What is Riffing?
Riffing is the making of jokes while watching a movie or short film. It is best to have short jokes, interspersed between dialogue. Running gags, obscure refrences, puns, insults all make up the riffers arsenal. It is best to riff terrible, yet not boring movies or shorts. Comedies are well…funny and if something’s insanely boring, then jokes become strained.
See previous post for example…
Now riffing goes back a while to the horror host, who would interrupt the movie to bring you commercial breaks and small sketches. A few would actually mess with the film for the purposes of making a joke, but they never really were there with the audience watching the movie. This would change in 1988 with the airing of Mystery Science Theater 3000.
Mystery Science Theater 3000, aka MST3K, was on the air for 10 seasons (sort of 11) with many changes but at the end, riffing became a solidified form of “commentary”
A few years later the second generation cast of MST3K (Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy, Bill Corbett) went on to do The Film Crew, in essence the same thing and then Rifftrax.
Rifftrax is a website that you can buy mp3 riffs off of and then sync up those to the riffed movie. They’ve done everything from Harry Potter to The Room. It’s proven to be quite popular and has reinvigorated the riffing genre.
Meanwhile, most of the other MST3K cast has founded the group Cinematic Titanic, which does live and prerecorded riffings of terrible b-movies. They’re less well known then Rifftrax, but there live preformances are becoming increasingly popular, even inspiring rifftrax to do their own.
Stay Tuned For More!