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Running Gag / RiffTrax

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Yes. Seriously. There are THAT many Running Gags in RiffTrax.

  • Llllladies...
    Mike Harber: Ladies...
    Kevin: Hey, that's our line!
  • Dogs or even references to dogs will inevitably get Mike to riff on the Baha Men and "Who Let the Dogs Out?"
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  • Schnappi, das kleine Krokodil
  • Horatio Sanz's obesity
    • And Jorge Garcia's.
    • And John Goodman's. And Louie Anderson's.
    • Plus Chaz Bono. Credit where it's due, at least they don't make fun of him for being trans.
  • Nick Nolte. In any given shot of alcohol, garbage, rambling or flailing madmen/drunkards, people lying unconscious, derelict or crumbling buildings, people squatting, muddy pools, cars speeding, there is a disturbingly high chance of an elaborate joke about how utterly drunk and revolting Nick Nolte is.
    • In more recent riffs this is often accompanied by Mike's Nick Nolte impression, with which he delivers a brief explanation as to why he is in whichever scene the riffers are mocking (e.g., finding himself in Oz after being flung there by a tornado made of his own feces, or appearing in a town overrun with zombies in order to siphon a turned over truck full of benzine). This was also a running gag within The Curse of Bigfoot riff, which featured three or four Nolte monologues.
      • This tendency gets Lampshaded in Breaker! Breaker! when "Nick Nolte" (actually Mike doing the aforementioned impersonation) breaks into the studio to threaten the riffers, having developed a sixth sense as to when they were about to crack a joke about him.
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    • Similarily, Gary Busey.
  • It stopped around the time of his death in 2016, but in early riffs it was nearly a given that there would be a joke about Abe Vigoda and his advanced age.
  • Crispin Glover gets brought up if they need someone lanky and/or weird.
  • Expect there to be at least one The Room reference in riffs made after they originally riffed said movie.
  • The WNBA.
  • Rip Torn's alcoholism.
  • Daddy Day Camp.
  • "Sam, You Made the Pants Too Long."
  • If a character wakes up from a nightmare, or has a premonition of doom, it's always about a low point in their actor's career.
    • Similiarly, they will state that they refuse to take advice from/take seriously/etc. anyone who was in "Movie X."
  • Any scene filled with wreckage or desolation is "Detroit."
    • Any snowy scene, especially if in the middle of a raging blizzard, is Minnesota in July.
  • Any male character removing his shirt is going for ''The McConaughey look."
    • Often accompanied with a drawling "Alright alright!" Sometimes a marijuana/hippie reference is chucked in for good measure.
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  • Any monkey is mistaken for Chris Kataan.
  • Tom Waits, especially if Kevin Murphy's involved.
  • Threats of physical violence for bad puns.
    • Also, Mike's (and the others' to a lesser extent) obsession with bacon, though even this is tested during their viewing of the inside of a meat factory in This is Hormel.
  • Scornful references to According to Jim.
    • Interestingly, one of the first mentions of the show (in Firewall) had Kevin speaking well of it.
  • References to Kelsey Grammer's car accident
  • "Cerebro?" "Yes, Magneto?"
    • They spent a lot of time trying to guess what different characters' X-Man names were, by making a bland—and often wordy—description of the character's mutant ability and/or appearance, and adding the letter O to the end. This despite the fact that there are only two characters in the trilogy whose names end in an O (Magneto and Pyro). Not to mention that both those names are real words. It even carried over to the riff of The Dark Knight, where they guessed that Scarecrow's name was "Gunny-Sack-Head-O."
    • For a bit of running-gag-ception, this is only a riff used by Bill and Mike, who riffed X-Men (this was before Bill and Kevin officially joined the site). When Kevin tries to use it, they yell at him.
  • Bonesaw references. Often variations on "BONEsaw is REA-DYYYYYYY!"
  • In the Twilight commentary, Mike, Kevin, and Bill keep saying "Line?" whenever Bella and Edward have a moment of awkard silence, which is at least half the film. This also appeared in The Last Airbender (which featured Harpo from Twilight).
    • Taken Up to Eleven in Breaking Dawn: Part 2 when they keep cutting back and forth between all the people ready for the final showdown, and every cut is accompanied by a 'Line?'
    • In the New Moon commentary, they keep trying to guess whether Bella's next line will be a full sentence.
    • In the Eclipse commentary, they interpret the characters' excessive pausing as contempt for their own dialogue.
    • For Breaking Dawn: Part 1 this is mostly exchanged for reminders of how the book couldn't possibly fit in one movie, during the numerous time-wasting montages.
    • After experiencing the soundtrack of New Moon, Mike will find any excuse to deliver his rendition of "It's a possibilityyyyyyyyy" in a whiny falsetto.
    • They get "Hey, Arizona, how you likin' da rain, girl?" into each of the Twilight movies at least once.
    • Every film in the series gets at least one joke about how much the Riffers hate Arby's.
  • Black Friday.
  • For the Harry Potter movies, jokes about how mind-numbing and soul-sucking Quidditch matches are.
    • They do the same thing with Pod Racing from The Phantom Menace but since then, the running gag has been that other soul-sucking sequences are so bad it makes them wish for a Pod Racing scene.
    • The "Wizards are minions of Satan" jokes throughout the Harry Potter movies.
      • This gag is also picked up in the Twilight series and other works with supernatural elements. For example, at Edward and Bella's wedding, they remark that the priest's Bible burst into flames, and when all of the wedding guests disappear so that Bella and Edward can have a surreal romantic kiss, their "unholy union must have caused the Rapture."
    • Ever since the word "Mudblood" was introduced in the second movie, they go out of their way to make sure this is referenced every time Hermione is onscreen.
  • Pointing out that a sequence in the movie is similar to a video game, except they don't get to play it
    "Weird Al" Yankovic: (In Jurassic Park, while Dr. Grant is swinging away from the falling car during the T-Rex attack) This is just like Drake's Fortune.... except I don't get to play it.
  • Budweiser American Ale bashing.
  • "WHERE ARE THEY!!??"
    "Does Batman ever get confused and just shouts "WHERE AM I?"
  • Supporters of Congressman Ron Paul include Sauron, the Joker, and Darth Vader.
  • Having two of them make a similarly-themed joke about a character, then have the third one drop the ball.
    (From 300)
    General Guy: ...Sons to carry on their name.
    Bill: Though Johnson's son may not be the marrying type, If you know what I mean.
    Mike: He's considering moving to Athens, if you catch my drift.
    Kevin: We think he may be a homosexual, if you can read between the lines.
    Mike: Yes, thank you, Kevin.
  • In Star Wars Episodes 4, 5, and 6, they get a lot of mileage out of referencing things from the prequel trilogy that change the way you look at the original, including R2-D2's ability to fly and the revelation of C-3PO's creator, and facts about Luke and Leia's parents.
    Leia: I was very young when [my mother] died.
    Bill (as Leia): Like hours old, but I did know her.
    Leia: She was kind but sad.
    Bill (as Leia): Yeah, sure did learn a lot about her in those few hours.
    • Luke Skywalker never did get those power converters from Tosche Station in A New Hope...a fact repeatedly lamented all the way through to Return of the Jedi.
    • Not to mention Anakin's extreme hatred for sand (in the prequels at least).
    • During their riffs of Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, whenever Ki Adi Mundi is on screen, there will be an obligatory reference to the fact that his head looks like a penis.
      [During the scene where he gets shot dead]: "Oh please, no, not in the junk...well, seeing as I'm nearly all junk, do your worst!"
    • They demand that Porkins be avenged throughout Empire and Jedi, and later movies with airplanes come with the hope that Porkins will emerge from the cockpit alive and well.
    • Also a fair number of riffs during Episodes 4-6 that only make sense if you've seen (or at least read about) The Star Wars Holiday Special.
  • Mary Poppins seems to have just been murdered any time they spot an umbrella without an owner.
  • In their Cloverfield riff, being glad the movie fell into a coma and trying to get away before it wakes up, every time the camera is dropped.
  • 300: Many, many jokes about "This! Is! SPARTA!!" and the film's blatant homoeroticism.
  • For superheroes with animal motifs, (like Wolverine, Batman and Spider-Man) referencing the abilities they have that don't fit the motif and (typically unpleasant) abilities/behaviors they lack from their animal motif.
    Mike Nelson: Do Wolverines like cigars? Is that a fact I somehow missed out on?
    Bill Corbett: Oh! His retractable metal claws can cut through hardened steel. Just like a real wolverine.
    • Especially disgusting with Spider-Man, where Bill complains that Spider-Man doesn't liquefy the insides of his enemies to slurp them.
    • The werewolves in the Twilight movies get a similar treatment.
    • And the Wizard in the Batman serial.
    Mike (as Batman): As long as the Wizard has even the smallest thing about him that is even remotely wizard-like, I'm sure we'll track him down soon.
  • Jack Nicholson's golf clubs.
  • Blatant product placement. For instance, the giant posters advertising Dramamine (and later the huge banner for Thrush Performance Products) are paid a lot of attention in the riff for Mutant.
    • Alternatively, they'll claim that the appearance of some local, small business is shameless product placement. For example, during one scene of Over the Top, Mike keeps praising Kathy's Florist, a store which can be dimly seen in the background.
  • Some restaurants are mocked by RiffTrax:
    • Arby's, especially their Big Montana sandwich.
    • Taco Bell used to get heat from them, such as when the humans are fed green paste-like "food" in Battlefield Earth, but not so much any more.
    • Denny's.
    • Wendy's, particularly references to the Baconator, a sandwich from them.
    • This tends to be cyclic. After references to the above restaurants tapered off, Golden Corral was given the "honor." note 
    Rey (about the Millennium Falcon): The garbage will do!
    Kevin: "The garbage will do", Golden Corral's new slogan.
  • "So you're really going to go with that performance."
  • Any scene of people walking and talking is inspired/directed by Aaron Sorkin.
  • An animal with a high-pitched, screeching voice frequently gets compared to Kelly Clarkson.
    (The monkey from Raiders of the Lost Ark screeches to let the Germans and their Egyptian minions know that Marion is hiding in a basket)
    Bill: Ah, it's doing its Kelly Clarkson impression. Spot on, I'd say.
    (One of the Germans says something like "over there!" in German)
    Mike (in a German accent): Over there underneath pop star Kelly Clarkson!
  • "Aargh, a (something absurd yet hideous and scary)!" "Oh wait, it's just (less-than-attractive actor)."
    • "Augh, even worse!!"
  • References to terrible travel conditions that are still preferable to Northwest flights.
    • Northwest may be no more but the joke lives on through Delta.
  • Noting the similarity of film characters and situations to 'an average day at Comic Con.'
    Ron: "Third year he fought off about a hundred dementors at once."
    Bill: "Well, I've done that in the snack line at Comic Con."
  • Any scene featuring Darth Vader will inevitably be accompanied by a reference to his hatred of sand; e.g., in The Star Wars Holiday Special the brief scene with Darth Vader is accompanied by the riff, "I saw a grain of sand in my office. Eliminate it immediately."
    • From Return of the Jedi, "Security is tight after a terrorist tried to smuggle some sand on board. Turned out it was just a dude coming back from the beach." "And now he's dead." This also appears in non-Star Wars riffs, including Twilight and The Hunger Games.
  • If a character reacts with surprise to something off-screen, it's almost always "two dogs humping."
    • And/or the scene was guest directed by Steven Spielberg.
    • If the expressions on their faces are closer to a scowl, then they can't believe that an off-screen character is mooning them.
  • X, you magnificent bastard, I READ YOUR BOOK!
    • This is carried on from some of the earliest MST3K episodes, making it possibly the longest running gag they use.
  • Noting phrases, technology, tactics, etc. we will apparently still be using in the future.
  • Dramatic speeches delivered to an audience will often get a "You're not funny" possibly followed by something like "Bring on Gallagher!"
  • Any time a crowd begins shouting or chanting something the riffers will chime in "Attica! Attica!"
  • When characters are sitting around doing nothing, the riffers will try to inform the actors that the camera has been rolling for a while now.
  • Whenever someone dies by falling or being launched, the Riffers provide their dying message. Said message usually involves something the dying person regrets doing/not doing, or a request to tell someone/something that he loved them.
  • "Crebain from Dunland!", a reference to the giant black birds used as spies by Saruman whenever the sky is filled with flying things.
    • The Young America Films shorts have a black bird as their logo, so this gag can be expected.
  • In the riff of Return of the King, whenever Gollum refers to "The Precious," Kevin says it's "based on the novel Push, by Sapphire."
  • I'm Harpo, I'm Harpo, boo-hoo
  • In The Last Airbender, they keep making jokes about Aang being a Jawa. "Utinni!" And arguing whether it's pronounced A-vatar or Ah-vatar. Also whenever water or ocean is mentioned they wonder if it's connected to the water of the ocean.
  • Particularly in their Star Trek riffs, they miss no opportunity to use their excellent George Takei impression, the best instances being when they voiced Sulu's daughter as Takei and rejected John Cho as the new Hikaru Sulu.
    • On the topic of Star Trek: "Spoooooock..."
    • Also, Chekov as an all-purpose Chew Toy, verging on Butt-Monkey status, in both incarnations.
      Bill: Yakov Smirnoff's calling him from Balki's house, telling him to tone it down..."
    • Scotty's weight gets brought up quite a bit. Any joke about Scotty that doesn't involve food will have him drunk. This doesn't happen in the 2009 reboot, since Simon Pegg, like James Doohan during the original show, is thin.
  • The Kansas City Royals take a lot of abuse (especially before their win at the 2015 World Series). Also, they're a running gag.
    • They also make jabs at the Chicago Cubs as well, and the Green Bay Packers (or at least their fans). All part of their general mockery of the Midwest.
  • "Please, call me ___."
  • On the Inception RiffTrax, continuous Titanic (1997) jokes are made at Leonardo DiCaprio's expense.
  • Moreso than pretty much all the other running gags on this list, Monty Python quotes. They do it better than most geeks do.
  • On the Eragon RiffTrax, the plot and characters are repeatedly compared to Star Wars, The Lord of the Rings and The Matrix.
    "Kids are all the same. They beg and beg for a pet and then it gets old and they argue about who has to walk it. Then they end up banishing it to the furthest reaches of the Shire, urh, Tatooine, urh, wherever the hell we are."
    (When Eragon and Murtagh are swimming) "If they run into Jar Jar Binks, I'm gonna put my head through the wall."
    "Well, if Lucas was directing this guy would now say I've got a bad feeling about this, at which point, I'd put my head through the wall."
  • Mike mixing up the current movie with one they've done before, prompting the others to beg him to take a vacation.
  • Whenever a character in the movie says "What's happening?", Bill will break into the strains of the What's Happening!! theme song, on at least one occasion being soundly silenced by Kevin.
    • Culminating in a short called "What's Happening?", wherein Bill was allowed to indulge himself and spent the entire length of the short humming the theme song while Mike and Kevin completely ignored him.
  • Kevin provides a multitude of vehicle sound effects, to the others' annoyance.
  • A character in a hopelessly remote location encounters a (or several) Starbucks.
  • In earlier RiffTrax commentaries, any disturbing sexual content will be greeted by Disembaudio wandering in, reacting with complete and utter horror, and running away. Was a running gag within The Room (the 2009 riff, not the "Live" riff commentary).
    • And since then, they come with comments about Tommy Wiseau guest directing.
  • Kevin singing along to any notable background music, after which Mike and/or Bill threaten him with bodily harm. This is almost Once an Episode when it comes to the shorts.
  • Weirdly, many of the shorts cite anti-Semitic propaganda whenever someone starts reading something or learning something, although it's clear that they're just mocking it. (For instance, Willy going on about how the Jews and the Queen of England control the economy in "Paper And I".) Only in RiffTrax can The Protocols of the Elders of Zion be used as a Running Gag.
    • In Independence Day, they have Judd Hirsch mention Jews running the banking system when rattling off Conspiracy Theories. This is especially noteworthy because Hirsch plays a walking Jewish stereotype in the movie, making him come off as a Boomerang Bigot as well as a conspiracy nut.
  • (I dare you to) Diagram that sentence!
  • Giving ridiculously broad responses to vague statements. For instance, in "Down and Out", when the narrator starts talking about "stumbling over an object, large or small," Kevin gives the examples "Like a bobby pin, or an airplane hangar."
  • Whenever a movie is inconsistent about something's name (or the pronunciation of that name), Bill calls back to Over the Top by impersonating the villain of that film and screaming the hero's name, "Hawk! Or, Hawks!" Even though his name is clearly written on his goddamn truck ("Hawk Hauling"), Lincoln Hawk's name is both said and written elsewhere in the movie as "Hawks". This will also come up on the less frequent occasion wherein a semi truck is prominent in a scene (as in the opening to Fast and Furious), and sometimes when actual hawks are onscreen (as in Treasure of the Amazon).
    • What's especially weird about this Running Gag is that Bill always fields it, even though Mike did the RiffTrax for Over the Top by himself.
    • This also becomes a running gag within Psycho II, as it features Robert Loggia, who played the bad guy in Over the Top. Late in the movie, when a lot more time is spent on Loggia's character, Bill goes for broke by applying the joke to things that rhyme with the word "hawks."
    • Another aspect of that movie that is mentioned in other riffs now and then: the constant reiteration of the arm wrestling tournament being double-elimination (that is, you have to lose twice to be out of the competition). Whenever the rules of a game are being explained or something is being repeated incessantly, expect a reference to this.
  • During an unsafe situation, Mike intones "Shake hands with danger!" and Kevin sings the opening part of that short's theme.
  • Managing to shoehorn in singing Lady Gaga's "Poker Face"
    • It has since branched out to other pop songs, like having a crook in the 1930s Batman shorts singing Daft Punk's "Get Lucky" to himself. Or the club singer in Neutron the Atomic Superman singing Amy Winehouse's "Rehab." The general trend seems to be to include the songs in movies that came out decades before the song was written.
  • After one of the three makes a particularly groan-worthy riff, one of the other riffers will frequently come up with an inventive and unique way to tell him to "go straight to Hell."
    Bill: Kevin? Get on a plane and go straight to Hell.
    • Occasionally, it will be something about the movie or short they're watching that will be encouraged to go to Hell.
      • During the Riff of "Join Hands, Let Go!"
      Mike: (with revulsion, as a bottle spurts gobs of ketchup all over one of the actors) Eww! Go to Hell, short.
      • During the Riff of "Star Wars: Attack of the Clones"
      Mike: (when Jar Jar Binks appears and starts talking) Go to Hell, go straight to Hell!
      • During the end of "Star Wars (Episode VII): The Force Awakens", when Luke faces turns around and sees Rey...
      Kevin (imitating Jar-Jar): Meesa waited LINGY LONG TIME FOR YOUSA!!!
      Mike and Bill: OH NO! GO TO HELL!
  • In Birdemic whenever things get slow, one of them will just yell BIRDEMIC!
    • They've done this several times during slow sequences in movies with dramatic titles. It goes all the way back to MST3K's riff of Manos: The Hands of Fate.
    • Similarly, during the (many) slow scenes in that movie, they will shout "SHOCK! TERROR!" from the movie's subtitle (Birdemic: Shock and Terror).
    • This can also be substituted for Indiana Jones theme music during the last one, when nothing is happening.
  • In the older Rifftrax, usually near the end of a film, one of them will make a terrible pun, and the other two will slap him (complete with sound effects). Often, they comment on how well they synchronized their slaps.
  • Using the lyric "Turn around bright eyes" from "Total Eclipse of the Heart." This one reaches its zenith in Rise of the Planet of the Apes, which actually features a character named Bright Eyes.
  • In the second half of Breaking Dawn Part 1, whenever a character would greet Jacob for the first time, the riffers would go 'Sorry about Abduction.'
    • In Breaking Dawn Part 2, from the moment it's revealed that he imprinted on Renesmee, every single joke about Jacob references him being in love with a baby.
  • Nicolas Cage in The Wicker Man (2006) isn't wearing a suit, it's a sport coat and slacks! To be fair, Mike is correct.note 
  • "Sorry, Ft. Worth!"note 
  • They are merciless whenever a movie invokes Let Me Tell You a Story, only to fail to live up to the tightness of narrative that device implies.
    "And then, children, executive producer Armand Cerani hired Barry Mahon to direct. Isn't that wonderful?"
  • They will frequently state that a scene in a movie has more X than "X: The Movie," or some variation on that theme. For instance, during a chase scene in Eclipse, Kevin said "I once watched The Running Man while on my treadmill, and it still had less running than this!"
    • Subverted in Nightmare at Noon; Kevin, complaining about a long helicopter chase, does this joke in reference to the movie Chopper. This leads to a discussion about the fact that Chopper didn't feature any helicopters at all, which Kevin doesn't seem to understand.
  • Often, one of the riffers will say a line as though he's speaking for one of the characters on screen, and one of the riffers will respond as though he thought it was a serious statement by the first riffer.
    Mike: (as Leonidas in 300) So, as I was saying, how does my ass crack look from 50 feet away? Still a nightmare?
    Bill: Yes, Mike.
  • It's a rare RiffTrax that doesn't reference Phil Spector and his 2003 conviction of second-degree murder. It's tapered off since their earlier riffs, but it does still pop up now and again.
    • The riff for 300 is a subversion, though it doesn't seem that way at first since the joke still involves corpses. The guys refer to a huge pile of dead bodies as "Phil Spector's wall of men," which is a reference to the "wall of sound" technique he pioneered as a music producer.
  • Anyone posing in a way that looks like they could be cheering, and/or charging on screen, Bill will usually shout "Packers," referring to the Green Bay Packers American Football team. Especially if they look monstrous or savage in some way.
  • If any character has a mustache, it will instantly become their primary character trait, with jokes regarding the character's mustache every single time he is on screen. The biggest example would be Charlie, AKA Mustache Dad, from the Twilight films.
    • This is so ingrained in their very nature that when a clean-shaven Chuck Norris starred in the film Breaker Breaker, they made numerous jokes about how he did not have his mustache.
  • Actors whose accents don't match the one the character should have. Examples include Gerard Butler in 300, Alicia Silverstone in Batman & Robin, and Sam Worthington/Arnold Schwarzenegger in anything.
  • The riffers frequently confuse children or the like with Tom Cruise or Al Pacino. Or occasionally George Stephanopolous.
    • On the other end of the spectrum, large animals and similar will invariably be compared to heavyset actors, like John Goodman, Louie Anderson, or especially Horatio Sanz.
  • In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, characters respond to surprising or awkward situations by casting the Killing Curse.
  • When confronted with a Shocking Swerve, the usual response is "It's a Shyamalan twist!"
  • Occasionally, someone will mention how a character resembles another celebrity (occasionally of the opposite gender), usually "Just around the eyes".
    • More often they'll point out how a character in the movie looks like someone else, usually someone obscure, which they've been doing since their MST3K days.
  • Mr. Bungle, the hand-puppet who teaches kids how not to act in the lunchroom, becomes a veritable mascot for the shorts.
  • When a scene features a group of soldiers, they will speculate on whether or not there will be a shout of "Move, people! Go go go!" When or if there is, they will grade how well it was delivered.
    • Similarly, when a military or police commander approaches a group of subordinates, they will comment on how they hope to hear "Talk to me, people!"
    • Any scene involving computer hacking, lock picking, or safecracking will feature a joke about the line "We're/I'm in." Generally the joke takes the form of either mocking the script for including such a cliche, or incredulity at not using such a ubiquitous line.
  • Any shot of a lake, with fog-shrouded mountains in the distance, is invariably right next to Hogwarts.
  • They like to accuse people of doing "Kubrick eyes", even (especially) when that's clearly not the intention.
  • Bill's Hilariously Abusive Childhood, which usually involve Irish stereotypes. They tend to be framed as fond memories.
  • "Sure they argue a lot, but the sex is great!"
    • And almost as often subverted: "...but the sex is terrible, and that may be why they fight!"
  • Films taking place in New York tend to have jokes about their ban on trans fats. Particularly in the first Fantastic Four movie.
  • The guys like to make jokes about the McRib being back, or coming back soon, and treating it as Serious Business.
    Black Widow: Doctor, we're facing a possible potential global catastrophe.
    Mike: The McRib is being delayed.
  • Kevin spends the whole of The Sixth Sense under the impression that the Twist Ending is that Bruce Willis' character is a woman in drag.
  • Numerous jokes are made that Orlando Bloom is a woman during The Lord of the Rings films. This even carries over into other films, such as the short A Christmas Dream.
  • Lykke Li, generally "There's a possibility..."
  • If characters are standing at/near a cliff with a waterfall, expect one of the guys to bring up Sherlock Holmes fighting Moriarty, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and/or The Fugitive. Riffs done after the riff of New Moon will also mention werewolves jumping off said cliff.
  • While sitting through particularly torturous movies (such as Battlefield Earth or Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny), the riffers will start wondering if they died and went to Hell, and their eternal torment is to keep watching the film.
  • When a film has a slow Fade to Black, the riffers tend to assume the movie is over. This became a Running Gag within The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King as the film seemed to have 4 or 5 endings. Sometimes they'll think the movie has ended before the main title has even displayed, causing them to comment on how short the film was.
    • This tendency got Lampshaded in Eragon, with Kevin muttering "I never get that right."
  • Often, when a character is passed out drunk, looking like he might be passed out drunk, or is pouring a drink, one of the riffers will comment that it reminds them of one of the other riffers. "Look familiar, X?" is a common format, as is "How'd they get footage of you, X?" The person being accused of alcoholism will usually object, sometimes about a niggling point such as "I don't wear an eyepatch!" (from Frankenstein Island).
  • Obvious, flashy displays of knives will generally bring on Crocodile Dundee jokes/impersonations, usually centered on questioning whether that qualifies as a knife or not. In the short Don't Be a Bloody Idiot, they kept trying to cajole the Tasmanian host into showing them a knife. They were rather furious when the knife he finally does produce is a small Swiss Army Knife.
  • How many times has Mike or Daniel Day-Lewis abandoned his son now?
    Denethor: "ABANDON YOUR POSTS!!!"
    Mike (as Daniel Day-Lewis): "AND MY BOY, IF YOU HAVE TIME!"
  • Kevin saying "She can X my Y/I'd X her Y anytime" when an attractive female (not always human) makes the scene.
  • The Roomba is often treated as the pinnacle of human technology.
  • Perhaps the ultimate running gag, in reference to Mike Nelson's love of Road House, whenever you add an item to your checkout cart the additional purchases suggestions are labeled as "Pain will not hurt if you order these."
  • During quiet scenes, one of the riffers will mention how they once experienced something just like the scene they just watched (such as waking up with amnesia or getting stabbed with a sword). When pressed for details, it will usually turn out to actually have been something very mundane only vaguely related to his original claim (he fell asleep during a car ride and was disoriented upon awakening, he got poked with a sharp stick).
  • "If they start [doing something else from a previously riffed movie], I'm leaving."
  • Someone hovering over another person who has been mortally injured is always leaning on the person's wounds and/or vitals. This occurred most notably in The Matrix Revolutions, where they kept the joke going during Trinity's three-hour-long death sequence.
  • Clowns (and anything even slightly resembling clowns) are almost always reacted to with screams of terror and pondering what unspeakable crimes said clowns are guilty of. This is especially clear in the shorts where they tend to appear far, far too often for the riffers' comfort (e.g., Old "Pile of Torsos" Bobo from The Creeps Machine or the "Living Clown Erection" from the Story-Telling short.). Strangely, this did not apply to The Joker.
  • The guys will often reference a character's hatred of something by saying that the person has a bumper sticker of Calvin peeing on it.
  • Whenever the guys riff a franchise they seem to genuinely like (i.e., Lord of the Rings, Marvel Comics Movies, Harry Potter, and Star Wars) they will make a vast number of in-jokes and fairly obscure references to said franchise's universe/EU (e.g., referring to Cade Skywalker in Star Wars, Beedle the Bard in Harry Potter, obscure Thor storylines in Thor/The Avengers, and pretty much every other joke in their Lord of the Rings riffs).
  • When a sufficiently well-known and/or prolific actor is sitting in front of a computer screen and typing away, the guys will provide an Internal Monologue where the guy is writing about how underestimated his career has been. This has happened twice to Joe Pantoliano alone, in Daredevil and The Matrix
  • In film adaptations of books (especially Harry Potter), they have a tendency to point out Adaptation Induced Plot Holes.
    • In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, they comment on how weird it is that Harry and Arthur Weasley take a magic elevator disguised as a broken phone booth to get to the Ministry of Magic, even though people can be seen Apparating and using Floo Powder all over the entrance hall. They chalk it up to a need for more whimsy. In the book, it's explained that Arthur felt that since Harry was in trouble for underage magic in front of Muggles, it would make a good impression on the court if Harry arrived in as non-magical a fashion as possible.
    • In The Hunger Games, Rue and Katniss demonstrate how mockingjays are perfect mimics. The guys comment on how it's fortunate that the birds don't go and repeat Katniss and Rue's plans to their enemies. In the books, it's explained that mockingjays can only reproduce music, not speech.
  • Any time a character says "Have it your way," the guys will respond with "at Burger King!"
  • Continued references to the more notorious characters in the films they have riffed under increasingly (and occasionally ludicrously) thin pretenses.
    • Anakin Skywalker and his pathological hatred of sand tend to be referenced whenever they see sand or hear anything sounding like "Anakin" (anaphase, anacin, etc).
    • Bella and her inability to form a sentance are liable to be referenced whenever there is a long pause or an awkward romantic moment.
    • Should there be any mention of someone called Tommy (or Mark) or a shot of San Francisco, it will be almost certain that the riffers will chime in with "Oh HAI ''(insert whatever's in view here)''"
      • They even find ways to stick it in when neither the name Tommy nor San Francisco are brought up. One of the most inspired was probably "Oh HIGHLANDER!"
    • The Ice Cream bunny has become the benchmark of nightmarish creepiness cited whenever something especially unsettling happens, and the plot of the perverted old Mr. Digger and his forced marriage to Thumbelina sometimes gets a Shout-Out when they see someone or something digging around in the ground.
  • In almost every movie (or short) there will be repeated segues into the riffers taking a very Alternate Character Interpretation or Flanderization to the various heroes and villains, from Shelob being a saintly mother, cancer researcher, and humanitarian, to Ron Weasley being a pathetic, barely functioning degenerate, to Bella pretty much being the platonic ideal of mumbly, pause-filled idiocy, to the Ice Cream Bunny being depicted as a cackling and unspeakably evil Humanoid Abomination.
    • As a subset to this, they like saying that thuggish, stupid-looking Mooks are actually highly educated, employed in some humanitarian career, and/or runs their church's youth group. Examples include the moronic buffalo hunter in Buffalo Ridernote , the misshapen giant in 300note , all the arm wrestlers at the climax of Over the Topnote , and both the hairy viking in Jack the Giant Killer and the "batch handler" in This Is Hormelnote . Likewise, Bonesaw got his wrestling name because he's an orthopedic surgeon.
      • As a subset of that, they like to defy the uncultured hillbilly stereotype e.g., joking that the belligerent bully redneck in Mutant had a bad break at the pool table because he was "distracted pondering the excellence of Jean-Didier Wolfromm's prose!"
  • "THRILL as [character performs very mundane task]!"
    • Alternately, "(Three banal activities): this summer, one movie has it all!"
    • "Maybe we'll get lucky and he'll do his taxes in front of us."
  • They make damn sure to point out every single time the camera lingers on someone parking or pulling into traffic in Birdemic. And in true Rifftrax fashion, they now reference Birdemic every time they see a similar scene in any other movie.
  • They also make jokes referencing Seinfeld.
    Mike (as Odin): Of ELAINE BENES'S SPONGES!
  • During action movies, one of the guys will comment on how tense they are, can't wait to see what happens next, etc. It will then turn out they're not actually paying attention to the movie, and are commenting on whatever else it is they're focusing on (day trading, nursing an injured joint, etc).
  • Grim scenes have a tendency to be called the Werner Herzog version of some warm family film.
  • If an actor appears in a cheap animal/robot/etc. costume the riffers will comment that the person inside is Sir Laurence Olivier.
  • Mike mocking Kevin for being "ancient" (he's four years older than Bill and eight years older than Mike) because of obscure older riffs.
  • Norman Krasner, the hapless loser star of a series of bizarre "comedy" shorts. Two things about Norman get mentioned in other riffs: 1) The fact that no human or animal could ever like him, and 2) his catchphrase, a groan that very clearly communicates that he knows nothing but despair.
  • Since riffing Birdemic, the guys have made a habit of transposing the newscaster's line "...such as seals," into as many riffs as possible. Sometimes it will have something to do with what a character just said (like if they mentioned an animal or are giving an example of something) and sometimes it's just peppered on as flavoring to make a dull sentence funnier.
  • Henry Slinkman, the man who bought three pints of oysters on an impulse buying spree in the "Buying Food" short, gets mentioned in some subsequent food-related shorts.
  • Since the riff of Nightmare at Noon, which according to "Talkin' Rifftrax" advertised its helicopter stunts heavily and claimed to have blown those in Blue Thunder out of the water, any time a helicopter is shown Mike will praise [whichever movie they're watching]'s helicopter stunts and disparage Blue Thunder's. Or just disparage Blue Thunder in general. Also, they have a tendency to hum the theme to M*A*S*H when they see a helicopter.
    • In one Riff (Night of the Lepus), he admits that he's never actually seen Blue Thunder. Bill also brings up that the bit originates from Mutant with Wings Hauser, which Nightmare at Noon was pretty much a Spiritual Sequel to.
      • Speaking of Mutant, they like to call back to Wings's character calling out to his brother in a drawn out, throaty whisper. Miiiiiiiike...
    • Lampshaded during Kill and Kill Again, when a helicopter explodes:
    Bill: Nooo! It exploded before we could do our unpopular running gag where we disparage Blue Thunder for some reason!
    Kevin: Sorry Bill.
    Bill: Uh! The tragedy!
  • Having someone sound stupid(er) by saying "I LIKE TURTLES!"
  • Referring to "breeder hogs" when calling someone or something loud and/or disgusting. And in keeping with their Self-Deprecation tendencies, Kevin once joked that he snores like a breeder hog.
  • Mistaking an obvious Establishing Shot of a certain city for a different one
    (Shot of London) Ah, Seattle! Jewel of the Pacific Northwest!
    (Shot of the Eiffel Tower) So, not Shakopee, Minnesota, huh?
    • A variant appeared in Glitter, where Mary Jo cluelessly identified New York City by other cities' famous nicknames. The city of light, City by the bay
  • People running hysterically from danger or trauma tends to elicit a reference to either Grown Ups 2 or Nick Swardson.
    • Before that movie came out, it was generally Daddy Day Camp, or sometimes Norbit. Basically any comedy they thought sucked.
  • Dead people with their mouths agape will invariably be singing (usually Kevin sustaining a single note).
  • "X ain't gonna Y itself." Usually said while a character is turning to leave.
  • (Starting with Viva Knievel!) Going to Tijuana to see the zebra-painted donkey.
  • Pointing out drudgery of sitting through a Standard Establishing Spaceship Shot. Typical with one Riffer asking another how many times it took him to become bored with the imagery.
  • While watching Buffalo Rider, the narrator explains that buffalo tongues were a hot commodity in the Old West. For the rest of the movie's first act, the guys go out of their way to make jokes that somehow incorporate tongues.
  • "The X sketch, ladies and gentlemen." Used either just after a particularly bizarre scene (e.g. "The Watch Ownership Sketch" from Buffalo Rider), or after an especially complicated riff (e.g. "The Amway Bit" from Avatar, or "The Pirate's World Breakup Sketch" from Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny).
  • The first "At Your Fingertips" short asked the all-important question, "is corn grass?" (and never actually answered it).note  In the later shorts in the series, someone will inevitably ask, "Is x grass?"
  • Extreme closeups are generally met with shrieks of horror from the guys, often followed by them admonishing the movie to not do that. If the camera zooms tightly in on an actor, they wonder if the camera is going to go right up their nose/pores/other orifice.
  • During the title cards for the shorts, constant riffs regarding the relationships between the various film producers that made them. According to them, Coronet Films rules the shady shorts underworld due to sheer volume of films they've made, and all other producers owe Coronet money, are on the run from them, or in poor Sid Davis's case, his wife left him for Coronet.
  • Kevin being turned on by the evil female Terminator in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines. Mike becomes increasingly horrified as Kevin states that the murdering and shapeshifting gets him even hotter.
  • The Mook wearing the T-shirt advertising Asahi beer in Radical Jack. The guys make him sound completely obsessed with Asahi to the point that he talks about literally nothing else.
    • This gag carried into Icebreaker, where the same actor appears early in the film.
  • Flubbed lines tend to be followed with one of the riffers, pretending to be the actor, saying "Cut! I said <flubbed line here>." One of the other riffers, pretending to be the director, will say "Keep rolling!"
  • Anyone watching something dangerous happening without acting on it wants "to see where he's going with this."
  • Any time a thing was made with incompetence or breaks immediately: "I didn't know KIA made (X)!"
  • The Room has several running gags in it. Many involve side-plots that get brought up and dropped within the same scene, as well as Lisa's beauty not quite matching up to the film's hype. The many, many pointless Establishing Shots of San Francisco get called out pretty much every time one occurs. They also manage to at least double the amount of OH HAIs heard in the movie.
    Mike: Is there anyone he's not surprised to see!?
  • The short in the first live show led to a Take That! against Forth Worth, Texas, followed by a sheepish "Sorry, Forth Worth!" when they remembered people from Fort Worth were watching. Taking digs at Fort Worth has appeared in several live shows since.
  • They make a crack roughly every five minutes about how the Super Mario Bros. movie is an In Name Only adaptation. There is exactly one instance where they joke that the change is for the better (i.e. flamethrowers are a lot cooler than fire flowers).
  • They notice an odd trend in their 2017 VOD tracks where the movies they cover have a bear for some reason. Even instances where there are no bears - see Uninvited (1988) - they pretend that the monster in it kinda looks like a bear so it counts.
  • Comparing a lackluster fight scene (or a shot of a craggy desert) to Captain Kirk's iconic battle with the Gorn Captain in the episode "Arena."
  • Often when a boring, repetitive bit of soundtrack is playing, one of the riffers will start humming along with it until one of the others yells at him to stop.
  • Pointing out when one of the turkeys they're riffing has an acclaimed actor in it. A common format for the gag is "Academy Award winner X, ladies and gentlemen," usually while the actor is Chewing the Scenery or looking ridiculous.
  • Speaking of Chewing the Scenery, characters that are ranting and raving have a tendency to get compared to Al Pacino.
  • Old people on screen are pretty much guaranteed to elicit a joke about coffee coupons, and possibly a reference to driving through a farmer's market.
  • New Jersey is mentioned in quite a few Riffs, usually being used as a comparison to a bad place in the film. Example : in the Goblet of Fire after the sporting event is destroyed, the aftermath is compared to New Jersey.
    • Flint, Michigan gets a lot of heat too. And this was even before their problems with potable water.
  • Shots of comets, or even something burning as it enters the atmosphere, causes the riffers to mention the Heaven's Gate cult from the 90s.
  • Something insane, violent, or confrontational happening with or involving a couple? Mike will compare it to his own wedding.
    • He also likes to claim that any statement from one person regarding the eventual death/maiming of the person they're talking to was in his wife's wedding vows.
  • After the riff of The Dark Knight, they like to ponder if a character in a movie they're watching ever asks some variation of "Where are they!?" in a loud, gravelly voice.
  • In Alien, Kevin would notice some stuff similar to Mystery Science Theater 3000. And when he enthusiastically points them out to Bill, Bill always assumes Kevin's referencing something else.
  • A number of earlier titles involved jokes about female characters being transgender. Negative fan feedback and a later apology by Bill Corbett about a joke at the expense of trans people led to these jokes stopping.
  • Almost any time a motorcycle pops up, someone will mention Sturgis, South Dakota.
  • David Carradine just happens to be in many of the films selected by Rifftrax. As such, a common joke is joking about Carradine's death via autoerotic asphyxiation.
  • They love bringing up shows from ABC's TGIF programming block in the 90s. Especially Family Matters and Dinosaurs.
  • If an actor in a movie has a more (or equally) famous relative, comparisons will abound — usually unfavorable. Especially if it's a particularly low budget cheesefest, such as Joe Estevez (younger brother of Martin Sheen) in Rollergator. A twofer example occurs in Radical Jack, which stars Billy Ray Cyrus (father of Miley Cyrus) and Dedee Pfeiffer (younger sister of Michelle Pfeiffer).
  • Numerous in The Guy from Harlem:
    • Al Connors's love of New York strip steaks.
    • "You've got TWO questions!" and variants thereof.
    • Mocking the set design, or lack thereof.
    • Parodying the theme song.
    • A certain piece of recurring music sounds like it has late '70s video game sound effects in it, prompting the riffers to always think there's an arcade nearby.

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