Mads and Others in the Theater: Yay or Nay?

Something I loved in the original run, but which rarely ever happened, was seeing the Mads get a chance to riff in the theater.

If memory serves, it only happened twice, with Mirror Universe Frank and Dr. F riffing some of “The Painted Hills” (and because they’re from the Mirror Universe I suppose they weren’t TECHNICALLY the Mads in that timeline) and Pearl riffing some of “Quest of the Delta Knights.”

Personally, I always loved when this happened and wished it happened a bit more. Maybe not every episode, but as an occasional way to mix it up, maybe once or twice a season, rather than a twice-per-entire-run-of-the-series thing. That’s something that I like about having two crews in the new season, getting a little riffer variety, even though things remain mostly consistent overall.

But as for Mads riffing specifically, how does everybody feel about it? Do you like to see the tables turned occasionally? What scenarios are the most fun, more Mirror Universe shenanigans or good ol’ fashioned SOL crew revenge?

(And yes, maybe it doesn’t make much sense in the premise for the Mads to be riffing regularly, but this IS a show that tells us we shouldn’t get too hung up on details and should really just relax.)

I’d be curious to hear a Felicia and Patton riff, though more than anything, I wish we could get Pearl in the theater again. Maybe team her up with Synthia and/or Mega-Synthia. Mary Jo has such great delivery as a riffer as her work with Bridget at Rifftrax and through the years at Cinematic Titanic show. Considering she’s back on board as Pearl for some segments of new MST3K, I feel like it’s the most likely of all potential returning MST3K alumni, too. One can dream!


Didn’t Kinga and Max do some riffing at the end of one of the Netflix seasons?


If memory serves, they were made to riff movies at the end of the Netflix run, but we didn’t get to see much of it.

As for seeing others riff, I’m for it, but it should be limited. It should be used as an extra spice, use some and it brings out the best in the show, use it too much and it diminishes the dish.

It’s like in improv, especially short-form. You want to follow the rules of the game as much as you can so can set an expectation with the audience. Then every so often, you can subvert that expectation by doing something outside of the lines. But do it too often and it is just too much and the audience doesn’t know what to do or expect


Yes, as an occasional treat, the Mads in the theater would be great. I was hoping that was how the new season would start, with them stuck in the theater for at least an opening segment. Oh, well. :person_shrugging:

Also, I know that Trek itself went back to the Mirror-verse more than once. I… don’t think that’d be effective in a comedy like this one. But you never know. :thinking:


Um… yay?

You could make the argument that Brain Guy technically riffed a movie, too.


The Mirror Universe Dr Forrester and TV’s Frank riffed Last of the Wild Horses. And I would love to see Kinga and Max riff in the theater.


I would love to see Mary Jo/Pearl riffing in the theater. Not sure how it would be explained, but I’d love to see it. I’d also like to see Kinga and Max take a segment in the theater (or more likely the Simulator)


Which raises the question of whether all incarnations of the bots would be swooning over Pearl… Or if some of the later ones would be more, “Yeah whatever. Mints make our load pans clog up, Grandma Moses!”


Perhaps they could be given a taste of their own medicine, or perhaps it might be nice to have the entire cast riff a movie together once, à la The Muppet Movie ending, where they can riff the movie and rib each other, how that happens need the magic of the writers, though.


sounds great on paper but in practice I didn’t enjoy it much in either instance in the old show.

Still I am definitely open to it.

I mean, I remember during the Kickstarter when they were teasing us with pictures of admission tickets for potential live events, and one idea was a Shorts Festival featuring Kinga and Max revisiting Mr. B Natural. I’d definitely be up for something like that.

But yeah, just generally speaking? I always think it’s cool when they shake things up in the theater, whether it’s pulling out some sort of visual gag or bringing a different character in. The best thing about about having conventions is that you get to break them.


If written and executed well, yay.
If not, don’t try to shoehorn it in just for the sake of nostalgia/novelty.
I think it could work.

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I was hoping that’s how we’d open the season too, with Kinga and Max stuck in the theater and finding a way to escape. Then she drags Jonah back and screams “HESTON! GET YOUR BUTT IN THERE AND FINISH THE MOVIE!”


Strongly in favor of the Mads getting to riff occasionally. We got the tease of Kinga and Max being forced to riff Mr. B Natural at the end of The Gauntlet but didn’t get to actually see the riff (Maybe it’ll be one of the live shows for the first public year of the Gizmoplex given some art that was made during the Kickstarter, but still.

I dunno, especially for Mads with a couple seasons under their belt, it just adds a little something fun to the dynamics of the cast and its a nice shake-up to the formula. I’d love to see Felicia and Patton do a short together, since I feel their comedic styles work well together.


The Mads tried and failed to riff briefly at the end of Fu Manchu. And Cambot had a riff once.

I do love the mirror universe episode where we get the Mads in the theater for like 1/3 of the movie. And I do wish that happened a little more often.

We seem to be on the same page, as far as I can tell: It’s fun to do every once in a while. It should not be a regular thing. Just the occasional special treat.

We’ve of course seen them do it without the characters. Rifftrax, The Mads Are Back, Cinematic Titanic, etc. Those were fun, too.

Then again, we’ve got 3 different hosts this year. And they have their own Tom and Crow. So we’re already mixing things up a fair amount. But that also gives us new opportunities, like maybe switching up the crews. Or doing an “Oops! All Crows” short or something.


I rather like it, as long as there’s a purpose and the novelty isn’t worn out.

In addition to Pearl’s turn in the theater for Quest of the Delta Knights, I liked seeing her and Eggs taking readings and making adjustments to figure out how to maximize the pain in the theater at the end of the same episode.

While he wasn’t TECHNICALLY in the theater, I thought it was neat to see Brain Guy do that “split screen takes over a TV show’s end credits” thing from the closing theater segment in Time Chasers.


Oh, and there’s one that I keep forgetting about because the episode isn’t in regular rotation due it to not being on DVD or legit streaming, but…

… Timmy’s appearance in the theater in Fire Maidens of Outer Space is brilliant. It’s actually suspenseful and subtly horrifying when you finally notice him silently rising out of the theater seats and approaching Tom to menace him. AND it all serves the great series of host segments for that episode, so it’s a win all the way around.


I loved it in, say, Delta Knights where Pearl replaces Mike for a few segments only. Every once in a while I’m more than happy with it.

However, overusing the cameos may make things feel less special. So maybe once every couple seasons (or more) is awesome.

The “Mr. B Natural” ending of Season 12, for example, works perfectly in narrative terms (as does Frank and Dr. F riffing The Castle of Fu Manchu) because it finally gives them a taste of their own medicine.

Only as long as it’s done every once in a while to freshen things up, though.


It’s also worth noting that it’s something they experimented with as far back as Season 1’s The Robot Vs. the Aztec Mummy with the Demon Dog invasion of the theater.

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