In the 17 years since the cult TV series’ cancellation, the creative team behind Mystery Science Theater 3000 have never fully reunited in public. That changes this summer as part of the 10th anniversary of MST3K offshoot Rifftrax, with RiffTrax Live: MST3K Reunion Show, a live event to be performed in Minneapolis on June 28 and broadcast to theaters nationwide by Fathom Events. Tickets will be available April 15th from the official RiffTrax website.
The event will bring together the full set of cast members from the original 10 season run of Mystery Science Theater 3000, including Rifftrax founders Michael J. Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett, who will be joined by Frank Conniff, Trace Beaulieu, Mary Jo Pehl, Bridget Nelson and series creator and original host Joel Hodgson. The group will also be joined by Jonah Ray, host of the upcoming MST3K revival set to launch later this year. The event will begin with the group riffing on educational shorts, followed by a to-be-announced feature film for what RiffTrax is calling a “SUPER RIFF-A-PALOOZA.”
Beginning in 1988 on Minneapolis public access television, Mystery Science Theater 3000 was picked up by what would become Comedy Central in 1989 where it ran until 1997 before switching to the Sci-Fi channel for two more seasons. The two-hour long show was framed around a hapless janitor (played by Hodgson and later Nelson) kidnapped by mad scientists and forced to watch terrible movies in outer space (essentially, films whose rights were cheap enough for the show’s meager budget). To cope, the janitor and his makeshift robots crack wise and mock the films they (and we) are watching. Hodgson left MST3K in 1993, his role taken over by head writer Nelson.
In November 2015, Hodgson launched a kickstarter fund to revive Mystery Science Theater 3000, raising $6.3 million. The 14-episode revival will star Jonah Ray, Felicia Day, Patton Oswalt, Hampton Yount and Baron Vaughn, with Hodgson as executive producer. The series went into production in January.
RiffTrax was founded in 2006 by Nelson and fellow MST3K vets Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett as a continuation of the earlier show’s basic concept, minus the science fiction framing device. Starting out as downloadable audio tracks synced up with popular movies, the operation expanded to occasional live theatrical events the following year, the most recent of which riffed on notorious cult film Miami Connection.