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‘MST3K’ Vets Return to TV, but Not Where You’d Expect

The stars of 'Total Riff Off'
RiffTrax

If you’ve been praying for ‘Mystery Science Theater 3000”s triumphant return to TV, this is as close as you’re likely to get. Three veteran passengers of the Satellite of Love will return to the air on April Fools Day at 8PM on … Comedy Central? (Nope.) … SyFy? (Nuh-uh) … NatGeo? (Yup!)

When the news broke that there may be a televised ‘MST3K’ reunion of sorts on its way, there was lots of skepticism. The air date and cable channel gave many cause to pause. Is this some sort of elaborate April Fools Day joke in the making? Not likely, unless you think some of the funniest guys on Earth would play such an ineffectual, complicated, unfunny gag.

Here’s the deal: Mike Nelson, Bill Corbet and Kevin Murphy will be returning to the airwaves doing what they do best — making fun of stuff — this time as the RiffTrax guys. RiffTrax was Nelson’s nifty idea that carried the snark from the canceled show online, where you could download audio tracks meant to be played back while watching whichever movie was serving as target.

This allowed the three to break out of the B-movie trappings of ‘MST3K’ to riff on mainstream movies and classics like ‘Star Wars,’ while simultaneously dodging copyright infringement.

The new show, ‘Total Riff Off,” has three episodes in the can, but it’s unclear if a full series is in the works. This time, Nelson, Corbet and Murphy will be targeting National Geographic’s own programming, from nature specials to reality shows.

It’s doubtful any ‘MST3K’ robot alter-egos will make an appearance (someone else holds the rights to the brand), but it’s also doubtful it will matter. Funny is funny, and these guys are funny, with decades of experience ripping on everything from industrial shorts to ‘Troll II’ behind them.

Next: Exclusive Interview With 'MST3K''s Trace Beaulieu

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