On this special edition of The Word Balloon podcast, we speak with writer/performer Kevin Murphy, best known to fans as the voice of Tom Servo, the Gumball machine shaped robot sidekick to humans Joel Hodgeson and Mike Nelson (and follow robot Crow) on the 90's cable comedy show Mystery Science Theater 3000.
"I started playing Tom Servo in the 2ND season, the first year on the Comedy Central, but I was involved with every episode of MST3k from the pilot of the local TV show, to the last episode aired on the Sci-Fi Channel."
Murphy is still cracking wise, firing one-liners at the screen, while fans view films from the cheesiest black and white b-movies to today's box office hits as a member of RiffTrax.com with former MST3K co-hosts and writers Mike Nelson and Tom Corbett (The 2ND actor who played Crow)
Just like their cable shows, Rifftrax sells .mp3 performances of the trio lampooning sci-fi staples like Plan 9 From Outer Space and newer films like The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy, The Harry Potter films,and even The Dark Knight.
"We're the commentary that isn't available on your DVD, but should be."
Kevin also talks about the upcoming nationwide live Christmas Rifftrax show December 16, 2009 and an encore presentation the 17th beaming to nearly 500 theaters in the country.
"We did our first one in August, and the response was so good we decided that this was the best way that the biggest amount of people can get the best experience of what we do live , and it's a heck of a lot cheaper too.
We're going to be doing a whole bunch of short subjects, like stocking stuffers...and we're going to have Weird Al Yankovic riffing for a part of the show with us."
After 20 years of doing this type of comedy performing Murphy and the other Riffers are still delivering great entertainment spoofing old and new film stories for the masses.
"It's the allure of talking back to your TV set... all of us have wanted to do it and we just became professionals at it ... people get cathartic respones through us and have the same effect... We've become experts at it, and doing it has given me the chance of working with some of the funniest people I've ever met."
"Twilight has been a revelation its been one of most popular riffs to date, just huge... boyfriends and girlfriends are watching riffs together of it and Titanic. Big goofy melodramas are perfect for us to do, so we can't wait for New Moon to be on DVD. "
Is there any innovations of film Murphy sees that are advances in movie making?
"I enjoy 3-D films. People are getting better making them all the time. If it's not just set to sensory overload, I think that's where some artistry can come from... however I'm scared about Avatar because it looks relentlessly stupid..."
Among the best Rifftrax include their performances on Daredevil and last years hits Iron Man and The Dark Knight. Is Murphy a comics fan?
"Didn't read comic books... it's easy to do riff them because I venture to say there hasn't been a great film made out of a comic book (laughs) I know I'll get boos and hisses saying that, but it's my opinion and I own it."
You can find information on the Rifftrax Christmas Shorts Stravaganza Show here.