Who is your favorite riffer overall?

For me, it’s Trace as Crow. His comedic timing and tone was so perfect that with just a single word or two he could have me laughing uncontrollably.

So who is your all-time favorite riffer?



I’m only saying Eddie Nelson because he’d throw a can of beer at my head otherwise.


This is a really tough call, but my favorite would also have to be Trace/Crow. Literally every riffer has been good – J. Elvis, Joel, Mike, Jonah, Kevin, etc. – but Trace as Crow just brings something magical to it. And I really like Bill as Crow, so this is saying something.

I need look no further than “hua hua” for proof of this.


Serious answer - there’s a richness to the history of MST3K riffing talent.

That being said, Trace as Crow has gotta take that. He was a damn magician in the role and one hell of an impressionist.


In terms of sheer talent, versatility and comic timing, I will also have to go for Trace. It is a tough call, but I think he wins out over the others.


Joel, I love his delivery, sometimes what he’s saying might not be all that funny on its own, but his vocal inflection sells it. (like when Sindbad is trying and failing to haul in some golden fish, and he (Joel as Sinbad) frustratingly says “What is this?!” Joel’s delivery made the line hilarious).

But they are all fantastic. I always felt Josh was under appreciated, and I’m glad he was able to show off his riffing prowes on Cinematic Titanic. He was amazing there.

Trace, yeah, might be the shows MVP during his years.

And Bill had big shoes to fill, but his cranky take on Crow was very funny.

Everyone else stinks… HaHa, na, I’m kidding, but if I don’t stop I’ll just end up talking about them all.


I’ll likely jump on the Trace as Crow bandwagon, as his humor almost always hits with me. Just the right amount of snark, usually. Close runner up would be Jonah. He’s just awesome.


Kevin Murphy gets my vote.

Tom Servo singing is the best.


I’m going to echo a lot of folks and go with Trace as Crow, though I loved Bill, too. I think I just preferred the less cantankerous Crow.

I do know that the times that I’ve laughed hardest, it has usually been at Bill as Crow being cranky.


Kevin Murphy had the best in-theater pipes. There was no one who could belt out a song like his Servo.

Just because Murphy loomed large as Servo, that doesn’t take away from the great character/riffing work that you saw J. Elvis Weinstein bring in the early phase of MST3K.

And I’ll say this for Bill: he had a really unenviable task of replacing one of the most beloved performers in MSTory, an individual who was there from the beginning and spent years playing the character of Crow. But Bill stepped up in grand style when the MST3K gang needed someone to step up to the role, and he knocked it out of the park by doing it his way, not Trace’s way.

Also, nothing but love for the Netflix era riffing crew.


Trace as crow for me too. It’s interesting how that’s trending so far. His little one-liners that come and go almost imperceptibly are just perfect.


Agreed. It sometimes changes a bit with my mood, but Joel always wins out. His sense of humor is what got me in to the show. I feel like I’m slowly turning in to my dad and I remember watching MST3K with my family growing up. Dad would often have to explain the jokes we didn’t understand. I’m still catching jokes today I don’t remember or didn’t understand, and Joel just keeps getting better.


Honestly I can’t choose just one. Each has their own talent and style. I have a solid respect for Trace as Crow, but also for Bill as Crow and now for Hampton. I do have to give Joel major props for knowing how to spot talent. I really didn’t think I could like anyone as Servo other than Kevin, but Baron has won me over. I very much appreciate that Baron and Connor are keeping Servos singing going. Damn, the more I think about it the more impossible it is to choose.


all are great at different times, and sometimes the same time. the more years i continue to watch the greater my appreciation for everyone’s style & ability continues to amaze, sooth, and/or crack me up.


I also like all the performers, but my answer for one that’s done the biggest ascent in respect is J. Elvis Weinstein. He was admittedly a total afterthought for me just a few years ago.

He’s easily the MVP of the freewheeling KTMA episodes and brought a uniquely dry style of sarcasm to Servo. Perfect fit for the laid-back Season One episodes.


Trace/Crow, but I love them all.


They’re all SO GOOD! For me, though, I guess my trifecta is Joel, Trace, and Kevin.


“You’re in it now, up to your neck!”

I was watching The Black Scorpion the other day and I forgotten how much he did Bing Crosby early on (and how dark it got!).


I mean, they’re all amazing. But Joel is definitely my favorite. I love the very dry, deadpan delivery he does sometimes.

(Also, this has less to do with riffing but I like to have mst3k on in the background, sometimes even when going to sleep, and Joel’s voice is somehow just the most pleasant to have buzzing as background noise haha)


@ArtCrow You said it, JE Weinstein rocks the KTMA season! His Servo is very much the model for Kevin’s. It is too easy to focus on his host segments, which really aren’t that bad, although the voice he used was a little grating. But his riffing was great, and in Cinematic Titanic he is a stand-out among a troupe of amazingly talented comedians.

Also a little love for Frank. He didn’t really get to riff much, but now on CT (and I assume The Mads Are Back) you get to appreciate his drole, offbeat, slightly naughty style. It is clear from he reaction of his costars in post-MST projects that he is pretty obscene when not performing for the fans of a puppet show.

Among the riffers we got to see regularly, I would probably go with Bill as my favorite. If we add in the rest of the riff universe, MJ surges forward and past everyone else. Her timing is wonderful, and her voice is so expressive. To be fair, she never had to work a puppet while she riffed.