Titans were laughing at a lot of the jokes. Mary Jo lost it completely at one point.
• At the end of the movie, there was a long standing ovation, and I used the opportunity to head for the stairs and get down to the lower level. It wasn’t until I got there that I realized that they were doing an “encore” of sorts: essentially performing a live version of a “best of” compilation of snippets from their various trailers.
• After a few minutes, a table appeared in the lobby and after a few minutes more, the Titans sat down and began signing for and greeting the LONG line of people. Rather than sit at the table, Trace stood and welcomed each new line member and posed for a zillion photos. I’m always impressed at how happy they all seem to be to meet each fan.
• Rather than wait in the line, I wandered about taking photos. I had a nice talk with Gruber and RAD. Gruber give updates on the careers of the Higgins Boys (they’re doing quite well, thank you very much) and told the story of how the Higgins Boys & Gruber got picked up by the late, lamented Comedy Channel (bring back “Onion World”!)–Joel had a hand in making it happen.
• The staff at the venue were visibly unhappy at being kept at work to allow the signing/greeting and were very anxious to scoot people out. But the Titans took their time with everybody.
• My conclusion: If you are a regular visitor to this site, you are the sort of person who would LOVE this show. The entertainment value is definitely worth the price (though try to avoid those service fees if you can; I heard some horror stories while I was waiting in line). You will go away a happy MSTie.

11 Replies to “Long Overdue CT Reviews”

  1. The Professor says:

    Nice write up, sir. I would go to one of these if they ever came to North Carolina.

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  2. quakeroates says:

    That is great they are still greeting the fans. I thought that was very cool when we saw them in STL last year. They seemed very down to earth, I thanked Mary Jo for meeting us and she thanked me right back for coming. How cool. Thanks for the tip on the fact that some shows are now GA I want to catch another one for sure and be assured of good seats.

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  3. Leslie B. says:

    Your review, and Matt’s, were wonderful and really summed up the great time that I had in Philly. I was so impressed by everything that happened that night!

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  4. Shaun says:

    Thanks for the review, pretty interesting. Sounds like a great time.

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  5. Meadows says:

    Are they still planning on releasing DVDs, or is it all live shows from now on?

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  6. mdwileygrl says:

    Yes, I am jonesing for a new DVD! Come on, CT!

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  7. They should include live show footage on future DVDs. That would be interesting.

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  8. The Toblerone Effect says:

    I also want to put in a vote for a new DVD from them. And The Castle Monster’s suggestion for live footage from their shows is a great idea!

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  9. Thanks for the mention, Sampo. It’s hard to get hits on my own anymore, seeing as though I only post two or three times a month these days. :) Glad to finally see your recap, and sorry I didn’t get to meet you in-person.

    @Meadows
    Yes, they’re still releasing DVDs. At the time of these live shows, they had not yet recorded the DVDs. These were, essentially, test runs of the scripts. One of them told me that they were planning to record the next three episodes (Alien Factor, Danger on Tiki Island, and East Meets Watts) in July. Not sure if that’s happened yet, but don’t worry. They’re coming.

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  10. Super Agent Icky Elf says:

    Ya’know, I’m not one for going to “live” events, but after reading this review I’d love to see CT do a show in Michigan… Lansing being a nice central location and a college town would be a good spot. And put me down on the list as one waiting for a new DVD. Just re-watched “Legacy of Blood”, “Castle of Freaks” and “Blood of the Vampires”. Maybe Sampo could find something out for us :wink: .

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  11. Ken says:

    Great review! I saw one of the Atlanta shows and the meet and greet at a record store the day before the two shows, and I also have to agree with everything that was said in the review. Every single member od the CT crew were wonderful to the fans, and at the record store signing they also had a question and answer session in which they were extremely candid. The answered every question the fans had (especially Joel, who spoke about his feelings about Rifftrax, Jim Mallon, why he left the show, etc….)

    Here were some of the answers I got from the CT crew:

    Josh explained he was only there for one season because he just could not get along with Jim Mallon (Joel echoed that he had creative difference with him as well).

    I asked about if The Green Slime would ever be done by CT, since the MST version is not available, he explained that MGM, who owns the rights is really hard to deal with for their purposes.

    Rifftrax – Joel is upset that they use the lines like “MST3K meets Jaws”, and since he was the creator of the show, he didn’t feel that is appropriate.

    But, I do want to let everyone know that all five riffers and Gruber and RAD could not have been any nicer. During the second show, Joel on stage even gave a shout out to our live riffing show in Atlanta, Cineprov!

    I not only would recommend going to a live event if it is close to your area, but if they are doing an appearance or signing anywhere before their shows, try your best to go to them, it is well worth your time. It feels when you talk to them, they treat you like you are their good friends (I called Josh “Mr. Weinstein” and he said “no, please, call me Josh”).

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