RiffTrax LIVE: Christmas Shorts-stravaganza!
Other // Unrated // December 16, 2009
Review by John Sinnott | posted December 16, 2009
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As most of you reading this know, after the demise of Mystery Science Theater 3000, three of that show's alumni, head writer and host Michael J. Nelson, Kevin Murphy (Tom Servo) and Bill Corbett (Crow T. Robot), joined together once again to create Rifftrax; downloadable audio tracks that could be played along with a DVD and featured the crew's signature barbed jokes and obscure pop references.  On Wednesday December 16, 2009 Mike and his cohorts were joined by "Weird Al" Yankovic (for one short) and preformed a live show that was broadcast to theaters across the country by Fathom Events.  (This show will also have an encore performance on December 17th.)  RiffTrax LIVE: Christmas Shorts-stravaganza! is a series of Christmas themed short rather than a full movie, and it is incredibly hilarious.  I fervently hope that they release this on DVD as it's worth watching again and again.
Though I'm a big-time MST fan, I've always enjoyed the shorts more than the full length movies.  With movies there's always some slow parts, and occasionally the riffing can't keep up for a full 90 minutes.  With shorts however that rarely happens.  The jokes fly fast and funny for 10 minutes or so and then you move on to the next subject, which always opens up a whole new set of jokes.  That's why I was so excited when I heard that Rifftrax was doing a show full of shorts.  What could be better? 
Before the actual show began a series of slides with movie 'facts' were shown that kept the audience in stitches and primed them adequately for the show to come.  "Shaquille O'Neal was originally cast to star as Edward Cullen in Twilight" got a good reaction but the biggest laugh was earned by the card stating that "In Japan 'It's a Wonderful Life' was titled 'Suicide Man Can't Commit.'
The show itself started after a few quick introductions and featured an array of bizarre mainly Christmas themed shorts.  "Christmas Toy Shop" had children dreaming of meeting Santa who related to them an animated story about a toy shop being invaded by a giant spider that is ultimately repelled by toy soldiers.  As Mike remarked "I really don't feel it's Christmas time until there's been a good killing spree."
"A Visit to Santa" featured a Santa Claus who lives in a 50's style living room and takes a pair of young children to see displays of angels (?!) making toys and "Christmas Rhapsody" is the story of a short evergreen that's chopped down to be a Christmas tree... told from the point of view of the tree.  Mundo-bizzaro.
The best shorts however were "Three Magic Words" a musical about the joys of pork (where the three riffers were joined by Weird Al), and the 1948 Max Fleischer animated version of "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer."  The latter got the biggest laugh of the evening when Santa went into Rudolph's room in the middle of the night, woke up the sleeping animal, and said "Rudolph, I need you tonight" to which Kevin Murphy exclaimed a perfectly timed "Whoa!"  The crowd in the theater and in the live audience where the show was being broadcast laughed so long and hard that Michael later admitted that they had to skip three lines.
It's rare to keep the laughs coming at a steady pace for an hour and a half, but this show pulled it off.  This was one of the most enjoyable experiences I've had in a long time - go out and catch these guys live if you ever have the chance.  DVDTalk Collector Series.

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