Pop Culture

No joke: Former 'Mystery Science' riffers get April Fool's Day special

In the not-too-distant future, as the "Mystery Science Theater 3000" theme song once declared, three former "MST3K" riffers will be returning to television — at least for a day.

Michael J. Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett have made fun of industrial shorts, B-movies, and cinema blockbusters as part of Rifftrax.com, but now there's a new target in their sights — the nature shows of the National Geographic Channel.

Seth Mayer / Today
Rifftrax members Bill Corbett, Michael J. Nelson and Kevin Murphy will take on nature shows on April 1.

For an April 1 special called "Total Riff Off," they'll be cracking wise over three different one-hour episodes featuring classic clips from National Geographic shows, all in the wittiest-guys-in-the-room format that their fans know well. The clips they'll be mocking feature mantis shrimp, leaf-nosed bats, koalas and more.

When a biologist comments on how koalas don't seem to do much, Corbett notes, "Yeah, 'cause most animals have jobs." When the koalas are later declared, "lazy, smelly, and full of disease," Murphy cracks, "So they're like college students." Watching a cassowary bird swallow an egg whole, Nelson remarks, "I eat pot roast the same way." And animals aren't the only ones who come in for teasing. British cinematographer Richard Terry, host of "Man v. Monster," from which some of the show clips are taken, gets some gentle jibes, too. When Terry announces that his dream is to find and film real-life monsters, Nelson adds, "Mostly those people who drive slow in the passing lane and don't move."

"Total Riff Off" will air April 1 at 8 p.m. on the National Geographic Channel.

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