All posts tagged MST3K

TummelVision 8: Bill Corbett on MST3K and bringing the audience along for the ride [explicit]


Episode Notes

Episode 8 Download the show

We had a great conversation with hilarious and poetic playwright and comic actor Bill Corbett (Rifftrax, Mystery Science Theatre 3000) about elements of improv, playwrighting and comedy that all relate to tummeling and succeeding in working in flow and creating social engagement.

The core elements of improv that seemed most important:
-yes, and (not denying the reality anyones presenting. This isn’t about dealing with trolls but meeting people generally where they are and adding something to it)
-being present

Deb related the element of surprise in the business world to 3Ms decision to capitalize on the accident or “failure” in the creation of Post-its. In tech, Kevin related it to people hacking on an existing product and the ability in the software world to change products quickly. In fear

We also had a pretty in-depth discussion of comedy, it’s evolution into snark, how it’s done on twitter and what Bill sees trending on twitter as a growing return to an approach to more direct humour.

Links from this week:
Attention has not been democratized (danah boyd)
Trust means being vulnerable to someone (Ben Laurie on Ed Felton)
Baratunde’s twitcom
Geek sincerity


80’s theme song: Hold on Loosely

Questions for tonight's guest? Mystery Science Theatre 300's Bill Corbett

Bill is a playwright and fantastic comic improviser I’m really excited to be able to talk with him about the experience of creating settings for social dynamics. MST3K really set off what is now our typical way of experiencing media: socially with commentary.

Do you have questions or ideas for tonight’s conversation? Games we can all play together? Put em in the comments.

Bill Corbett is a former writer for MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000 on the Sci-Fi Channel, and previously on Comedy Central. He was also a performer on the show, providing the voice of the robot Crow (version 2.0) and embarrassing himself by playing various other strange characters — including the all-powerful but clueless alien The Observer (a.k.a. “Brain Guy”).

Corbett is also a screenwriter and playwright. Corbett’s screenplay STARSHIP DAVE, co-written with Rob Greenberg, is currently in development with 20th Century Fox Studio.

His play THE BIG SLAM has been produced at numerous theaters across the U.S., including Woolly Mammoth in Washington, D.C.; ACT in Seattle; and actor Jeff Daniels’ Purple Rose Theater in Chelsea, Michigan.

He has been a contributing writer to National Public Radio’s PRAIRIE HOME COMPANION and ALL THINGS CONSIDERED, and is co-creator of the animated web series POKER NIGHT on

Corbett has also been an actor in the resident acting companies at the Guthrie Theater and the Berkshire Theater Festival, and has taught playwriting and screenwriting at Kenyon College in Ohio, the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, and many other universities and schools.

He’s a graduate of the Yale School of Drama, where he earned an MFA in playwriting and screenwriting. Before that, he received a BA from Yale College.

A native of Brooklyn, N.Y., Corbett currently spends a lot of time in Los Angeles, partying into the wee hours with stars like Skeet Ulrich, Tony Danza, and Harry Hamlin. But he actually lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota with his wife Virginia, their daughter Molly, and a small Jack Russell Terrier who really runs the house. He hopes someday to raise alpacas.

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