It’s no joke. The National Geographic Channel is bringing back Mystery Science Theater 3000 (MST3K) for April Fool’s Day.
MST3K literally changed entertainment as we knew it by talking over movies. The satirical series followed a janitor (Joel Hodgson) imprisoned on a space station and forced to watch bad movies. To keep him company, he builds two sentient robots: Tom Servo (Kevin Murphy) and Crow T. Robot (Bill Corbett). The trio maintain their sanity by providing humorous commentary known as “riffing.” After its cancellation head writer Mike Nelson along with Murphy and Corbett continued the show with RiffTrax, an online version with modern movies but just as bad.
RiffTrax will revive their comedy act with a 3-hour long special titled Total Riff Off, which will include excerpts from National Geographic Channel programs such as “Honey Badgers,” “Unlikely Animal Friends,” “Man v. Monster,” “Swamp Men,” “Alpha Dogs,” among others.
They’ll poke fun of animals like the cassowary, a prehistoric bird with particularly large females.
“Did you tell them they could put my weight on TV?” says one the comedians in a female voice. “You’ll pay for this Harold.”
For copyright reasons they won’t recreate the theater experience with the iconic image of their silhouettes but it’ll be just as funny. Despite rumors, they rarely ad-libbed those scenes.
“That’s mostly a myth,” Murphy told NatGeo. “We did that for the first three or four shows for local TV in Minneapolis, but when we started working for the networks, everybody just agreed that it was better when it was scripted and rehearsed. That was about the time that Mike Nelson came on, and I think our humor in general improved by about 100,000 percent.”
Total Riff Off premieres 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 1 (seriously).