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RiffTrax
are comedy audio commentaries of Hollywood movies, television programs and films featuring Mystery Science Theater 3000 comedians Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett riffing films in the style of MST3K, a TV show in which Nelson was the head writer, and later the host. RiffTrax are sold online and delivered by streaming video and download.

HistoryEdit

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Mike, Kevin and Bill of RiffTrax.com.

The site was launched by Nelson and Legend Films, now renamed Legend3D, in 2006 and is based in San Diego. In 2012, Rifftrax was purchased from Legend3D by Mike, Kevin and Bill and the RiffTrax CEO David G. Martin. As of December 2014, RiffTrax had 13 employees.[1]

The movies chosen for Mystery Science Theater 3000 were predominantly low-budget B-movies because the show itself was low-budget and producers could only afford films with expired copyright or that had otherwise cheap licenses. The idea of RiffTrax came about after Mystery Science Theater 3000 was canceled and Nelson had researched and consulted a lawyer about the possibility of directly releasing DVDs of films with the commentaries included. But Nelson realized this initial idea was not feasible since he would be "sued out of existence." Instead, the best way to distribute the commentaries would be to sell them independently of the films, to avoid having to obtain the rights to distribute the movies themselves. There would be no legal or monetary restrictions to prevent Nelson from producing them, though viewers would have to provide the movies themselves.

The early RiffTrax were almost all solo efforts on Mike's part, but it soon became apparent that there was a strong demand for them, and Nelson was quickly able to recruit more riffers for the project. Most official RiffTrax (not counting fan-made iRiffs and the spin-off RiffTrax Presents series) have a stable cast of Mike and former Mystery Science Theater 3000 co-stars Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett, a line-up that happens to be identical to that of The Film Crew and the last three seasons of MST3K. That said, the guest slots vary often; other MST3K alumni have been featured, such as Mary Jo Pehl and Bridget Nelson, in addition to Internet personalities Richard Kyanka (of Something Awful), Josh Fruhlinger (writer of the blog The Comics Curmudgeon) and Chad Vader, as well as actors Neil Patrick Harris, Fred Willard, and Joel McHale, and satirist Weird Al Yankovic. Nelson has said that he would like to bring in other guests. The enthusiasm of guest riffers for the project led to the establishment of RiffTrax Presents, a series of tracks exclusively hosted by guest riffers and sanctioned by Nelson. The success of the guest format is such that "Three Riffer Editions" of some films previously solo riffed by Mike have been produced for the VOD service, which feature new riffs by Mike in conjunction with Murphy and Corbett, and Mike has ceased producing solo riffs since 2007 (although Matthew J. Elliott has produced some solo tracks for RiffTrax Presents).

In 2017, RiffTrax made some of their features available on the streaming service pluto.tv. This material (films, shorts, and clip collections) is shown on a schedule with commercial interruptions and is not available for download or viewing on demand. Pluto.tv also has a dedicated channel for MST3K.

RiffographyEdit

CastEdit

Guest CastEdit

WritersEdit

See AlsoEdit

GalleryEdit

External LinksEdit

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