That Time I Riffed and (Subconsciously) Stole MST3K Jokes

Okay…so I did a Riff once. It was intended to become a regular series on my YouTube Channel. I was going to do Teenagers from Outer Space in segments, but never got around to finishing the movie. However, even this small attempt taught me a few things about the process:

  • ⦿ I have internalized every MST3K I’ve ever seen, even if I don’t remember it. This is why I ended up making a few of the same jokes. I was sure they hadn’t done this one before, at the time.

  • ⦿ Riffing works better with a partner. Especially if you have riffs that are going to be seconds apart.

  • ⦿ I’m actually not terrible at it?

So with all that said, I’m bringing this back as a regular series. I have devised a premise in line with the pre-existing character of my channel, Digital Jedi. The idea is that he (I? Us? These days, I’m not sure.) is digital because at some point in his life he was digitized into the Grid. He since learned how to use the properties of being a User the same way he was able to utilize the Force. (Yes, I have a whole backstory I’ll probably turn into a comic one day.)

So I decided he needed a foil when riffing: An Imperial BB droid that was also digitized when he was, but didn’t know about initially. They will be putting aside their differences to achieve the Digital Jedi’s goal of watching everything he can.

Since entering the Grid, BB-P1 (AKA “Sweetie Pi”) has given herself a voice modulator so she can talk normally. She will be voiced by my wife, who has agreed to do this with me as long as I write the jokes.

Our first film, which I’m currently scripting, will be one I believe only Rifftrax has covered in an abridged form in a live show, which I’ve never seen. The Navy vs. The Night Monsters.

Hopefully I can intrigue some of you all to check it out once completed. Thanks for coming to my Ted Talk.


Oh yeah, if you have a moment, could you give me an idea of which title for the series you like better? I’m not sure if JEDI SCREENS really works or not. Thanks.

  • Some other suggestion

0 voters

1 Like


This will be the thumbnail. What do you mean by “derivative”, exactly?

1 Like

Honestly, I’d avoid using Jedi in your name just because it might be a legal issue with Disney. You want to also strike the balance between having some character versus overwhelming it all with backstory and narrative. Like with most episodes of MST3K, the backstory just serves to get the characters into the theater and provide them a reason to get them to do what they do.

I remember talking to someone who took Joel’s riffing class at the Bucks County Community College and he encouraged them to come up with a backstory for their riffing projects because he thought people might not care about the riffing if they didn’t have a backstory, but I don’t know if that’s the case any longer. Most of what they did with Cinematic Titanic after the studio episodes jettisoned the backstory and just focused on the riffing. I don’t know if that’s a changed opinion on it or if he realized that the goodwill of the audience for the performers was enough to justify the riffing.

Personally, I think good riffing is enough. It’s the main course and if it doesn’t attract someone, then I’m not sure that any backstory would be enough to keep people interested in the thing they already kinda didn’t like.

But trust your instincts and keep having fun with it. I love seeing more and more riffing projects happen! It definitely is its own art form.

1 Like

Oh yeah, the backstory is just that. Backstory. I’m going to be swamped just getting the assets for the rif into place. I won’t have time (much less the resources) for any skits.

Since this is a YouTube channel, not an actual product, screen names aren’t really an issue. Which is why popular YouTubers like Star Wars Explained and HelloGreedo, who literally wears a stormtrooper mask in his videos, have been around for years with no problems.

Not to mention, Star Wars has a massive fan film community. It would be weird to go after me when 2 hour films exist set in the Star Wars Universe and actually use the characters and music.

1 Like

When it comes to riffing, I love having a premise. Cinematic Titanic had juuuuust enough of premise that it gave them a reason to shuffle into the theater. The Film Crew also had a minimal premise and that was all they needed. I love Rifftrax without one, but I do think that would make them even better.

In the end, you’re watching something bad. There’s tons of great things to watch instead. Even a silly, skim reason for why you’re watching a cheesy movie makes it suddenly make sense. Or at least have purpose. And as your audience, I feel like I can come along with you more comfortably and easily.

1 Like

Splinter Of Jed’s Eye.

(I’ll just show myself out.)


@JoeC covered some of my thoughts about your use of the name “Jedi”.

Also, I don’t know about using that type of silhouette. To me that screams I’m trying to ripoff MST3K!!! Fans of the show creating their own riffing projects is fine, but the person and bots in theater seats in silhouette is just a bit too similar, IMO.


I would have to agree, the silhouettes do seem a little bit too much like your ripping them off (although that sounds too strong, maybe parodying is a more appropriate word), but thanks to MST3K and Rifftrax, I feel like the only two possible ways to have someone riff a movie on screen have been taken, with silhouettes on screen, and voices riffing over the movie with no silhouettes, so I don’t blame you, almost seems like all of the possible options have been taken


I would have to agree, the silhouettes do seem a little bit too much like your ripping them off

But that’s what I’m doing. :no_mouth:

1 Like

When you think about it, RiffTraxx does kinda have a premise. "We’re here to make fun of this movie…also give us your monies"

Two philosophies I agree with.

1 Like

Yeah, it’s a business - but the riffing itself has no story behind it. Callbacks aside, each movie and short is independent and has no connection to any other.

And honestly it doesn’t matter, in the end, because they are awesome. I’m a fan and I love their work.

1 Like

:thinking: Haven’t there already been several tribute series on YT and elsewhere which show silhouettes in the theater?

There have been riffs that fully recreate the premise down to having a “how we got trapped in space” theme song, with DIY robots and evil scientists sending them movies. Then there are some that just use more or less of that. I’m aware of one that had the actual Crow guest star.

It’s like I always say, if you’re going to rip someone off…go ahead…

I lost my train of thought.


Well hey, copying is the highest form of flattery!