What better place to watch a movie than the Alamo Draft House and what better way to watch movies like Forest Gump, Titanic, Mad Max and Twilight than with comedic commentary through out the movie. Along the lines of the well known Mystery Science Theater 3000, Master Pancake Theater puts a new spin on the idea by performing live interpretations in front of a movie crowd along with drinking games and themed skits.
I had the chance to briefly sit down with the guys after the first run of their new Cage-A-Thon show which mocks Nicolas Cage movies at the Alamo Draft House. When we spoke they just got done making some adjustments before the 10PM show. Joe explained that like any comedy show you never know how the crowd will react to jokes that you rehearsed in your living room. They watch a movie around eight times while fine tuning their commentary before they bring it out in front of a crowd but it always evolves during the course of the show. On average about 85% of what you hear during the show was thought of in advance and the rest is made up on the spot.
Master Pancake Theater is not the original name of the show, it was “Mr. Sinus Theater 3000”. In 2004 the people from “Mystery Science Theater 3000” took exception to the name and filed a lawsuit after which the name was changed. So what’s the story behind the name? Well, nothing. John Erler said Master Pancake was on a long list of random name ideas they came up with and Master Pancake Theater just stuck.
The show always begins with the crew on stage, sometimes illuminated by a spotlight, performing some stand up about the movie. This is the beginning to an obvious theme of crowd participation which is a part of their show. Usually about 3/4 of the way in the show they “Stop the movie” and take the stage again to perform a themed improv which mocks scenes in the movie and often involves volunteers from the audience.
After just five minutes with these guys it was obvious that they are just plain funny. With very limited time to talk and take some pictures between their show we headed out in front of The Drafthouse for a quick group shot. As luck would have it I was having problems with my flash and someone started to hum the theme to Jeopardy while I figured it out. Then I snapped about five pictures and they were off to make another theater of people laugh.
(From their The Breakfast Club show)