If the SciFi Channel (or in its new incarnation as Syfy) had kept "Mystery Science Theater 3000" on the air, Michael J. Nelson would still be doing it, along with his comedy partners Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett.
But sadly, that adventure ended more than a decade ago, but the comedy hasn't. In fact, Nelson, Murphy (who voiced Tom Servo in the series) and Corbett (better known as Crow 2.0), will be back live on Aug. 19 as they make the cult favorite "Reefer Madness" even funnier than ever. Rifftrax, the movie riffing production company that includes the trio, has teamed up with NCM Fathom and Something Awful to present "Reefer Madness" live to more than 470 movie theaters across the country.
Originally produced in 1936 as a documentary against youth abuse of marijuana, the film has taken on cult status over the years, including a comedic colorization in the 1990s that will be a part of the Rifftrax production.
"A lot of people probably have heard of 'Reefer Madness,' but maybe they saw it in a dorm when they were not in a state to remember it," Nelson told Airlock Alpha's Alpha Waves Radio in a show that will broadcast Aug. 12. "It's a big showing of what is a beautiful print."
Performing live as they will Aug. 19 is different from producing episodes of MST3K back in the 1990s, but different in a good way.
"We have all had live performing experience, me as a standup comic, Kevin did on-camera improvisational stuff and Bill was a stage actor," Nelson said. "We enjoy the fact that yo finally get to have a little feedback. The studio experience, as fun as it is, can be a little sterile, and something you feel a little psychotic."
Originally called "Tell Your Children," "Reefer Madness" follows a group of high school students who are coerced by pushers into trying marijuana, the catalyst for an ill-fated party that soon descends into madness, according to a release from Rifftrax. Not long after the film's original release, filmmaker Dwain Esper decided to add a little punch to it by adding scenes of accidental murder, suicide and vehicular manslaughter.
Nelson will be the special guest Aug. 12 on Alpha Waves Radio, a show that will also feature some of the audio from interviews and roundtables with various movers and shakers in Hollywood during San Diego Comic-Con including Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci from "Fringe" and "Hawaii Five-0," former "Battlestar Galactica" beauty Grace Park, the cast of BBC's "Being Human," Eddie McClintock and Joanne Kelly from Syfy's "Warehouse 13," and more.
That show starts at 8 p.m. ET, and will be followed in the second hour by Alpha Waves Rewind, the live call-in show where listeners can share their thoughts about the industry, the show, or whatever is on their mind. If you can't listen to the live stream, the entire two-hour show will be available both at the BlogTalkRadio website, and also through the iTunes Store. Simply do a search for "Alpha Waves Radio," and you can subscribe for free.
Tickets for "Reefer Madness" are still available by visiting FathomEvents.com. Those attending the viewings will receive free digital goodies, including a downloadable short, avatars and a digital photo of Nelson, Murphy and Corbett.
Speaking of those three, they've now been riffing on movies for at least a couple decades both through MST3K and with Rifftrax. Will they keep doing it?
"It's something I really enjoy," Nelson said. "Sometimes I get the question, 'Do you ever get sick of it?' No, not really. It's a pretty fun gig to to have and to keep getting a chance to get better at it, and also to bring on new writers with new perspective and keep looking for different ways to do things.
"The material is endless, so obviously, I still love it."
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