On April 1st, 2014 humankind’s sense of humor was given a wonderful gift. The National Geographic Channel and the guys from RiffTrax (Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy, and Bill Corbett) got together for some nature, nit-picking, and riffs galore! I’ve always loved when the guys voiced animals. To me, it’s hilarious. Three shows were chosen, and I have broken the shows into tasty nuggets so that maybe you may wish to go and purchase the riffs (links provided at the end of the article) and ENCOURAGE NGC to have our laughing boys do some more shows. So without further delay, I bring you TOTAL RIFF OFF!!!
Show #1 – Killer Shrimp n’ Friends – This show is simply a bunch of different naughty animals and their rather enthusiastic storytellers.
Karen (VERY EXCITED): Watch out when Mantis meets mantis
Mike: Dial it back lady you’re talking about shrimp
GEOGRAPHER’S CONE SNAIL
Narrator: it’s designed to kill fish but it can take out people
Mike: Vengeance for centuries of escargot-eating
Narrator: On today’s menu lizards hidden under the bark of the tree…
Bill: Plus endless salad bar
The final scene with the honey badger ends with a juvenile devouring a rodent, “Let’s see those pansies at Meerkat Manor deal with something like this,” Mike exclaims.
MARLEY, THE THONG-EATING CAVALIER KING CHARLES SPANIEL (I do not exaggerate)
Dr. Ehrlicman: …We did see a tag that was protruding from her rectum
Mike: We then discovered she was a stuffed animal
The narrator here sounds SO MUCH like Mike, it isn't even funny … well … I guess it is particularly when one tries to imagine Mike narrating straight-face a story about a dog who eats a teenage girl’s thong underwear and has to have them (yeah … as in more than one) surgically removed.
THE DUNGLOE SEAL
This is the story of Sally the Seal who was domesticated by a kindly vet and could not readjust to a normal life. They become really close, the vet opens a seal sanctuary, and eventually Sally dies.
Miriam: He decided to bury Sally behind the house
Bill: Next to Old Yeller and Bambi’s Mom.
DINO BIRD - CASSOWARY
Narrator: You don’t usually think of a bird as being a killer…
Kevin: Unless you’re Alfred Hitchcock.
Most of the animals were described as “badass,” some even “bad@$$.” The adjective was used SO often that the show could have been renamed, BAD@$$ Animals.
Respect the cassowary….
Koala’s are lazy and disgusting, especially the babies. I shall NOT go into much detail here, just look up the word “pap” and that should tell you more than you need to know about Koalas—EWWWWW.
Karen “Doc” Halligan was the MOST annoying of all the NatGeo narrators/spokespeople. She could have been riffed on her own.
Narrator: Tasmanian Devils steal food … even from people.
Kevin: They’re probably stealing from you RIGHT NOW!!
More animals get introduced during the closing credits to Bill’s protests, “STOP INTRODUCING THINGS!!” They are so good with animal riffs, some of my favorites.
Show #2 – Demon Bat
This show centers on a greasy-haired guy searching for the Demon Bat in Mexico among people who do not want to be filmed. “Also, you may not want to say you’re hunting for a killer bat if you don’t want the entire village to point and laugh at you.” (Kevin) “These people even have their OWN language,” adventurer guy boasts. “It’s called SPANISH, or something like that.”(Bill).
After some theatrics and hullabaloo with the local shaman he makes his way to the … batcave … ahem. [ASIDE: This show reminded me of Geraldo Rivera’s failed attempt to show what was in one of Al Capone’s vaults. We now return to our show.] Our hero approaches the “monster’s lair.” “He says the same thing when he goes to the post office.” (Mike) After going through a tortuous and arduous journey through the cave of treacherous conditions with plenty of guano, he shouts, “That looks like a bat!” “Should’ve brought someone who has at least seen a bat.” (Mike) For some reason he switches gears to go elsewhere. Ah, those crazy Mayans and their crazy bats. Our intrepid explorer braves high water, washed out roads, red ants, and the locals to find something … ANYTHING … that resembles a demon bat. He gets advice from a native. “He just gave him directions to his crazy uncle’s machete-murder barn” (Mike).
Our traveler loses his guide, so he is on his own. “All historical research based on Indiana Jones movies” (Kevin). “If he wanted to be under the shadow of some bat-like god, he should have gone to a KISS concert.” (Bill) Twenty-one minutes into the show, we get to see FRUIT BATS!! Our guy takes a picture of some carvings and finally hits pay dirt, according to some knowledgeable advisor. “This is a cave, if I were a bat, I would live here,” he proudly states. “If he was a bat, he’d fly straight into a bug zapper” (Bill). Finally, half-way through the show – WE SEE THE BATS!! More … FRUIT-eating bats. “And so we continued our search for things we weren't really looking for.” (Bill) Our traveler interviews more scared villagers, and they talk about attacks on people and livestock. The decision is made to set a bat trap. He finally catches a vampire bat, with “blood on its breath.” “There’s hamburger on your breath, hypocrite.” (Mike) He wants to learn more and there are three more minutes of show to kill. “I smell a hippie somewhere.” (Kevin, as a bat) Thank goodness that horror is over.
“Nature, it’s GROSS!!” (Kevin)
Show #3 – Guy and a Goose- This show’s theme centers on people and animals. We go from a goose to gators to a cadaver-seeking spaniel.
DOMINIC AND THE GOOSE
Dominic began getting stalked by a goose, named Maria. “Turned out it was just Val Kilmer looking for work” (Mike). We have several minutes of guy and goose, and a music video and a park rehab project ensue. Through all this, a cycle wreck, and a trip to the zoo, we discover Maria is a MARIO.
Narrator: Some where this story will have a happy ending.
Bill: It will involve orange sauce.
We meet a gator removal crew probably in the Florida Everglades. “You’ll never make a crocodile mile out of me, coppers!!” (Kevin) “Hang on, it sounds like a Seinfeld episode is tryin’ to start” (Mike). “Still no shoes, huh?” (Bill) “That’s what the gator is for” (Mike).
Next up is a wild hog removal team checking traps. “Hopefully enough for one baconator” (Kevin). The crew decides to get more hands on. “Chasing a feral pig, what could possibly go wrong?” (Mike)
After a brief sidetrack to raccoons, our swamp crew returns to gators. “Knowing alligators can kill him is what makes him a legend.” (Kevin) “Gator-trappin’ is mostly about the laughs.” (Bill) Throughout this segment we all learn why PAUL of the gator crew is a LEGEND. I suspect he is also WINNING.
CADAVER DOGS: Belgian Shepherd Malinois vs. Cocker Spaniel
This segment centers on a business specializing in training cadaver dogs used in military and law enforcement situations and a customer, a contractor named Rodney, who has his heart set on a particular breed.
Owner: Rodney technically likes the Malinois, but I’m going to push a Cocker Spaniel on him.
Kevin: And while he’s distracted by that, I’m going to slap him in the face with a pug.
They go through different cadaver scents (up to and INCLUDING actual body parts) to show how impressive the spaniel (named Bullwinkle) truly is. “We've ALL murdered here, let’s be honest.” (Kevin) Bullwinkle gave a great performance. “He smelt it AND found out who dealt it.” (Mike) Never fear folks, the Rodney and Bullwinkle Show WILL go on.
All in all, I really LOVED the RiffTrax/NatGeo collaboration on April 1st. The shows have already aired again on NGC and are available at the links below for $4.99 per episode. It’s definitely worth the laughs because there is so much more than I can capture in this article. So please check it out, and write your cable providers, won’t you? Thank you.