Outlawed Riffs

Over the years I watched MST3K, ever so often I caught a riff Joel or Mike would cut off out owing to hitting too close to the mark or being too obvious. What were those riffs? The MASH theme over a helicopter shot was one. The NBC Mystery Movie another. Any more?


A prime example would be the cop/donut joke ban in Indestructible Man, stemming from an actual writers’ room issue where the MST3K creative team members felt that they went to that well too many times, and thus had to have an in-show contract barring those riffs.


lungs vs air
oh will the great [snobby sounding persons name] be joining us
Thank you


Anytime they used their own show as a reference!

Tom: “Look, it’s the MST3K logo up there!”
Joel: “You’re not supposed to know that”


Don’t Pay the Ferryman, St. Elmos Fire. I vaguely recall those.

Funny. I can’t recall those.

It might just be because they haven’t had a movie with a character named rocky, but the
Again? riff.


Joel got physical when Crow over used it in SF:FAT but Crow kept saying it.

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There must be more.

From Agent Of H.A.R.M., Mike got fed up with the Prince references.

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There’s one episode where Mike says, “Sing Jerry Reed again and I’ll crush you to a fine powder. Okay?”

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“Don’t Pay the Ferryman” was when Mike threw Tom out of the theater in High School Big Shot. I remember the “St. Elmo’s Fire” but I can’t remember which episode it was.

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Great ones TeriG! I sense this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Not exactly outlawed riffs, but when the little songs Tom likes to make up start to wear out their welcome, the host will usually tell him “that’s enough” or something to that effect. I also remember Crow making jokes about the French smelling bad or something like that in a couple experiments, which Mike protests against.

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