In the history of film some terribly awful movies were created. Movies that were so bad that they should have been sealed in concrete, dropped into the ocean, and left for the fishes of the deep to feast upon. Unfortunately, two mad scientists decided it would be an ingenious idea to force one of their wormy employees to watch said movies, and monitor his mind…after shooting him into space, of course. Any true fan of the sci-fi world should know just what show I’m talking about, but for those normies who don’t, I speak of the greatest show to ever have been on Comedy Central and The Sci-fi Channel…Mystery Science Theater 3000.
Beginning in the late 80’s as the brain-child of Joel Hodgson, MST3K has become a crucial part every sci-fi freak’s spirit, and continues to have a major cult following to this very day. Frank Conniff (who filled the shoes of Dr. Clayton Forrester’s accomplice TV’s Frank) was kind enough to allow this humble MSTie the time to ask him a few questions:
How did you land the gig of “TV’s Frank” on MST3K?
I was a comedian in Minneapolis and I was friends with Joel, Mike and Trace. When an opening came up on the show, they hired me.
What was your favorite “Invention Exchange”?
I like the “Rat Pack Chess Set.”
Out of all the horrifically bad films you and Dr. Forrester tortured Joel and the bots with, what one would you say was the absolute worst?
“Manos: The Hands Of Fate.”
For those who don’t know, were all the riffs done on-the-fly, or were they pre-scripted? If they were pre-scripted, could you give a brief description of how it was done?
It was all scripted. We all worked in a room together, then we’d go off individually and edit the script.
Who do you think would win in a fight: Pearl or Gypsy?
What was your favorite MST3K moment?
It’s hard to say, there were so many great moments.
It looks like you guys had a killer time making the show. Was it as much of a blast as it appears?
Yes, most of the time it was a lot of fun.
Do you have any crazy on-set stories?
I don’t have any specific on-set stories, I just know that I frequently blew takes from laughing so hard.
Would you consider the MSTies a dying breed?
Not at all. Our new project, “Cinematic Titanic,” and Mike’s project, “Rifftrax,” are keeping it alive.
Did you have any epic adventures after MST3K?
I moved to Hollywood after MST3K, and it’s all been one big epic adventure.
Will you be a part of Cinematic Titanic this year?
Absolutely! This will be Cinematic Titanic’s busiest year so far.
Besides the cast of Cinematic Titanic, do you still keep in touch with the other MST3K cast?
I don’t see them often enough.
Since his work on MST3K, Frank has gone on to grace such shows as Sabrina: The Teenage Witch, Invader Zim, and the podcast The Radio Adventures of Dr. Floyd. He is currently the host of Cartoon Dump, a monthly comedy/music revue that ends by showcasing some of the worst cartoons of all time.
On February 20th, I will be venturing to the realm of Somerville, MA to see Frank Conniff perform in Cinematic Titanic with some of the old cast members of MST3K. Much like MST3K, Cinematic Titanic has silouetted people poking jabbs at terrible B-Movies. The differance between the two is this show is live, and the actors aren’t just chill’n on the bottom right of the screen (they crawl all over the damn place!).
As soon as I finish stuffing my guts back inside my body from laughing so hard, I shall inform you all as to how my Cinematic Titanic experience goes. In the mean time, fill your Friday with Frank Conniff and MST3K, or he will cause you some DEEP HURTING!
(RBM would like to thank Frank Conniff for his time and for not shooting any of us into the far reaches of space durring this interview)