Beyond the Potterverse: It’s Time for Rifftrax


Rifftrax? What’s that? Only the funniest thing you’ll see this year. But it turns out the boys Mike, Bill, and Kevin have been doing this for a very, very long time. Still confused? We’ll explain below.

Have you ever watched a movie with your besties and sometimes interject your own commentary as you view the film? That’s sort of the gist behind Rifftrax. Three comedians, Michael J. Nelson, Bill Corbett, and Kevin Murphy put their best jokes forward and ‘riff’ along with your favorite movie. They pack all sorts of punches and leave no stone unturned in a dad joke-y way, so you’re in for a bellyful of laughs.

But this isn’t a new thing. It’s actually been a thing since 1988. Back then, a little show called Mystery Science Theater 3000 debuted on a local Minneapolis station.

You may be familiar with it, but if you’re not, three guys sit in front of old, crappy B-Movies and make fun of them. Here’s the best example we can provide.

Best Brains

MST3K picked up steam after its debut, quickly landing a spot on Comedy Central (known back then as The Comedy Channel). It eventually settled on the Sci-Fi Channel before its (final) cancellation in 1999. These days, calling it a cult phenomenon is an understatement. The television legacy left behind by the cast and crew of MST3K is such that Netflix is rebooting it in 2017.

Mike, Bill, and Kevin were the three film riffers in MST3K‘s final few seasons. About 7 years after the show ended, the trio came roaring back for more, much to the delight of MSTies dying for a dose of comedy. That’s when Rifftrax was born.

So how does Rifftrax work? You buy an MP3 with ‘just the jokes,’ and sync it up to the corresponding movie you’re watching. There’s instructions on the MP3 to help you sync up. Here’s some jokes from their most recent riff, Jurassic World. Be warned, no one is safe from riffing. Not even Chris Pratt.

They also feature b-movie riffs, short films and Rifftrax Live events. They’ve also been known to riff single episodes of our favorite shows. Game of Thrones and Lost come to mind.

More from Harry Potter

So what’s this got to do with Harry Potter? Well, they’ve riffed them. All eight of them. And anyone familiar with MST3K knows these guys make fun of everyone and everything (including each other). They rip everyone a new one, especially Ron. They’re not too fond of Ron. How can we condone mockery of something so sacred?

Truth be told, there’s always going to be some things that just bother you or don’t make the most sense about your faves. TVTropes would define this as “It Just Bugs Me.” Objective humor can be a nice break in a cycle of negativity. It gets tiresome to point out the negative in a serious manner, so why not poke a little fun at it?

And seeing three guys make fun of Dumbledore’s beard or nickname Hermione “Her-whiney,” all the while knowing intricate details about Harry Potter lore is hilarious in and of itself. They even manage to make the word “mudblood” funny. That takes talent.

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There’s plenty more Rifftrax available, not just Harry Potter. Browse the catalog for yourself. And If you want to check out MST3K, some episodes are for sale on the site (though you can find full ones lurking on YouTube. We won’t tell if you won’t). Either way, we promise you’ll have a blast with Rifftrax or MST3K if you’re in need of silliness. And with the 2016 we’ve all been having, we’re just about due for some serious smiles.