The 5 Funniest Episodes of Mystery Science Theater 3000

I still stand firmly behind my belief that MST3K was one of the funniest shows that was ever on TV and one of the simplest ideas made easily consumable for a wider audience. The idea of taking terrible old films that are in the public domain and making fun of them is brilliant, and for them to have been smart enough to often riff on the terrible foreign ripoffs of great American films only made it that much better. And from Troy and Abed watching Kickpuncher and making fun of it on Community, to gags in Family Guy, the far reaching hand of the show can still be felt today.

For some viewers, it can take a little while to acclimate yourself with the brand of humor used on the Mystery Science Theater, but once you are a fan, you tend to be fan for life. Whether you enjoy subtle references or are a fan of more in-your-face humor, the show had something for everyone. In case you may have missed it when it aired so many years ago, here are five installments that go down in the annals of history as the greatest MST3K episodes ever.


There is so much I want to say about this movie, but I will hold all the good stuff for my impending “Movies So Bad They Are Good” article. What I will say is that this film is so terrible, that it actually becomes enjoyable, especially after multiple viewings. I have to give credit where credit is due, though, and I would have never known about the constant absurdity of this film if it were not for the MST3K guys, who riff on it so perfectly.


There are so many things wrong with this film, that to pick just one would be impossible, but this version of the film is so riotous for their constant riffing on Torgo, the strange man servant for Manos and his amazing robe.

He is like that creepy guy who lives across from the playground and always has a trench coat on.

From the faux lesbian cat fights, to the surprisingly bleak ending, there is just so much to mock here, and you will honestly never find anyone who can dissect this film any better than these three.  This particular episode ends up being so consistently funny that your stomach muscles will hurt the next day from laughing through the whole thing. I call it the MST3K ab workout, and it’s the closest I’ll ever come to a gym.

Best Riff: Their unending attacking of Torgo


Ok, hands down, this is my favorite episode of the show. This particular riff actually caused this film (much like the aforementioned Manos) to become a cult hit, and the MST3K episode actually garnered so much attention for this miscarriage of a movie that the makers went on to do a sequel. Quick note to the makers of cult films: They work because they suck, please do not make sequels, it just kills the joy.

Hobgoblins is one of those tiny creatures terrorizing full sized adults movies that became so popular after Gremlins. Thing is, Gremlins nailed it right off the bat, and everyone else is just a pale ripoff. Well, Critters was pretty cool, but I digress.


This episode is so good, you get the whole thing, consequences be damned.

So like I said, this was the episode I watched that solidified the fact that I was going to be a fan for life, and sure enough, I have been since. The film is just SO bad that you feel like the director (In this case, the porno name sounding Rick Sloan) must have tried to make this film bad, going out of his way to have the worst special effects ever paired up with some of the worst acting, literally, ever.

The scene where they name them marks the exact moment I fell madly in love with this show.

From the rake fight, to the strange old security guard, this is another case where the movie is so bad that it just makes the riffs that much better.

Best Riff: The introduction to the Hobgoblins, where they are all named

Space Mutiny

A good friend once said to me, over a pint of mead, ” I am surprised there are not more terrible Star Wars ripoffs” to which I chortled and immediately replied: Oh, but there are my friend. A good many of them were just made in other countries and we were spared the atrocity of viewing them, to which he laughed heartily out loud and then we went back outside to feed our direwolves. Wait, this is not my Game of Thrones fan fiction…

Sorry about that, been a real crazy week.

Space Mutiny was South Africa’s attempt at a Star Wars movie, and if you are thinking, when you read that, what I was thinking when I wrote it, then you KNOW how on the pulse of modern science fiction South Africa is, so how can this movie not be good?

Honestly, this one is so bad it is just bad. Watching this film without MST3K is a damn near impossible feat, and one I would not recommend to most.

To indicate how bad this film really is, all I need to say is this movie made me swear off space ships for 5 years, and me swearing off space ships is like is like me swearing off cake, it is just unheard of.


As soon as they say “Slab Bulkhead” my laughing starts, and does not stop for almost two minutes straight.

Thankfully, the MST3K guys got their hands on this film, and from the first frame to the last, this is one of those cases when all three riffers were just in the zone. The jokes come about a dozen a minute, and there are few weak lines in the bunch. It is worth it just to see the five dollar sets and peculiar casting choices that permeate this cinematic disaster.

Best Riff: The constant renaming of the main character

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  1. This is and was my favorite show of all time. Did you know that their dvd’s are actually set up for you to copy them? They have absolutely know antipiracy measures and actually encourage you to copy them. I want this show back so bad and I know it kind of lives on with Mike Nelsons Riff Tracks but it is not the same.

  2. Ugh I love MST3k! I miss it dearly, but the same guys (Mike, Crow, Servo) riff modern movies over at Rifftrax.

    No ‘Time Chasers’? The story of an uderwhelming hero who can fly back in time and features a library as the villain’s lair! That’s my absolute favorite, possibly because the creators gave them the rights to the movie before knowing they were going to be made fun of.

  3. My favorite was the Leech Lake episode in which the dumbest townspeople are sent to blow up the monsters in the lake because they’re expendable. The guys sing a song about it (“We’re a Danger to Ourselves and Others”) which includes the following line in the chorus:

    “How dumb are we, Uncle Dad?”

  4. This list is incorrect, you have at least one episode with Mike instead of Joel, and therefore, can NOT be one of the best. Sorry, but you are wrong.

  5. Laserblast is one of my favorites.

    Also, anyone who wants to continue to get their MST3k fix can listen to the guys on RiffTrax. They rip on current movies (sans the robots and pseudonyms) and it’s just as funny.

    “The Day After Tomorrow” and “Willy Wonka” stand out (WW&TCF is the original and has NPH ripping on the flick!) An additional one to check out is: “Birdemic: Shock and Terror” one of the worst movies of all time made in 2010.

  6. Hahaha, I love it! This show brings the fans to the surface! I honestly wanted to list more, but I pretended this article was an introduction for people who hadn’t seen the show, so I kept it small and easily contained.
    @ Bob, funny you say that. My intro paragraph (honestly) had a section debating the Mike versus Joel ( which is a very hot button topic for us fans) but I decided it watered the whole intro down a little too much, so I took it out. That, my friend, is a great debate, and one that has no right or wrong answer. I am a Mike guy myself, but I have a shit-ton of respect for Joel, because it is his baby. But hey, even Joel admits Mike is better on camera, so there you go. I think Joel is a little more cerebral, usually, and Mike is easier as a pick up and go kind of treat. Did any of that make sense? I hope so. When all else fails, ROWSDOWER! * runs out of the room

  7. I think Mitchell was a pretty great episode. Joe Don Baker is just a mess in that movie and you get Joel and Mike in that episode. What more could you want?

  8. If you loved the show will love The MST3K crew now does modern movies. They get around the licensing fees by just recording an audio track that you sync with your own copy of the movie. Most of there rifftracks are around $3. Both Star Wars trilogies will make you hurt. a lot.

  9. A lot of mst3k is on Netflix I Recently watched one I’ve never seen before simply titled werewolf. Definitely one of their funniest episodes I couldn’t imagine making a top 5 list tho there is just too many classic episodes.

  10. This is my favorite show of all time. My username is actually taken from the MST3K movie. (“Wait, Meechum!” -Character in movie. “You’re holding a mutant turd!” -Crow. Favorite line in the movie) I own all the volumes that are currently out on DVD and actually watch one just about every night before bed. I will say this, while the show is an absolute laugh riot, nothing can put me to sleep faster save for mixing prescription drugs and alcohol.

  11. Wow. The only way I even got through Manos was because of MST3k. And even then, barely. My favorite movie (but I have yet to see them all) Is Fugitive Alien II. That forklift song just kills it. I love that. I call them “boomerang jokes” when they come back over and over and that’s why it’s funny. Those are my favorite kind. I miss this show dearly. But, Rifftrax is great. I’ve watched Harry Potter, Twilight, Tremors… so funny.

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